Divorce among over-60s doubled in 10 years
The proportion of so-called "silver splitters" - people over 60 separating from their husband or wife - has almost doubled in a decade, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Divorce lawyers suggested that increasing life expectancy and a greater "lust for life" among those in their 60s than in previous generations meant that for many people retirement has become a time to reassess their life, the Telegraph reported.
Others said that so-called "empty nest syndrome" when children grow up and leave home, also removed some of the bonds holding long-term couples together.
The figures also show a spike in the number of people in their early forties deciding to divorce, suggesting that the "midlife crisis" is one of the biggest factors behind marital break-up.
Changing social attitudes are laid out in a breakdown of the figures showing that adultery as a cause of divorce has fallen to an all-time low, with "unreasonable behaviour" by one or other party now the dominant cause.
Overall a total of 117,558 married couples finalised their separations in England Wales last year, down from 119,589 in 2010.
The 1.7 percent fall came after a surprise five percent increase in 2010, but the ONS warned that it might be only temporary, following patterns in previous recessions in which unhappy couples sat it out until their house goes up in value before making the break.
The ONS calculated that 42 percent of marriages now end in divorce - down from 45 percent six years earlier.
Meanwhile the average marriage now lasts about 32 years - while around a fifth of all people getting divorced are serial divorcees.
The figures also suggest that the "seven year itch" is still a reality, with those between the fourth and eighth year of marriage statistically more likely to separate within a year than any other group.
But the highest number of divorces for both men and women was among those aged between 40 and 44, falling steadily among those in their late forties and fifties.
Significantly, however, it rises again when people turn 60.
Last year eight percent of all husbands who got divorced - or 9,439 - were over 60. A decade earlier the proportion was 4.6.
The pattern was similar among women, rising from 2.6 percent to five percent in a decade.