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|This article has been reproduced from FAMILY MATTERS no.35 August 1993, pp.28-29|
Currently, about 40 per cent of marriages can be expected to end in divorce.
Adding a small fraction for marriage breakdowns which are never formalised by divorce, we can estimate that about 43 per cent of marriages end in separation within 30 years of the marriage.
Facts and figures
Is the divorce rate increasing?
Divorce rates in the mid-1960s showed that about 10 per cent of marriages ended in divorce. The accompanying graph shows the very large number of divorces occurring in 1976, the first year of operation of the Family Law Act 1975.
The 'no fault' provisions of the new Act enabled many people to divorce sooner than they would have done under the previous law, and led to a heaping of divorces into one year, 1976.
This peak subsided by the end of the 1970s. A secondary peak occurred around 1982-83, perhaps reflecting the economic recession of the 1980s, with another peak beginning to appear in 1991, perhaps reflecting economic recession at this time.
Reasons for divorcing.
The Institute's first study of divorced people, the Family Dissolution/Re-formation Study, involved analyses of interviews obtained from randomly selected people who were divorced in 1979 through the Melbourne, Parramatta and Perth Family Courts.
Respondents were asked what made them first think about separating. The main group of reasons were to do with problems with the relationship, such as lack of communication with the other partner, feeling neglected and/or unloved, and constant arguments.
Divorce and children
It is estimated that 3.9 per cent of Australian children will have experienced the divorce of their parents by the time they are five years old, 10.2 per cent by the time they are ten, and 16.5 per cent by the time they are sixteen.
Further AIFS reading
Carmichael, G. and McDonald, P. (1988), 'The rise and fall(?) of divorce in Australia 1968-1985', Paper presented at the Population Association of America Meeting, San Francisco.
McDonald, P. (1993), Family Trends and Structure in Australia, Australian Family Briefings No.3, Australian Institute of Family Studies, Melbourne.
McDonald, P. (1990), 'The 1980s: social and economic change affecting families', Family Matters, No.26, April, pp.13-18.
McDonald, P. (1988), 'Trends in marriage and divorce in the USA and Australia compared', Family Matters, No.21, August, pp.27-28.
Ochiltree, G. (1990), Children in Australian Families, Longman Cheshire, Melbourne.
Ochiltree, G. (1988), 'The effects of marital disruption on children: an overview', Family Matters, No.22, December, pp.5-11.
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