Whilst it has long been known that much of the stigma attached to divorce has disappeared, the rise in divorces amongst the older generation, or “silver splitters” as they are sometimes referred to, has taken many by surprise and made it more difficult for divorce lawyers to take the sting out of acrimonious divorce cases.
However, the difficulties of handling such divorce cases are not due to the divorcees themselves say divorce lawyers but rather due to the interference of grown up offspring who are concerned that getting divorced could have an adverse effect on their share of inheritance.
It is highly likely that those who are divorcing late in life will have children over the age of 18 who are more likely to attempt to influence divorce proceedings according to lawyers. This can only serve to drag out the process and make it more acrimonious.
Numbers released by the Office of National Statistics showed that nearly twice as many people over the age of 65 got divorced in 2012 as did 10 years ago in England and Wales. Given that nearly 17% of Brits are now aged over 65, this trend should perhaps be expected and indeed this age group is now growing twice as quickly as other age groups.
This has complicated the legal process and made divorce lawyers’ jobs more difficult with adult sons and daughters forcing certain parties to the divorce to up their demands and be less agreeable, thus causing greater delays.
Parents are often encouraged by children to alter their wills in order to prevent their potential share of any family inheritance being reallocated to future step sisters and step brothers. Alternatively, children refuse to accept the fact that their parents’ marriage has broken down beyond repair and continually try to prevent the divorce taking place, leading to a huge slowdown in the process and a far greater legal bill when it is eventually finalised.
There have even been instances of offspring attempting to undercut the divorce process by finding their father or mother’s new partner on social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook and sending them a barrage of threatening messages.
Under the law, grown up offspring have no grounds to influence the divorce proceedings of their parents, however many seem completely oblivious to this, or simply do not care. All this serves to do is delay the inevitable and cause greater distress and expense to their parents in doing so. Much of the concern amongst such offspring appears to relate to the disappearance of their inheritance, which perhaps becomes more of a concern during times of economic hardship.
With baby boomers aging, there are now well over a million more pensioners living in the UK than did so in 2003. This fact combined with improved life expectancy and the diminishing stigma attached to untying the knot, means that the number of silver splitter divorces has risen and in all likelihood will keep on rising.
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