It is common for two people to stay in an unhappy relationship for the sake of children and because they can’t afford to split their assets and income in half. But is seems that now, the number of people who divorce later in life is on the increase. Known as silver splitters, they are over 50, the kids are off their hands, they have a home with little or no debt and they are looking for freedom and independence. There comes a point when two people may suddenly realise they have nothing in common any more if they have not invested in their relationship. While a silver split can be mutual, more often it is triggered by one partner, leaving the other devastated both emotionally and financially. Women can be particularly vulnerable because of their lower future earning potential and higher life expectancy. Perhaps they have taken breaks in their careers to bring up children, or chosen a career path with pay inequity or low remuneration. A property division should take these factors into account but it doesn’t always.
Splitting late in life can be complicated because very often there are significant assets involved, as well as a variety of legal structures such as family trusts, companies and partnerships. Superannuation schemes and pensions also need to be taken into account. Sometimes one partner will attempt to hide assets or income. Dealing with this level of complication at a time when emotions are running high is not easy.
There is little time to recover from a late split before retirement and silver splitters should ensure they get their full entitlement under the Property Relationships Act, taking into account future earning potential. This is no time to allow guilt or a desire to avoid confrontation to take precedence over your financial future.