More than one-third of divorce now occurs after the age of 50, with the primary cause (48%) of these later-in-life break-ups being “empty nest syndrome”, or the sadness and upheaval that many parents feel when their adult children leave home, according to new research.

Australian Seniors surveyed 1,250 Australians aged 50 and above for a white paper, Love After 50 Report – 41% had gone through a divorce or separation.

The research found that “empty nest syndrome” often led to couples reevaluating their relationship with each other and realising that they were no longer compatible despite living their adult lives together.

The other two leading factors were increased financial pressures (35%) and retirement adjustments (34%).

The decision to break up was not always a negative however. 55% of single people over 50 reported being content despite not having a committed partner, while almost one-third (29%) said their relationship status was a positive influence on their happiness.

57% of single people over 50 also said they were happy to stay single at this stage in their lives. They reported many benefits to their singledom, including more personal space, independence, financial control, peace and quiet, and less stress.

Proof that being single is not always a drawback?