Divorce Trends in Australia and How to Prepare for Divorce

What often makes the headlines of the various newspapers in Australia with regards to divorce isn’t necessarily a reflection of the reality seen in divorce statistics. Nevertheless, even if divorce rates have been trending downwards since the 2000s, the reality of divorce can be stressful and worrisome if you fall within those numbers.

Divorce Rates to 2017

The Australian Institute of Family Studies published an informative graph outlining divorce rates in Australia from 1901-2017 which show a steady general rise in divorce rates per 1,000 resident population until 1976. In January of 1976, the Family Act 1975 came into operation during a time when about 4.5 divorces were recorded per 1,000 residents, which was then followed by a steep decline.

From the 2000s to 2017, this rate has dropped significantly to about 2.0 divorces per 1,000 residents. It isn’t our place to say whether this is good or bad, but the general decline in divorce can be seen as beneficial for the family and for society since there is by definition less litigation than in previous decades.

When Are Couples Divorcing?

The statistics from 2016 illustrate that, in general, young couples tend to divorce more than older couples. Those aged 25-29 tend to divorce most, at around 16 per 1,000 residents in the population. Those aged 65+ tend to divorce least, at around 2 per 1,000 residents.

Generally, the longer couples remain together, the fewer chances they’ll have of going through a divorce whilst those getting married in their younger years are far more likely to divorce.

What Does This Mean for Australians?

Although the data seems to indicate quite reliably that divorce rates are falling since the introduction of the Family Act 1975, not everything is peachy. A divorce is still a divorce, and if you’re one of the Australians that’s going through a divorce the cost and litigation that often accompanies many divorces can be crippling.

There’s no single number, no fixed price tag for a divorce now nor was there any such thing in the past. It all depends on your individual circumstances. Will you require a lawyer to litigate on your behalf? Will you need a lawyer to negotiate property and asset settlements? Child custody arrangements? The list goes on.

Over time, however, the cost of divorces has generally gone up. Barring some celebrity divorces which have cost multiple millions of dollars, Australians are generally spending more and more on divorce, especially if they’re litigated over.

You don’t want to come unprepared into a divorce, and don’t think you can save some money by foregoing professional legal assistance, either. The cost of not hiring a lawyer for a divorce can quickly be overridden with costs stemming from delays, unfair outcomes in terms of land and asset division, or over the custody of children.

Always prepare well in advance if you are considering divorce and retain the services of a legal professional. This will not necessarily guarantee that you’ll have the cards stacked in your favour, but it will help to obtain a more favourable outcome.

National Family Lawyers

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