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May

Grey divorce is on the rise

by Money101 // in news

Almost a third of older Australians have considered a “grey divorce” *, with more couples over the age of 50 splitting up than ever before.

According to data from the Australian Institute of Family Studies, couples who have been married for 20 years or more accounted for nearly 13% of divorces in the 1980s. In 2020 they account for over a quarter of all divorces.**

Why are older couples splitting up?

There are a lot of different reasons why couples split up, and for older couples that may be no different. However, one of the main reasons could be due to something called empty nest syndrome. This refers to the grief that parents can feel when their children move out of home.

Other factors that can lead to separations in older couples are financial pressures, adjusting to retirement, changing needs around intimacy and physical health concerns.

What are the implications?

The rising divorce rate amongst older Australians could have implications across our society, such as financial stress and poor health. There could be increased pressures on children or the government to provide support. There could be an increase in older renters, placing pressure on an already pressured housing market.

Another element of concern is that couples who split may struggle financially as a single person, for women this is particularly important. Superannuation may not have been present for the entirety of their working lives and so aren’t at the levels to fund a moderate or comfortable retirement. Those who take time from the workforce to raise children or who take-on part-time work to balance family life can typically have much lower balances than their spouses. And, depending on the amicability of the split, some can choose to settle for much less when it comes to the division of assets just to get the process over and done with.

Whether you’re an older couple considering separating, or a younger couple just starting out, it’s important to consider what you would do financially if you did separate. There are a lot of things to consider beyond how you might divide any joint assets, such as wills living arrangements for any dependants. Having pre-nuptial agreements in place could help alleviate some of this stress. Consider seeking professional advice if you're contemplating this.

* https://www.thesenior.com.au/story/8461242/grey-divorce-rising-in-australia-australian-seniors-survey/

**https://aifs.gov.au/research/facts-and-figures/divorces-australia

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General non-advice disclaimer

The information contained in this article is of a general nature, is provided for education purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. It has been prepared without taking into account your particular financial circumstances or objectives. You should consider the appropriateness of the information as it relates to you. You may wish to consult an adviser before you make any decisions relating to your financial affairs.

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