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Latest Bureau of Statistics Australian Divorce Statistics

Barbara Bryan for | December 5, 2010


The Australian Bureau of Statistics have just released their latest study on Divorce. Here is a complete summary of the divorce statistics of 2009...


In 2009, there were 49,448 divorces granted in Australia, an increase of 2,239 (4.7%) compared to 2008. This is the first increase in the number of divorces granted since 2001.


In 2009, there were 24,268 divorces involving children under 18 years of age, representing 49.1% of all divorces granted. This represents an increase of 1,245 from the 23,023 divorces involving children in 2008.

Over the last 20 years, the proportion of divorces involving children has been generally decreasing, although this decline has slowed in more recent years. The number of children affected by divorce has increased from 43,184 in 2008 to 45,195 in 2009. However, the average number of children by divorce has changed very little over the last 20 years, and stands at 1.86 in 2009


Overall, males who were granted a divorce in 2009 tended to be older than females at marriage, separation and divorce.

Of all females granted a divorce in 2009, 61.0% were aged under 45 years in comparison to 51.5% of males granted a divorce in this age group. The 35-39 years age group had the highest percentage of divorces granted for both males (16.4%) and females (17.8%).

The median age at marriage for males whose divorces were granted in 2009 was 28.1 years, compared to 25.5 years for females, while the median age at separation for males granted divorce was 40.7 years, compared to 38.0 years for females. Similarly, the median age of males at divorce was 44.4 years, compared to 41.5 years for females.

The median age at divorce has generally been increasing for both males and females over the past 20 years. This trend continued in 2009, with median age at divorce for males increasing by 0.3 years and the median age at divorce for females increasing by 0.1 years compared to 2008.


Age-specific divorce rates can provide a more detailed picture of the ages at which people are granted a divorce. These rates give an indication of the proportion of all males or females in a particular age group who were granted a divorce per 1,000 estimated resident population of the same age group. More information on the calculation of age-specific divorce rates is provided in the Glossary and Explanatory Notes 34-36 and 46.

The age-specific divorce rates for males in 2009 were highest for the 40 to 44 year age group, at 10.5 divorces per 1,000 estimated resident population. Amongst females, the age-specific divorce rate was highest for the 35 to 39 year age group at 10.8 divorces per 1,000 estimated population. Age-specific divorce rates increased between 2008 and 2009 for males and females aged between 35 and 64 years.


The median length of marriage to separation for couples granted divorce in 2009 was 8.7 years, a slight decrease from 8.8 years in 2008. The median length of marriage to divorce was 12.3 years for divorces granted in 2009.

Over the last 20 years, median length of marriage to separation and divorce has steadily increased, with length of marriage to divorce increasing at a slightly faster rate than length of marriage to separation.

In 1989, the median length of marriage to separation was 7.3 years and in 1999 it was 7.9 years. In 1989, the median length of marriage to divorce was 10.2 years and in 1999 it was 11.3 years.


Over the last 20 years, the proportion of joint applications for divorce has been increasing, while the proportion of applications by a single person has decreased. In 2006, the proportion of joint applications overtook applications by the male only (a difference of 0.8 percentage points).


Queensland had the highest crude divorce rate with 2.5 divorces per 1,000 estimated resident population, while the Northern Territory had the lowest divorce rate at 1.9%.

Tasmania and South Australia had the highest proportion of all divorces which involved children at 56.5% and 51.8% respectively, while Western Australia (44.5%) and New South Wales (47.6%) had the lowest proportion of divorces involving children.

Western Australia had the highest median age at divorce for both males and females at 45.5 years and 42.6 years respectively, while Northern Territory had the lowest median ages at divorce (43.2 years for males and 39.9 years for females).

Tasmania had the highest median length of marriage prior to divorce (13.5 years), while Northern Territory had the shortest median length of marriage to divorce (10.3 years).

In 2009, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory all recorded more joint applications for divorce than male or female only applications.

Information source Australian Bureau of Statistics

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What does it mean to be a single mum?Of course, the


are the most important thing in a single mum's life. Kids are the focus and always have been. But along with the children, there are other matters that can confuse a single mum's life.


plays a big part of a single mother's life, mainly because this is where a large percentage of single mums get their finances from. Centrelink are the source from where the

single mother pension

, or as it is otherwise known, the single parent payment comes from. The single mother pension is a subsistence amount, but just the same, it is money to live on, and so it is important, no matter if it is called single parent payment, single mother pension or whatever Centrelink welfare classes it at the time

Often, single mums come out of a


or defacto relationship only to find that their troubles have just begun, and find that their first step leads them towards Family Law - it's time to engage a lawyer.
There are more than just Centrelink finance problems to worry about, as mentioned before, but also

child custody

issues. Child custody is something that hits right at the heart of

single mums

. If a single mother's ex husband or ex partner has been a domestic violence perpetrator, the mum may be greatly worried about child custody. They worry that their kids won't be safe with their spouse, who has already proven to be abusive because they caused

domestic violence

, which resulted in a divorce or separation.

Even so,

Family Court

will often still order a form of child custody named

Shared Parenting

. Shared Parenting is a form of child custody division of time or parental responsibility between the parents. Mother's often look for a good divorce lawyer to try to avoid share parenting with an abusive ex-spouse after divorce, however in many cases Shared Parenting is still the outcome after the divorce, no matter how good the divorce lawyers have been. They will often settle for visitation at a contact centre or access centre where fathers or mothers are supervised during child custody access.

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