It might not be a topic many of us think about, but does there come a point in life when divorce is no longer considered an option simply because of our age?

For instance, if a couple had been married for fifty years and they were now in their seventies, would they simply prefer to stay together rather than get divorced, irrespective of the state of their relationship?

As we are all living longer these days, deciding not to divorce at the age of 70 could well mean another twenty or more years of marriage.  That’s a long time if the relationship has broken down beyond repair.

In 2008, a couple living in Cornwall became the oldest English divorcees, both aged 98.  More recently, in Italy, a 99 year old man divorced his wife after finding hidden love letters written by his wife in the 1940s.  The wife confessed to having an affair, but it clearly made no difference to the husband who still divorced his wife even though the affair took place seventy years ago.  For some at least, age is not a barrier to divorce.

Looking to the future, could this be the beginning of a growing trend in older divorcees?  For previous generations, an elderly married couple would have invested several decades into their marriage, making divorce an unlikely consideration even if the relationship had broken down. But as a previous Brookman blog post discussed, people are now getting married later in life. Only recently, Britain yet again saw the ‘oldest newlyweds’ record broken by a couple with a combined age of 181.  These older newlyweds who are more likely to be independent and self sufficient could be less daunted by breaking away from an unhappy marriage – even in their latter years.

Time will tell, but the combination of extended life expectancies, older newlyweds and a modern culture could see more elderly people considering divorce.

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