The age of the parties and the length of the marriage or civil partnership
The age of the parties and the length of the marriage or civil partnership

The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The age of the parties and the length of the marriage or civil partnership
  • Age of the parties
  • Pre-marriage/civil partnership cohabitation
  • Date of separation
  • Post-divorce/dissolution cohabitation
  • Impact of length of marriage/civil partnership

By virtue of section 25(2)(d) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973) the court must give consideration to:

'…the age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage.'

Equivalent provision is set out in Schedule 5 Part 5 to the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPA 2004) at para 21(2).

Age of the parties

The age of the parties will generally directly impact on the other factors set out in MCA 1973, s 25 or CPA 2004, Sch 5, Pt 5, eg age will be considered in conjunction with the length of the marriage, earning capacity, needs and contributions. Pension considerations will be more significant for parties who are in their 50s and less important for those who are in their 30s, see Practice Note: General principles—pensions in family proceedings.

The income and future earning capacity for parties in their 50s or 60s will be considered differently from the income and earning capacity of much younger people. An older party may have a more vulnerable earning capacity that precludes the option of a clean break. With age may come health considerations, for example in Fields v Fields, the husband was age 59, worked 70–80 hours per week, six days per week, with a ‘great deal of punishing travel’ and suffered from health conditions that were said to be ‘exacerbated

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