When couples split in later life – How solicitors in Ipswich can help
There is an increasing trend for couples to split up in their 50s or 60s or even later in life, meaning they need to call on solicitors in Ipswich to help reach a settlement. The Office for National Statistics recently revealed that the number of people separating over the age of 60 has nearly doubled in the space of just 20 years and the rate of divorce was 2.5 times higher for those in remarriages compared to those in their first marriage.
It is likely that couples of this age will have shared assets, and there is also the difficult task of finding a fair settlement over pension rights, so a break-up is unlikely to be straight forward. This means it is important to find expert family solicitors in East Anglia who will be able to help during the process of divorce and ensure it goes smoothly.
As solicitors based in Ipswich with 25 years of experience, we at Barker Gotelee have the knowledge and expertise to help older couples who are undergoing a divorce. We have a specialist family law department as well as other sections dealing with issues such as property, wills and trusts. This means that, if you are splitting up with your partner of many years, we are fully equipped to answer all your questions and give you advice during this difficult time.
Reaching a fair settlement
Whatever the age of a couple when they split up, the best way forward is to try to keep things as amicable as possible. When it comes to reaching a legal settlement, the aim must be to avoid blame and try to reach a fair solution for both parties. It is no help to anybody to start going back over arguments and misunderstandings which may reach back many years and have little bearing on the current situation.
It is important to get expert advice from solicitors based locally in Ipswich as early as possible in the separation process, but it is also helpful if you are able to communicate with your ex-partner directly, as reaching agreement over some of the basic issues can save on legal time and costs. If you find it hard to talk to one another, or to reach agreement, there are a number of dispute resolution schemes available to use.
Waiting until the children have grown up
One reason why couples sometimes wait until later in life before ending their marriage is that children are likely to be older, so there is no need for complicated agreements involving child maintenance and contact. However, if, for instance, your older children are away at university, or still living at home while working, there could still be difficult issues to solve. It is inevitable that the break-up will cause upset to the whole family even if the children are grown up – and there is also the whole question of continuing to see the grandchildren.
Also, some family solicitors in Suffolk and elsewhere in the UK are finding that complications are caused by adult children, who may be angry with one parent’s new partner. There is a risk that their involvement may inflame the tension all round. Some adult children want to safeguard their own inheritances, and in some cases solicitors are even having to hold meetings with them to try to defuse the situation. Barker Gotelee has a department of Private Client solicitors, so we have all the expertise to help deal with disputes over inheritance and estate planning.
Pensions are an especially important issue for older couples who are splitting, and obtaining a report from a Pension Actuary is likely to be necessary to work out exactly what these assets are worth. As well as the cash value of pension pots, there is also the need to work out projected incomes for both you and your ex-partner, bearing in mind your different ages and what your life expectancy is likely to be.
A fair and workable solution over all assets, including pension pots, must be reached in order to avoid any problem arising with the divorce settlement later on. For many couples, their pension funds are their main asset, and there has been a growth in the number of pension-sharing orders issued by courts in England and Wales in the last few years.
Property and assets
While pensions are a particularly vital consideration for ‘silver splitters’, there are also other assets which need to be considered in a settlement, including savings and any property which the couple own either together or separately. Our solicitors in the property department can offer expert advice on questions ranging from the future of the family home to second homes and holiday homes abroad, and also look at the tax implications in the sale of any property. Our team of business solicitors is also on hand if there are any questions about your business assets.
About Barker Gotelee
Barker Gotelee is a firm of solicitors based in Ipswich, with expertise in family law, divorce law and many other legal areas. We serve many clients in Woodbridge, Aldeburgh and Martlesham, and also across Suffolk and East Anglia.