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Divorce statistics in Australia

Up until World War II, divorce in Australia was relatively rare. While the divorce rate rose steadily between 1940 and 1960, the introduction of the Family Law Act in 1975 was the catalyst for a significant increase in divorce rates.

Crude divorce rate

Since 1994, the crude divorce rate (number of divorces per 1000 people) has remained between 2 and 3, and the length of marriage prior to divorce has averaged at around 12 years.

1980 1995 2000 2004 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
2.7 2.8 2.6 2.6 2.3 2.2 2.2 2.1 2.0

The divorce rate peaked in 1976 with a crude divorce rate of 4.6 per 1000 residents. In total, 63,230 couples were granted divorces.

Average length of marriage

1994

2004

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

10.9

12.3

12.3

12.2

12.2

12.1

12.0

Figures for 2014

In 2014, there were 46,498 divorces granted in Australia, slightly down from 2013, when there were 47,638 divorces. Of these 46,498 divorces:

  • 47 per cent involved children
  • 40,152 children experienced their parents going through a divorce
  • 12,090 males applied for the divorce, compared to 15,127 females. Joint applicants made up the difference of 19,281
  • Both parties were born in Australia in more than half the cases

Ages

The median age of divorce applicants also fluctuates from year to year. It seems people are waiting until later in life to file for divorce.

 

1980

1990

2000

2004

2010

2014

Male

35.2

38.2

41.4

43.0

44.4

45.2

Female

32.7

35.3

38.6

40.3

41.5

42.5

States and territories

Divorces are recorded by the state or territory according to the location of the court that granted the divorce and not the residential state of the applicants.

 

NSW

VIC

QLD

SA

WA

TAS

NT

ACT

Australia

1994

13,999

11,320

9762

4192

5024

1544

400

2071

48,312

2004

15,007

12,544

13,279

4147

4337

1404

434

1595

52,747

2010

14,655

12,368

11,418

3849

4835

1257

429

1429

50,240

2011

13,917

12,271

11,393

3506

5020

1096

351

1381

48,935

2012

14,607

12,483

11,317

3511

5073

1161

391

1374

49,917

2013

13,820

11,663

10,861

3343

5268

972

379

1332

47,638

2014

13,706

11,711

10,699

3211

4518

1009

366

1278

46,498

According to these numbers, ACT has the highest crude divorce rate, sitting at 3.3, while NT has the lowest at 1.5 per 1000 residents.