Silver Separations – Over-50s Turn to Equity Release in Divorce Settlements

According to a study by Legal & General Home Finance, a significant trend among divorcing couples over the age of 50 has come to light. It appears that a portion of these couples, approximately one in thirteen, are choosing to use equity release as a means to settle their financial matters during divorce proceedings. This decision underscores the critical role property and, more specifically, home equity plays in the financial negotiations of those parting ways in later life.

The Role of Property in Divorce Settlements

For couples over 50, the family home isn’t just a place of memories; it’s often their most significant shared asset. The research highlights that when these couples decide to separate, 58% prioritise discussions about the value of their joint home. This statistic not only showcases the emotional weight the family home holds but also its financial importance in the division of assets.

Navigating Financial Settlements

The findings reveal varied approaches to settling finances among divorcing couples:

  • Savings: 18% of individuals surveyed indicated they would use their savings to buy out their partner’s share of the property.
  • Equity Release: 8% of respondents are turning to equity release, particularly lifetime mortgages, as a viable solution. This method enables one party to remain in the home by accessing the property’s equity, without the immediate need to sell.
  • Seeking Financial Advice: Only a small fraction, 12%, of couples currently seek financial advice during their divorce. However, there’s a silver lining, as 32% expressed a likelihood to consult financial advisors in the future post-divorce.

Expert Insights

Craig Brown, CEO of Legal & General Home Finance, stresses the importance of the family home in these discussions, “Most couples aged over 50 will view their property as their most valuable joint asset so when they begin the process of separating their finances, at the point of divorce, it is naturally at the top of the agenda. Using a lifetime mortgage to access the equity that has built up in a property can provide a solution that works for everyone involved.”

Lesley Mackintosh, a partner at Mazars, adds another dimension to the conversation by pointing out the increasing role of mediation in the divorce process. As couples move away from traditional legal proceedings, the need for financial advice remains paramount. Mackintosh emphasises that despite these changes, the value of professional financial guidance should not be underestimated.


Divorce is undoubtedly a challenging and emotional journey, especially for those over 50 who must deal with the division of significant assets like the family home. As the landscape of divorce evolves, with mediation becoming more prominent, the need for financial advice cannot be overstated. Whether through savings, equity release, or other means, ensuring a fair and equitable settlement requires careful consideration and, often, the input of financial experts. This study not only sheds light on the financial strategies of divorcing couples but also underscores the importance of seeking professional advice to handle the complexities of separation in later life.