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Women who choose to divorce over the age of 60 could find themselves in financial difficulties, research has shown.

Ship, an equity release body, said there are 13,678 people over the age of 60 who divorce every year, although problems in the housing market could leave them out of pocket.

"Clearly, ‘pensioner divorce’ is a pressing issue as growing numbers of older people are deciding that they would prefer to spend their retirement alone," said Andrea Rozario, director-general of SHIP.

She added that people should consider their options before making any firm decisions with their finances, which may include enlisting the services of a debt management company.

The Key Retirement Solutions Equity Release Market Monitor for this first quarter of the year showed a dramatic decrease in the equity release market when compared to the same period of 2008.

It found that whilst the number of plans fell by seven per cent, the effect of falling property prices has impacted heavily on the overall lending figures, as costs have fallen by as much as 16 per cent in some places.

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