We’ve seen a surge in people seeking divorce later in life. The so-called grey divorce is on the rise, with a 5.8% in 2016 among opposite-sex couples compared to 2015.
The over 50s are particularly vulnerable after divorce. Your children may have left the nest and have their own lives and you may be at the peak of your career. Either way, you have a routine, and that is about to be shattered. Retirement isn’t on your mind just yet, but divorce could derail your plans if you aren’t careful.
In this guide, we will look at some of the unique challenges facing the over 50s after a divorce. Beyond looking at how to survive a divorce in your 50s, we’ll share some tips to help you thrive following your divorce. Get your life back on track and start living the life you’ve always wanted.
1. Adjust your expectations
The person you married is not the same person you are divorcing. So while they may have spent many years taking care of you and putting your needs first, those days are long gone. Heading into a divorce and expecting preferential treatment will leave you sorely disappointed. In an ideal world you would get fair treatment, but don’t be surprised if your ex-partner resorts to underhand tactics to avoid giving you what you are entitled to.
2. Prioritise your long-term financial wellbeing
When finalising your divorce, prioritise your long-term financial stability over any immediate windfall. Now is a good time to think about your pension and get clued up on what the divorce will mean for your long-term finances. Speaking to a financial advisor will help you to detangle your situation and boost your financial literacy.
3. Thank carefully about remarriage
Getting remarried may impact your spousal maintenance or will arrangements. Before legally tying the knot, get advice from a financial planner or solicitor to find out what impact this will have on your long and short term finances. A specialist divorce solicitor (www.brookman.co.uk) will be able to help you understand these next steps.
4. Don’t hang on to property out of sentimentality
It can be difficult to let go of a beloved family home, but it could cost you if you let sentimentality get in the way. Any shared property will need to be divided up in the divorce, so if you choose to hang on to the family home you may have to sacrifice something else. Living along in a large house could drastically increase your living costs. And selling the home further down the line might not yield the results you had hoped for. Instead, think about downsizing and starting fresh in a home you can call your own. Living alone can be very expensive, so it’s worth exploring your options.
5. Take some time for yourself
The process of separation and divorce is taxing on your mental health. Once the divorce is finalised, time some time to think about what you want the rest of your life to look like. Whether you were a stay at home parent or you continued your career, your divorce may make you question some of the decisions you have made in your life.
Give yourself a break from work or take yourself on a solo holiday to get to the heart of what you want to do in your life. A little bit of soul searching during this turbulent time might help to unearth some hidden ambition or dreams that you have ignored for too long. It’s never too late to start thinking about a career change, taking up a new hobby, or even going back to studying.
6. Keep discovering new experiences
If you were married for a long time, you may find yourself rediscovering yourself for the first time. It can be helpful to put yourself out there and experience new things. Trying things that you never would have done as a couple is a great way to define your life as a newly single person. It can also help you to meet new people and forge new friendships.
A common problem that people face after a divorce is that they have focussed on cultivating friendships with other couples. After the divorce, it can be difficult to continue seeing the same people, particularly if they are maintaining a friendship with your ex-partner.
7. Talk to someone
Speaking to a therapist or counsellor can help you to work through any lingering issues of resentment or anger, particularly if the divorce wasn’t your idea. As you move on to this next stage in your life, make sure you prioritise your mental health and take steps to safeguard it. Even if you’ve never considered therapy before, you will be surprised at how good it feels to have someone to talk to that isn’t one of your friends or family members.