The facts of divorce
I’ve just published a book called Money, Marriage and Divorce, which looks at, on the one hand, how you might be able to avoid a relationship breakdown if money troubles are a key problem, and on the other, what divorce is likely to mean for you financially and how you can manage your money best after the divorce dust has settled.
Of course, it’s not exactly news when I tell you divorce can be very traumatic, and also an event that can lead to a major shift in your financial future. As you’ve no doubt noticed too, divorce is commonplace. But let’s have a look at what the figures and the odds of staying together, or not, really are.
What’s the number?
According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), there were 118,962 marriages registered and 47,638 divorces granted in Australia in 2013. Put another way, the number of divorces in 2013 was 40% of the number of marriages. I think the size of that number takes you aback when you see it for the first time, it surprised me, but interestingly the divorce rate hasn’t changed much since after the Family Law Act was passed in 1975 and the system of ‘no-fault’ divorce was established.
What’s the age?
What about the typical ages that people get hitched, and split? The ABS found that in 2013, the median age at marriage was 31.5 years for men, and 29.5 for women. On the flipside, the median age of men and women at divorce was 44.8 and 42.2 years respectively. This suggests marriages that end in divorce will typically last around 13 years; however, the median age at separation for men granted a divorce is around 41, compared to 38 for women. So, in fact, where a relationship does fail, people are most likely to separate after about a decade of marriage with a divorce often not formalised until a few years later.
Statistically speaking, couples in their 40s are the most likely age group for a relationship meltdown; however, there are a surprising number of so-called ‘silver separators’ – people whose marriages collapse when they reach their 50s and 60s. As a guide, ABS figures show that among those people granted a divorce in 2012, 60% of women and 51% of men were aged under 45 years. That leaves a significant proportion of people aged 45-plus going through divorce – in this scenario walking away from what is often a decades-long relationship, and in many cases it is the woman who initiates the separation.
In my next blog, I’ll look at some of the myths surrounding the divorce process and likely outcomes, and its financial implications.
We can help
If money is causing an issue in your relationship or if you have decided to go your own way, an ipac financial adviser can help you see money issues clearly. Why not get in touch by calling 1800 626 881 or by using the ‘contact us’ tool.Money, Marriage & Divorce by Paul Clitheroe AM, Published by Penguin, 2 January 2015