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Last week it was announced that Al Gore was splitting from his wife Tipper after 40 years of marriage, reflecting an increasing trend to in the 50-plus age group. So what is happening to older couples and their relationships? And how do they cope emotionally with the divorce?

 According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 1988, 8 per cent of husbands aged 55 and over divorced, while in 2007 that had jumped to 13%. While for women aged 55-plus, the rate changed from 4.7 per cent in 1988 to 8.1 per cent in 2007.

This article looks at why older couples are divorcing in higher numbers, and how men and women cope differently with the experience.

Breaking up is tough whatever age you are. But research shows that for older men especially, divorce or separation can particularly difficult as many have relied on their wives to take care of them, and have never learnt to cook or clean. While for older women financial security is often the big issue.

Relationships Australia provides booklets for both men and women to help them cope with the divorce process.

For our part, every year ipac helps dozens of people in this situation to reach better financial and emotional outcomes.