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Mortgages after divorce – the latest figures

Written by Ipswich Building Society

25 Jun 2017



3 min read

The Office for National Statistics has just released the latest figures about divorce rates in the UK. Overall, divorce rates appear to be dropping: in 2015, there were 101,055 divorces (opposite sex couples), which is a decrease of 9.1% compared to 2014.

However, The International Longevity Centre released research showing that despite the overall divorce rates declining, there has been an upward trend in the number of men and women experiencing divorce aged 60 or above, termed ‘silver separators’. They predict that by 2037, nearly 1 in every 10 people going through a divorce will be in this age bracket.

The Office of National Statistics(ONS) stats released this week (21 June 2017) also show that the numbers of men aged 55 and above who are getting divorced is far higher than the women in this category.

Men aged 55 and above getting divorced – 17,215

Women aged 55 and above getting divorced – 11,813

This trend plays out in all age groups from 45-49 and above. The reverse is true in the younger age brackets, where the numbers of women becoming divorced is higher.

It is a concern that this disparity may cause an increase in the number of women in the 55 and above age bracket who will face financial difficulty in the event of a divorce. The possible reasons for this are due to men at this age reaching their peak earnings, making them more financially secure with bigger pensions. As well as this women are more likely to have taken career breaks for children, therefore are less likely to earn as much.

Whilst the topic of divorce is not a happy one, it is important to recognise the practical issues faced by those going through a divorce, in particular when children are involved and housing decisions need to be made.

Child maintenance payments often account for a significant proportion of income for a lone parent which can be limiting when applying for a home loan. Additionally, those experiencing divorce at a later life stage may not find it easy to access the full spectrum of mortgage products on the market, due to their age not being in line with mortgage providers’ lending criteria.

What you can do

  • Speak to a mortgage lender who is experienced in dealing with mortgages for divorcees and lone parents, they will be able to best advise you of your options.
  • Apply for your mortgage through a mortgage lender who uses manual underwriting to assess your affordability criteria, rather than a ‘computer says no’ approach.
  • We believe it is important not to penalise those who do not fit the ‘standard’ mortgage affordability criteria. We understand that many people in this situation will be in a position to keep up with their repayments but they simply need a lender to understand their individual circumstances and offer a bit of support during a difficult time.

This article was published under our previous name of Ipswich Building Society. We changed our name in 2021 – find out more.

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