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.
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
Figures for 2015
In 2015, there were 48,517 divorces granted in Australia, increasing from 2014, where there were 46,498 divorces. Of these 48,517 divorces:
- 47.5 per cent involved children
- 42,303 children experienced their parents going through a divorce
- 12,178 males applied for the divorce, compared to 15,337 females. Joint applicants made up the difference of 21,002
- Both parties were born in Australia in more than half the cases
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.
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.
According to these numbers, QLD has the highest crude divorce rate, sitting at 2.3, while NT has the lowest at 1.6 per 1000 residents.