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