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Wednesday 4th January 2017

Breaking up is hard to do.

It’s not the greatest way to begin 2017 but many couples have already faced up to the fact that their “happily ever after” days are definitely over.

Every January, solicitors brace themselves for the seasonal onslaught of unhappy people on their doorsteps, for whom the Christmas and New Year festivities proved to be the final straw. And Rundlewalker Solicitors, based on Exeter Quay, are no exception in seeing this annual trend.

Latest available figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal there are more than 110,000 divorces every year in England and Wales.

‘Sadly the festive season is the catalyst, with families holed up together for days on end in expectation of having a great time,’ says Nick Dudman, Head of Rundlewalker’s Family Team, ‘Fall out from a divorce can be far reaching in terms of children, property and divided families.’

It used to be that younger couples made up the biggest group of divorcees, often bailing out at the first sign of trouble. But the biggest age group seeking a divorce now are the over forties, typically men aged 45 to 49 and women aged from 40 to 44. These are often couples whose children are leaving home and the empty nest just becomes too empty.

‘Another age group where divorce has increased are the so-called ‘silver splitters’, those over 60,’ continued Nick. ‘The scenario is invariably that the children have long left home, working life is ending and the thought of spending precious retirement years with the wrong person is too much to bear.’

Nick says that social attitudes towards divorce have also changed along with the prospect of a much longer retirement as increasingly people are living much longer than their parents. Pension reforms have added impetus to this process, particularly for those women who stayed at home to raise the children. They can claim a share of their husband’s pension pot to put towards another property.

Divorce is an incredibly difficult process for any couple, no matter their age or circumstances. The law on divorce, essentially unchanged since 1969, states quite simply that it must be proved the marriage has irretrievably broken down: either on the grounds of adultery, unreasonable behaviour, or if you have been apart for two years and both partners agree to a divorce. After five years apart, even if one partner objects, the other can usually obtain a divorce.

Seeking expert advice is essential in this complicated process, especially where children are involved. Decisions made in haste can have extremely long term implications.

‘What we provide at Rundlewalker is a sympathetic ear, realistic advice and sensitive handling of the case,’ says Nick. ‘We ensure our clients realise the enormity of what they are doing and remind them that divorce should always be regarded as the last resort.

‘It won’t be the best time in your life but we can help you to make the best of it and then hopefully move on to happier times.’

For a confidential, no-obligation conversation, please call Nick Dudman or Sue Jury on 01392 209209.

Susan Jury, Solicitor: 01392 209212. Email

Nick Dudman, Director: 01392 209210. Email

FREE Initial 30 Minute Appointment - Call 01392 209209.
We can help you. Get in touch to arrange to meet for 30 minutes’ free advice. Call us on 01392 209209 if you want to discuss any family legal matter, whether it is a divorce, child issues, matters including property, finance or other disputes. If you prefer, you can contact us by email here.

For advice regarding Wills, Probate or LPAs, please contact Sam Reid, Solicitor: 01392 209205.