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Family home sold in 28% of divorces by over-50s, research reveals

Published 16/05/2016

With many over-50s having children who have already flown the nest, more than a quarter of those who have been through a divorce said they had ended up selling up
With many over-50s having children who have already flown the nest, more than a quarter of those who have been through a divorce said they had ended up selling up

More than one in four people going through a divorce after the age of 50 have ended up selling the family home, a survey has found.

With many over-50s having children who have already flown the nest, 28% of those who have been through a divorce said they had ended up selling up, according to research from Nationwide Mortgages.

About 13% of divorced over-50s ended up downsizing and 8% moved into rented accommodation, according to the survey.

With many people having accumulated assets over decades of marriage, the survey found many belongings - even pets - were shared out after a divorce.

More than one in five (21%) said they had split furniture with their former partner, nearly a quarter (24%) had shared savings, one in 10 split money from the sale of a car, 6% had divided up family heirlooms, and 3% had shared ownership of pets.

Just over half (52%) of those who took part in the research had been married for 20 years or more. Over a third (34%) said a new love interest had been behind the split, while 22% felt they had grown apart and 15% said the split was their partner's decision.

More than half (58%) of people said their break-up had left them worse off. Nearly one in three (31%) women said their divorce had left them struggling financially, compared with less than a quarter (23%) of men.

Meanwhile, 18% of men said they were financially better off, compared with 13% of women.

More than half (55%) reported being happier as a result of their divorce, with many going on to find new interests and hobbies.

The research suggested men were more likely to meet a new partner after a divorce than women, while women were more likely to travel, get a job or enrol on a course.

More than one in four (26%) divorcees had redecorated their house after the break-up, while a similar proportion (25%) had rekindled old friendships or family relationships.

About 15% had signed up to a dating agency, with 18% of men saying they had done this compared with 13% of women.

Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, Nationwide Building Society's head of savings for mortgages and savings, said: "Keeping on top of finances and seeking appropriate advice before, during and after divorce can help to minimise some of the stress of the process.

"However, for some, there may yet be a silver lining, as our research suggests that parting in later life can bring increased happiness, new interests and maybe even another chance at love."

The research was carried out among more than 230 people across the UK who have got divorced or are going through a divorce at the age of 50-plus.

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