What have TV’s Great British Bake off Paul Hollywood, actress Jennifer Garner, supermodel Heidi Klum and snooker star Stephen Hendry got in common?

On the face of it, not a lot other than they have all fallen victim to the curse of the ‘mid-life meltdown’.

Hollywood had a much publicised break-up with his wife Alexandra before rekindling their marriage, while Heidi Klum and the singer Seal divorced after totting up nine years and four children together.

Seven-time world snooker champion Stephen Hendry left his wife of 19 years for a younger actress. And Tinsel Town’s Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck fell victim after 10 years and three children together.

These high profile casualties are symptomatic of what’s happening to us lesser mortals, says HM divorce lawyer Lindsay Yateman.

“The mid-life marriage meltdown is on the increase. It wasn’t unusual for our parents and grandparents generation to stay together for 50 years and to even celebrate their golden wedding anniversary.

“But today, people are getting married much later – they’re often well into their thirties – and by the time they’re in their mid-forties they’re hitting problems.

“We see couples who have stayed together until their children have grown up, finished school or started work and, once they have left the nest, they have realised they’re unhappy and want to split up.

“There’s not such a stigma to being divorced as there was for earlier generations either. I think this is because today’s woman is more empowered, is often working and has access to her own income and friend groups.

“In today’s world, you could say that being married for 20 years should be considered a long and successful marriage.”

Statistics from ONS show that in the UK, 13 divorces an hour are granted. The average age for a man to divorce is 45, while for a woman it’s 42. There has been a 0.5 per cent increase in divorces for couples aged 40-44.

Lindsay Yateman is Partner & Head of Family Department at Hillyer McKeown. Contact her here