Australians are staying together for longer

Date: Aug 18, 2011

A report from the Australian Institute of Family Studies has been released that shows that married families are staying together for longer.

The average length of marriages that end in divorce has increased nationwide, with the latest figures showing they last around 8.7 years.

This is up from the recorded time in 1980, when matrimony had an average lifespan of just 7.5 years.

Other figures show that the length of time between a marriage beginning and the couple's separation has also grown 2.1 years - from 10.2 to 12.3 by the latest statistics.

This is to be expected, as under Australian law a couple may be granted a divorce if it can be shown that the relationship has suffered an irreparable breakdown and has no chance of being resumed.

To do this, partners must be able to show that they have been separated for a period of no less than 12 months before an application is filed.

Proving that a separation has occurred can be a daunting task during such an emotional process and individuals may find that they benefit from consulting with an experienced family lawyer for reliable advice on the proceedings.

Another interesting fact highlighted by the report is that the number of couples who reported living together before marriage has increased.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, researcher and report co-author Lixia Qu said that couples were more cautious about commitment and were showing a propensity to enter into what she dubbed "trial marriages".

Qu asserted: "I think the fact that people tend to be marrying at a later age is an important factor because this usually means they are more mature and perhaps better equipped to cope with marriage."

Couples can apply to have their de facto relationship officially listed by the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages - in addition to drawing up prenuptial agreements - if they are planning on living together for a length of time.

These measures allow partners to provide guidelines regarding how their property is to be divided in the event that they decide to separate.

It could be inferred that these measures combine to allow couples to feel more secure when deciding to enter into a long-term relationship.

In turn, this behaviour may be impacting on the overall number of marriages that last over 20 years, with this sector of matrimonial couples increasing by 28 per cent.

Couples should always attempt to gain family law advice from an accredited source that takes their situation into account before entering into these sorts of agreements.