How can I divorce with dignity late in life?

posted 26 Jan 2011, 07:15 by Miles Hendy   [ updated 26 Jan 2011, 07:20 ]
Walt Disney’s nephew, Roy and Patricia, his wife of 52 years, divorced at the age of 77 and 72 respectfully. A Spokesperson for the couple said that “This has been in the works for a long time. They’ve just decided to move forward with their lives”.

30 years ago such a thing would have been unheard of; even 10 years ago it was rare in the UK divorce courts. But now late-life divorces are no longer so uncommon.

Whilst the current rate of divorce in England & Wales is at its lowest since 1981, the Office for National Statistics show that the proportion of divorces amongst the over 60s has increased.

Whether that’s because a divorce has been “in the works for a long time” or some other reason, the issues for couples who divorce late in life are far ranging.

What issues arise for the couple who untie an old knot?

Helping a couple late in life, separate or divorce can be more complex than for the younger couple who have invested less in their relationship. How to secure the best and/or protect a pension provision built up over a long marriage may not be straight forward.

The family home may by now be mortgage free, but its sale might not realise sufficient to re-house both. Financial independence may be a reality but the costs of living remain a mystery to the one who has never before had to manage a household budget.

“We were married for 47 years, and our goal was to end our marriage not destroy our family”

In addition to worries about financial security and management, the break up can bring on physical isolation for one or both parties as family and friends take sides and contact with children and grandchildren is adversely affected and even lost. Previous inheritance tax planning can be undermined by a divorce. Who will inherit in the absence of a spouse, and how might potential post death claims be avoided, are questions along with many others that have not previously been considered.

How might some of these issues be resolved with dignity?

Roy and Patricia Disney, choose the Collaborative Family Practice method to end their long marriage. By doing so they ensured that no attendance at Court was needed, all decisions were kept in their hands and their Collaborative Divorce remained confidential.

Most senior clients that I work with want to get through their divorce with their dignity intact, do what is best for their children and grandchildren, come up with a fair financial settlement with their spouse of many years, be able to attend family christenings, weddings and funerals and move on with the remainder of their lives.

The experience of a recently retired person was that “….Collaborative Law helped my wife and I to work together in difficult circumstances to resolve our differences respectfully, in private and without the threat court action. We were married for 47 years, and our goal was to end our marriage not destroy our family.”

Collaborative lawyers work with Family Consultants, Counsellors & Psychotherapists, who help clients manage the emotions of divorce, and Financial Planners who are recognised as specialists in handling the complex financial issues that face divorcing couples. By working together the Collaborative “team” of professionals can help separating and divorcing couples of all ages find creative solutions to their issues at an affordable cost. Those solutions are crafted by the couple themselves with help and guidance, rather than dictated by a “one size fits all” solution from a divorce court. Which would you choose?

To find out more about Collaborative Family Practice please contact one of the specially trained collaborative lawyers in your area who will be able to assist you.