Early intervention methods could affect divorce rate

Date: Jul 29, 2014

The government should be involved in early intervention measures in relationship breakdowns according to Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews.

Mr Andrews spoke to Patricia Karvelas on ABC 774 Drive in early July about divorce in Australia, the government's involvement and the Stronger Relationships trial. 

Individuals who go through relationship breakdowns are subject to personal trauma, Mr Andrews said. He said that social sciences research has shown that children that have been through a divorce are, overall, less likely to achieve high outcomes in education, employment and health. 

"So if we can help people, who may be able to reconcile their differences and keep their relationship together, particularly for children, then I believe that's a good thing."

The Australian Government's Stronger Relationships trial began at the start of July in an attempt to decrease the amount of divorces and relationship breakdowns in Australia. 

Mr Andrews said in a July 1 statement that Australian couples who would like to participate in the trial will have access to relationship counselling and education. The program is available for up to 100,000 couples for a one-year period. 

Couples can sign up to the trial online for a $200 subsidy towards the the cost of relationship counselling and education services with a provider of their choosing.

"Divorce and relationship breakdown costs the Australian economy around $3 billion every year, and has a significant and often inter-generational impact on individuals, children and communities," said Mr Andrews. 

According to statistics from the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS), approximately half of the population in Australia over the age of 15 is married. In 2012, there were 49,917 divorces recorded in Australia. Of the divorces in 2012, 44,834 involved children. 

If you and your partner are in the process of separating then it is important to seek the professional advice of a family lawyer in order to streamline the process. There are options available to you that do not require going to court. 

The New South Wales Law Society states that alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes available in the state include family dispute resolution, mediation, negotiation, arbitration, collaborative law and child-inclusive processes. 

ADR does not involve you going to court, instead a practitioner can give advice based on the issues relevant to you, or make decisions for you. The decision-making function of the ADR practitioner will depend on what ADR process you use. 

To learn more about ADR and if it is relevant to your situation talk to a family lawyer