Marital disruption (i.e. due to death, divorce or separation) at older ages is an important issue as it removes the usual primary source of help and support: a husband or wife. To date, few studies have investigated the support implications (both informal, here deWned as perceived support and social embeddedness and formal, deWned as use of domiciliary care services) of marital disruptions in later life. This issue needs addressing as widow(er)hood and divorce are increasingly occurring at older ages. Employing data from the longitudinal British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) (1991–2003) we investigated the association between marital disruption and Wrst loss of (a) perceived support and (b) at least weekly contact with at least one non-relative friend, among those aged 50 and over. We also examined Wrst use of domiciliary care services (i.e. health visitor or district nurse, home help or meals-onwheels) among those aged 70 and over. Our Wndings show that marital separation increased the odds of losing perceived support whereas widow(er)hood showed no signiWcant association among people aged 50 and over. Separation and widow(er)hood increased the odds of losing weekly contact with non-relative friends (although the odds were greater for separation) in this age group. Finally, widow(er)hood increased the odds of using domiciliary care services among respondents aged 70 and over.