Silver splitters on the increase says family lawyer

9th October 2013

Leading family law specialist, Kelly Perks, has urged older people considering divorce to get expert advice as new figures show a rise in the number of couples splitting up as they head towards retirement.

Kelly Perks, who works in the family department of Black Country law firm Higgs & Sons, said she had seen a marked rise in the number of divorce cases involving older clients.

"Nationally, the number of over-60s divorcing has increased by over a third in 10 years, creating issues about loneliness, care and financial security," said Kelly.

"Latest figures show there were a record 15,275 divorces among the over-60s in 2011 compared with 13,554 the year before and 10,273 in 2000.

Divorcing elderly couples have been dubbed Silver Splitters following a series of high-profile cases in recent years.

Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood split from his wife of 23 years, Jo, after falling for a teenager, while actor Bill Nighy saw his marriage to actress Diana Quick fail after 27 years. Meanwhile Fawlty Towers star John Cleese was 68 when he divorced his third wife Faye Eichelberger, 64, after 16 years.

The news of an increase in divorces among older people, comes as research from Phoenix Group says that the vast majority of divorcees are burying their heads in the sand when it comes to planning for their retirements.

Two in five (38%) of those surveyed did not know what happened to their pension pot when they got divorced and a higher number (42%) will be worse off financially after their divorce. Further findings were that 66% of women rely on state pension on retirement with one in five women (19%) stopping paying into a pension altogether after divorce.

The research also found that a quarter of couples (26%) opt for a DIY divorce and therefore potentially lose out on ensuring that they are receiving their full financial entitlement.

Kelly said: "If you're divorcing in later life, one of the most important financial implications will be your pension. I would urge anyone in this situation to put their minds at rest by calling in specialist legal advice from the outset. That way they can be certain that the financial and legal implications of the divorce are all dealt with properly."

Higgs & Sons work from two offices in the Black Country - Waterfront Business Park in Brierley Hill and Kingswinford. The firm employs over 200 people, which includes 100 specialist lawyers. 

To find out how Kelly and the family team can support your business call 0845 111 5050 or email


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