Separating after fifty

A frequent scenario that we see as family solicitors are people in their fifties or older, who have been in a long marriage and found that they no longer have much in common with their partner and want advice about separation and divorce. 

They are often successful people whose lives have been busy and they have focused on work and the children.  At the end of a demanding day there was not enough time or mental energy left to spend on their partner, and they often realise that they do not want to spend the rest of their lives and retirement with that person.

Lives changing, including children flying the nest, wanting to wind down at work, or having to care for elderly parents can bring stresses upon people and therefore on relationships.  Sometimes couples find they have challenges with their own health or mismatched levels of energy that cause difficulties.

If you find yourself in that situation, the first thing to do is to consider carefully whether the issue is to do with your partner or whether these external factors are causing the relationship to break down.  It is really worth exploring options as to whether fixing specific stresses could help your relationship and it can be worthwhile speaking to a GP if there are health or mental health issues at play.

If you are unsure whether the relationship remains salvageable then it is worth attending counselling together as a couple to explore whether any issues are as a result of the relationship or from external factors that could be addressed.  We can recommend some excellent couples counsellors.

If after considering all of the above you still feel that a separation or divorce would be best then speak to a family solicitor.  Often where couples have drifted apart, there is little hostility and so arrangements for a financial settlement need to be made sensibly and amicably together.   At other times, while one partner wishes to end the relationship, the other can feel that their happy and stable later years are being taken away, and again it is important to address that sensitively and perhaps at a slower pace.  Either way, it is important to have support from family, friends and a good family solicitor so that the outcome can be positive.

To discuss this, or any other family related matter with Ellie directly, please call us, email or start a live chat today.

*This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.


Ellie Newbery

Consultant, Family Law

Ellie’s strength lies in her clear, sensible and collaborative approach to gain the best outcomes for her clients and their families. Ellie advises clients on...

Ellie Newbery- Family Law

Consultant, Family Law

Ellie Newbery

Ellie’s strength lies in her clear, sensible and collaborative approach to gain the best outcomes for her clients and their families.

Ellie advises clients on the best route to reach agreement on the decisions that need to be made on divorce, matrimonial finance and children. Her main focus area lies in divorce and complex financial remedy cases, for high-net-worth and middle-income clients. She has previously been accredited Resolution Accredited Specialist in this area, as well as in Private Law Children work achieving an award for highest marks in the country in her core paper.

Ellie acts for parents in private law applications and negotiations across issues including child arrangements, change of school, removal from the jurisdiction and parental responsibility. She assists clients in resolving disputes about where the children will live and who they will spend time with. Ellie also assists unmarried separating couples.

Ellie qualified as a family solicitor in 2008 after reading history at Durham University and worked in Kent, Surrey and London before joining Hart Brown in 2021. Ellie has been a member of the Surrey Resolution Committee since 2015 and is a Resolution Trainer.