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The Family Law Menopause Project and Newson Health Research and Education partner to launch new survey uncovering women’s experience of menopause and divorce

The Family Law Menopause Project announces today that  it is partnering with Newson Health Research and Education, the not-for-profit organisation founded by Dr Louise Newson[1], the renowned menopause expert on what is set to be the largest ever nationwide survey of women about their experience of menopause and relationship breakdown.

The survey, aims to uncover trends and insight as to the impact menopause (including perimenopause) has during a divorce or separation – helping to uncover and raise greater awareness of the impact this has upon women and their families.

With the onset of perimenopause in the mid 40’s and average age of menopause at 51, there is clear association with the peak time of divorce between ages 45 and 55 where many women are divorcing at a time when menopause or perimenopause is an issue [2].  While menopause symptoms will vary, 1 in 4 women will experience severe debilitating symptoms while over 60% of women will experience symptoms resulting in behaviour changes. [3]

Family lawyer Farhana Shahzady launched the Family Law Menopause Project in January 2022 out of concern that many divorcing women are currently left financially disadvantaged as they approach retirement because the impact of menopause and their ability to work is not properly taken into account when financial settlements are drawn up. 

Farhana Shahzady, founder of the Family Law Menopause Project and a director at London and South East family law firm Family Law Partners, says:

 This is the first nationwide survey of women to establish what the family law process looks and feels like for them following, or during, experiencing perimenopausal or menopausal symptoms. We are excited to be partnering with Newson Health Research and Education, the multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals and experts on this new survey to uncover insights that will help improve the experience and outcomes for the thousands of women who get divorced each year”.

Lucy Chatwin, Director, Newson Health Research and Education Limited (not for profit) said:

“Working with The Family Law Menopause Project to create this survey is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about how the perimenopause and menopause impacts individuals and their family during a divorce or separation.  Our mission is to improve the health outcomes for perimenopausal and menopausal women through further education and research.  This survey is a great example of how we are developing our wider understanding of the impacts of the perimenopause and menopause, raising awareness across different sectors and seeking to identify how education and information can improve the experience.”

The survey for women follows a project earlier this year to obtain the view of family lawyers themselves, the results of which revealed that practitioners acknowledge and accept that there is a lack of understanding of menopause in the area of family law. The survey revealed that 81% of family lawyers are failing to understand or recognise the impact of menopause and perimenopause during divorce and separation. The survey of family law professionals and the judiciary also found that 65% of respondents agreed that women are potentially disadvantaged in terms of financial settlements, by a lack of understanding within family law to recognise or think about the impact menopause and perimenopause might be having on the ability of their female clients to work full-time or even part-time.  An additional finding is that 60% of respondents felt that it would be unlikely or extremely unlikely that clients (whether as individuals or as a couple) would talk openly about the impact of menopause on their divorce with their lawyer.

Shahzady continues:

“As a family lawyer, I am aware that there is no formal case law in relation to menopause and its impact on family financial cases and similarly no anecdotal cases either from family law peers I have discussed this with. It seems to be a blind spot.  One could reach the simple conclusion that menopause is just not an issue but this is highly doubtful, and so I launched The Family Law Menopause Project to encourage lawyers to think differently about how they onboard and advise clients, and adapt their practice to ensure that menopause is considered and explored (if relevant) at the earliest stage in a case. 

The results of this latest survey for women up and down the country will provide vital understanding as to how women going through the process of divorce feel during and following their separation – combined with the earlier conducted research of family lawyers, I am confident that real change will be achieved”. 

The survey is now open for responses and women are invited to take part and share their experiences here:https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/menopauseanddivorce


[1] As well as Newson Health Health Research and Education, Dr Newson is also founder of The Menopause Charity and developer of the balance app.

2 Statista – https://www.statista.com/statistics/290096/divorce-average-age-at-divorce-in-england-and-wales-by-gender/

3 Nuffied Health (via Menopause Support UK) – https://menopausesupport.co.uk/?page_id=60

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