While of course we all go into a relationship or marriage with the best intentions, the reality is, for some, things change. And for years now, we’ve been led to believe that the divorce rate is going up, that half (or more) of all marriages will end up in divorce and that our love lives are in a state of crisis. But is this really true? How many marriages actually end up in divorce and how long is the average marriage before divorce these days?
What is the current divorce rate in Australia?
The Australian Institute of Family studies reports that the divorce rate (divorces per 1,000 Australian residents) has fallen in the 2000s and was at its lowest rate since 1976 in 2016 at just 1.9.
Divorce rates rose in the 1960s and 1970s and peaked at 4.6 per after the introduction of the Family Law Act 1975, which allowed no-fault divorce.
According to the Australian Bureau Of Statistics (ABS) most recent study, there were 49,032 divorces granted in 2017 (and 112,954 marriages) which was up 5.2% from the previous year so the rate has risen slightly.
Queensland has the highest crude divorce rate with 2.3 divorces per 1,000 estimated resident population, while the Northern Territory had the lowest at 1.6.
What age are people getting divorced?
In 2017 the median age for men was 45.5 years and for women was 42.9.
What is the average duration of a marriage before divorce?
According to the data, the average length of a marriage before it ends in divorce is 12.0 years.
Have the changes to the same-sex marriage laws in Australia affected the divorce rates?
After amendments to the Marriage Act 1961 came into effect on the 9 December 2017 which enabled= same-sex couples to legally marry in Australia 3,149 same-sex weddings were held in Australia (as at 30 June 2018). While data is not yet available on divorce rates for same-sex marriage, the first same-sex divorce was reported in Western Australia in December 2017.
A couple who married in 2015 at a consulate in Perth under the laws of a European country where same-sex marriage was already legal, reported ABC at the time. The couple faced difficulty obtaining a divorce preceeding the amendments to Australia’s marriage act, however, after the changes their union became officially recognised in Australia – and therefore so to their eligibility for divorce.
Same-sex couples are eligible for divorce the same as any other couple under the new laws.