Australians focus more on family

Date: Aug 04, 2011

An in-depth survey by Quantum Australia's leading social researcher David Chalke has uncovered that what Australians really value as being a sign of success is a good marriage.

This option was top of a list of 12 categories presented in an AustraliaSCAN report. Other sections included owning their home, being healthy and retiring early.

A good marriage topped the list with 83 per cent of people surveyed saying it was definitely a sign of personal success.

The next greatest achievement was "being in control of life" at 82 per cent, followed by having "happy and successful" children at 81 per cent.

Chalke says these figures may be a reaction by the Australian population to troubling times reported by the media and a sense of disempowerment brought on by what they see as an increasingly complex world.

In a conference held for the launch of the survey data, Chalke talked on the rising rate of uncertainty that people were feeling, with the population focusing more on family concerns.

"Australians are unsettled. There is division out there," said Chalke. "No wonder they are cocooning and fortressing".

This matches with figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, with the latest reports from 2009 showing a slight increase in the number of marriages.

There was a spike in the number of divorces back in 1976 - such a jump was most likely a result of the introduction of the Family Law Act 1975.

This law allows couples to seek a divorce based only on one ground - the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage as measured by the separation of the partners for at least one year.

However, a trailing divorce rate in recent years reveals that married couples may be staying together for longer.

A powerful tool in assisting the development of a happy marriage may be the increased use of pre-nuptial agreements.

Commonly known as prenups, these legal documents allow couples to detail their preferred division of assets should their relationship fail.

The development of these details - in addition to gaining sound family law advice - may have the added effect of increasing partners' certainty in regards to their commitment before entering marriage.

To reduce the confusion involved with drafting these legal documents, couples are advised to seek assistance from an experienced family lawyer who can provide the expertise required to help them fully understand the nature of the agreements they are entering into.