Founder of Hampstead family law firm says divorce rates are rising for over-60s

Rosemary Savage. Picture: Polly Hancock

Rosemary Savage. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Hampstead independent business owner, Rosemary Savage, explains why being a family lawyer is not always a cut-throat affair

Dealing with warring spouses on a daily basis might sound like the job from hell to many people. Especially when they are cutting up each other’s clothes or sabotaging their other half’s beloved car.

But for Hampstead solicitor Rosemary Savage, there is little more rewarding than trying to help couples achieve an amicable divorce.

Mrs Savage, 65, has specialised in family law for more than 30 years – and she says she cannot imagine doing anything else.

“I love my job,” she said. “No two days are the same and it really is just fascinating.

“You meet people at a crisis point in their life, you hear amazing stories, and you have to see people through this difficult period.

“You have to show them sympathy and understanding, but at the same time remain detached to some extent, so you can get the best deal for them.”

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She founded her practice R A Savage & Co in 1990 in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, before opening a Hampstead office a decade later in Perrin’s Court, a short walk from her Gainsborough Gardens home.

She says she has dealt with some high profile cases over the years – as well as her fair share of bitter separations.

“Emotions can run very high,” she said. “I had a client whose wife cut up all his clothes down the middle and left them all folded up very tidily in a pile.

“Another wife put sugar in the petrol tank of her husband’s extremely expensive and much-loved car. I have been told of many cars being ‘keyed’ by an aggrieved spouse.”

Her aim, though, is always to reach a fair and amicable settlement without court proceedings, and in many cases her clients do remain on good terms with their ex.

“One of my clients went on an internet date only to meet up with her husband,” she added. “Both had hugely exaggerated their profiles. That story had a happy ending – they had a meal together and later reconciled.”

While she insists Hampstead is no more of a divorce hotspot than anywhere else, one trend she has identified is an increase in separations amongst the over-60s in recent years.

She believes this is partly because older couples are far more likely to acknowledge when a relationship is not working than in the past – but adds, “the main thing is we are all living longer”.

The devoted Manchester City fan started her career at a commercial firm before spending two years working in planning at Camden Council in the early 1970s.

She made the switch to family law after taking a break to have children – and now she heads what is a family firm in more ways than one.

“I am extremely fortunate that my son, Dominic [Savage], is now my partner in the business,” she said.

* R A Savage & Co is a member of the NW3 Hampstead Business. To find out more, email, visit, or follow @NW_3Hampstead on Twitter