Marriages are filled with countless challenges and obstacles. Despite a couple’s best efforts, many relationships inevitably fall apart and end up in divorce. This is evident in the most recent divorce statistics in Australia released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Understanding the divorce statistics in Australia is crucial in helping couples stay together or be better prepared if they decide to part ways. In this blog post, we will discuss Australia’s most recent divorce statistics and their implications on marriage.
Understanding Divorce Laws in Australia
Divorce is legal in Australia, with the Family Law Act 1975 governing separation and divorce proceedings. In Australia, the court practises a “no-fault” divorce process, meaning that partners have no responsibility to provide a satisfying reason for their divorce. The only reason they need to verify is that there is an irreversible breakdown of the marriage.
You and your spouse should meet the following criteria to successfully file a divorce in Australia:
- You and your spouse have been living separately for at least 12 months;
- You are an Australian citizen or resident living in Australia, or
- You consider Australia as your permanent home.
Even if you’re not married in Australia, you can still apply for a divorce if the Australian court recognises your foreign marriage under Marriage Act 1961. You only have to present an English version of your marriage certificate if your original certificate is in your native language.
Latest Divorce Statistics in Australia 2022
Last November 10, 2022, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released the official marriage and divorce statistics for 2021 on their official website.
According to the ABS, there were 89,164 marriages registered nationally for the reference year. The ABS stated that this number is below the pre-pandemic figures (113,815) but is higher than Australia’s historically lowest number, which was 78,989 in 2020.
Many factors affected the decline of marriage during the pandemic, such as the following:
- Restrictions on the number of people attending a public or religious ceremony,
- State border closures,
- Financial stress caused by job losses and other economic impacts of the pandemic.
The divorce rate in the country faces a sharp increase compared to the previous year’s figure.
In 2021, the country recorded 56,244 divorces, a 13.6% jump from 49,510 in 2020.
Why was there such an increase of divorces from 2020 to 2021?
Some have attributed it to covid. People were locked indoors with their spouses and obtaining a divorce and a separate residence would’ve been physically challenging given the restrictions around that time.
The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia stated that the reason behind this spike is the administrative changes to reduce divorce timeframes and increase finalisation.
The government department mandated this to reduce the growing backlog of divorce applications in the court. The changes included:
- Online lodgement of documents,
- Expedited hearing process,
- Reduced costs for filing and processing paperwork,
- Couples counselling services and support programs.
The Most Common Reasons for Divorce
Divorce is one of the most emotionally challenging experiences any couple can go through. While it is natural to feel overwhelmed, understanding why couples choose to separate can help individuals come to terms with their situation.
Listed below are the most common reasons for divorce in the country:
- Communication problems: Many former spouses report communication issues as the primary source of conflict, leading to an unpleasant environment and a feeling of disconnection. Miscommunication involves not being able to communicate needs, emotions and expectations effectively.
- Loss of connection: Losing touch with their former partner is also reported as a primary source of conflict. This disconnection can occur due to various factors, including physical separation caused by work or lifestyle changes, unresolved disagreements, and lack of trust.
- Infidelity or loss of faith: Cheating or other forms of infidelity is another common cause of divorce. Over time, a lack of trust can lead to the breakdown of a relationship and ultimately end in divorce.
- Physical or emotional abuse: This is also a significant factor leading to the dissolution of marriages. Physical abuse includes hitting, punching or any form of violence. Emotional abuse involves using words to manipulate, threaten and cause fear in one’s partner.
- Financial problems: Another common problem pointed out by most divorcees is economic issues. This could involve disagreements on how to spend, save or invest money. It can also include not agreeing on a budget, leading to long-term debt or overspending.
What To Do if You’re Considering a Divorce
Divorce is the final decision for anyone considering separation.
It is an emotionally challenging process, but there are various ways to minimise its effects on both parties involved. Here are some things you should consider before filing for a divorce:
- Seek professional help: Seeking the advice of experienced lawyers, counsellors, and psychologists can help you make an informed decision. Talking to people with similar experiences can also provide emotional support during this time.
- Consider alternatives: Before pursuing a formal divorce, consider other possible ways to resolve the issue. Alternatives could involve mediation, couples counselling or a trial separation to gain clarity on the situation.
- Set realistic expectations: Make sure that you understand any legal and financial implications of getting a divorce. Set reasonable expectations for the outcome and work towards achieving it.
- Be prepared to compromise: If children are involved, be mindful and remember that both parents will have to agree in their best interests.
Preparation before filing for a divorce is key to a successful and seamless process. If you’ve gone through all these with your partner and are still willing to pursue a divorce, make sure to seek competent legal advice from experienced divorce lawyers.
The Benefits of Having a Lawyer During a Divorce
The divorce process is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each case is unique, and couples should consider the services of an experienced divorce lawyer.
Here are some benefits of having a lawyer during this complex process:
- Expert advice: A divorce lawyer can provide expert legal advice and help you understand the consequences of your decisions. They can also explain what documents need to be filed to complete the process.
- Protection of rights and interests: Experienced lawyers can help you protect your rights, whether it is during negotiations or defending them in court. They can also provide advice about child custody and parenting arrangements for divorcing couples.
- Additional support: Having a lawyer during this time can bring additional support during this complicated period. They will also ensure that you know your rights and help you make informed decisions.
Divorce is not a decision to be taken lightly, but with the proper preparation and legal advice, it can be easier for individuals going through this process.
There’s no shame in admitting that you need help with a divorce. The divorce statistics in Australia show that most people consult with an expert to help make the process more manageable.
Our team of experienced professionals understands the complexities of this situation and can provide sound legal advice to guide you throughout the entire process.
Our lawyers are available to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your case, so feel free to contact us online or call us directly. We are here to help you navigate this difficult situation and ensure you get the best outcome possible.
Director of Melbourne Family Lawyers, Hayder manages the practice and oversees the running of all of the files in the practice. Hayder has an astute eye for case strategy and running particularly complex matters in the family law system.