In this video, special counsel Craig Turvey discusses recent marriage and divorce statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and what this data might mean for you.

Video transcript

Hello. My name's Craig Turvey and I'm a special counsel in the Cooper Grace Ward family law team. Today, I'd like to talk to you about some recent statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and what that might mean for you in a practical sense.

2020 to 2021 statistics

So, it's probably not quite surprising that as a result of the COVID period, so from 2020 to 2021, the percentage of marriages was down significantly from previous years. Presumably, that's just because a lot of people postponed weddings due to all the restrictions, a lot of them couldn't go ahead. So, that's probably not very surprising. The divorce rate went up quite a lot though from previous years. Again, that might not be entirely surprising either, given that people are forced to stay together in an artificial environment for a lot longer. There's lots of financial pressures and other things. So, those things in themselves might not be surprising, but they are still consistent with general historical trends, which is that marriages, the duration of marriage is shorter.

Average marriage ABS statistics

So, at the moment, the recent ABS statistics show that an average duration of a marriage is about 12 years from the time you get married to the time you divorce. So, keeping in mind that 12 year period, you can only apply for a divorce once you have separated for 12 months. And sometimes people separate for a couple of years before they then go through that process of divorcing. So, it's probably the case that people aren't really together in terms of the duration of the marriage for 12 years. It's probably quite a bit shorter than that.

Gender ages and assets

The statistics also show that in terms of general ages, men are generally in the mid forties, when they divorce for the first time women, it's usually early forties. What do you take from that? Well, it's consistent with general trends in that the duration of marriage is getting shorter and so it therefore means that people need to be concerned from a financial perspective about what that might mean for them. If you have significant assets or you have interests in certain entities and things, for example, if you're part of a farming family, and it might be that you have a lot to inherit or that as your parents retire, you'll benefit from certain advantages in the family structure, that there's an incentive for you to try and protect all of that. And then given that divorces are on the increase and the duration of marriage is getting shorter, it might be worth considering whether you need a financial agreement to try and protect your interests, if you do separate. So, although a financial agreement is an unromantic document, it might be something that's really relevant for you.

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