Divorce and menopause

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13 July, 2023

Sarah Robson

Recent research has shown a link between the menopause and the rates for divorce. Menopause is often a contributing factor to a marital breakdown. Here we look at the menopause, divorce and the statistics.

Millions of women throughout the UK experience symptoms of the menopause each day. We are all becoming increasingly aware of how the menopause affects women; an awareness that is long overdue. Each woman is different and consequentially will have different symptoms. However typical symptoms can include:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Hot flushes
  • Night sweats
  • Mood changes
  • Weight gain
  • Anxiety
  • Low mood
  • Low libido
  • Difficulty concentrating

These symptoms can affect every area of a woman's life but can have a drastic impact on intimate relationships. This can inevitably cause a relationship to breakdown. Loss of communication, increased irritability, loss of intimacy and anger can all put a significant strain on a relationship.

According to a survey by the Family Law Menopause Project and Newson Health Research and Education 8 out of 10 women experiencing marriage difficulties said symptoms of the menopause/perimenopause put a strain on their family life. A further 67% of the 1,000 women taking part worryingly claimed it increased domestic abuse and arguments. With 60% of divorces being initiated by women in their 40s/50s and 60s, it is increasingly more common for women to cite the menopause as a factor in their relationship breakdown.

Only a third of those surveyed said they had been offered treatment or hormonal replacement therapy "HRT" to alleviate their symptoms. This is only exacerbated by the HRT shortage recently reported by the British Menopause Society. However of those who took HRT, 65% said it had a positive impact on their menopause related symptoms.

Dr Louise Newson, a GP who runs Newson Health, said in a statement: "Whilst the physical symptoms of the menopause are well-known and often discussed, the mental health impact is often ignored and can be catastrophic for many women, having a deeply negative effect on their work, relationships and finances as a result.

"Our mission is to improve the health outcomes for perimenopausal and menopausal women through further education and research, and this research does just that."

The study also showed that there is still a stigma attached to women suffering effects of the menopause. Alarmingly 86% of those surveyed reported that they did not feel comfortable raising the issue of perimenopause/menopause in discussions with their lawyer and nearly all (97%) stated that their family lawyer did not raise it with them nor explore how menopause may affect the case when it comes to relationship dynamics; splitting the assets or related children matters.

76% thought that family lawyers and Judges needed training on how to sensitively deal with women affected by the menopause and how to factor it in to their cases.

Divorce is not a decision that is taken lightly and there are generally many factors that lead to a gradual breakdown of a marriage to the point where it is no longer salvageable and the only option is divorce. If you have reached that point and require legal advice then get in touch with Forbes - our family law department have experienced divorce solicitors who are approachable and will listen, ensuring you are able to speak freely and will be supported.

For more information contact Sarah Robson in our Family/Divorce department via email or phone on 0333 207 1130. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

Learn more about our Family/Divorce department here

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