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Lockdowns and divorce rates in Australia

Lockdowns and divorce rates in Australia

Marriage rates in Australia fell from 4.5 marriages per 1000 people in 2019 to 3.1 in 2020, but the crude divorce rates have remained constant at 1.9 divorces per 1000 Australians. The numbers may not directly prove the effect of COVID lockdowns on marriages, but they are indicative to an extent. Leading family lawyers in Sydney report increased divorce filings post the pandemic.

Some of the negative impacts of prolonged co-confinement on marriages are listed below.

(1) Holiday Trend: Before lockdowns, Christmas holidays were when most families spent extended hours with each other. Without the distraction of routines like work and school, couples noticed and amplified the cracks in their relationship.

According to Dr. Anne Hollonds of the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the number of couples seeking counselling services shoots up in January, at the end of the holidays.

The lockdowns have induced a similar trend, with several couples calling in to discuss their pent-up resentment, which became intolerable due to the lockdown.

(2) Intimacy Issues: Before the lockdown, many spouses attributed the lack of intimacy in their marriage to their busy schedules. A remote working setup would have resolved the issue. However, an increasing number of couples realised that there is a deeper cause to the lack of intimacy than a mere paucity of time.

(3) Overwhelming Responsibilities: Parents had to spend more time tending to their children with schools and offices shutting down. At the same time, the blurring of lines between office and non-office hours meant that people could not compartmentalise between the personal and professional aspects of their lives. In households with

If you experienced similar issues and counselling could not resolve them, you must consult family lawyers in Sydney. The following is the gist of Australian divorce rules for you to make a more informed choice based on the legal advice given by your lawyer.

What does the Australian Family Law Act 1975 have to say about divorce?

Under the amended Family Law Act of 1975, there is no need to prove any ‘fault’ in your marriage to file for a divorce. If either one of you is an Australian citizen, has been residing in Australia for over a year, or is an ordinary resident of Australia, you can apply for divorce.

  • You only need to claim that there is an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage, and
  • support the claim by living separately for 12 months or more, provided that
  • You are married for at least two years before applying for a divorce.
  • If you have been a married person for less than two years, you will need to attend counselling and obtain a signed certificate from the counsellor.

Method of filing:

  • You can apply alone or together for a divorce at Australia’s Federal Circuit and Family Court.
    • If you are the sole applicant, you need to supply an affidavit from a third party, testifying that there has been a year-long separation.
    • As a sole applicant, your divorce notice will be served to your spouse within 28 or 42 days.
    • They can challenge your application on the grounds of discrepancy in the separation period or that either of you is not ‘connected’ to Australia.
  • If you apply jointly, you won’t need a third-party affidavit, and neither will there be a serving of notice.

In Conclusion

Applying for a divorce is an emotionally trying process. The associated rules and paperwork can seem overwhelming if you do not have the right help. Consult a family lawyer to serve you as a friend, philosopher, and guide through the entire procedure.

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