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Did the COVID pandemic impacted the Divorce rate in Australia?

Your Divorce Founder Geoff Ebert

Today we will learn about the Divorce rate in Australia, and how the COVID pandemic has had an impact on this figure.

Hi, my name is Geoff Ebert, Principal Solicitor at Your DivorceAustralia’s leading online divorce provider. 

 

Table of Contents

Today we will learn about the effects of how the COVID-19

 pandemic effected the divorce rate in Australia 

 

 The real fact might surprise you

 

The Australian Bureau of Statistics recently reported marriages in Australia dramatically fell during the initial Covid period from 113,000 in 2019 to 78,000 in 2020 with a slight rebound to 89,000 in 2021. 

The 2022 figures are not yet available 

In contrast we at Your Divorce then posed the question ‘Was the Covid pandemic a strong factor in any increase in Divorce Applications over the same period?’ 

Statistics indicate marriages that pre-Covid in 2019 48,582 divorces were granted.

This was a slight increase to 49,510 in 2020

BUT

2021, 12 months after lockdowns began, and other Covid related stressors, the divorce rate spiked to 56,244. 

Whilst the raw statistics allow us to speculate regarding the causes of the 2021 spike we at Your Divorce were well placed to dig a little deeper. 

Did COVID effect Divorce rates

So, what action did we take? 


We used our position as the largest legal service specialising in divorce in Australia and asked some specific questions on the topic of increased divorce rates.

We completed an extensive survey with over 5000 people in Australia who were separated and had used our service or contacted us since the commencement of the pandemic.

We asked the simple initial question

“Was the Covid-19 Pandemic a factor in their separation”?

The Answer?

Almost 1 in 3 of these respondents confirmed it was a factor.

Of those people, just over 25% also stated it was the determining or a major factor in their separation.

This is a very large group of people – in other words from 2020 about 1 in 10 married couples who were separated, were impacted by the pandemic to the point of marriage break down.

Yes – 1 in 10 marriages. 

What important points did we uncover? 

 

The team at Your Divorce also wanted to determine whether the pandemic was a factor in applying for a divorce even if separation had occurred prior to the pandemic.

When we asked ‘was Covid-19 a factor in making the application for divorce?’

Over 10% of respondents agreed that it was 

Why was this the case?

Was it the extra time due to the lockdowns?

Extra funds due to the Government stimulus?

Or purely a matter of people wanting to take control of their lives?

20% said the extra time due to lockdowns was a factor and nearly 40% wanted to take control of their lives in an uncertain time. 

These responses, in real terms, represent a very large group of Australians and to a significant degree, explains the spike in divorce hearings completed in 2021. 

Can anything be done? 

 

A common thread of the survey responses was that general stress, and the fear of further lockdowns was significant in the decision to separate and/or apply for a Divorce.

We think this direct feedback should be considered by Government or health authorities managing a pandemic in the future. 

From our experience we can see that during uncertain times there is a greater importance for couples to strengthen the ability to communicate on areas of joint stress. 

Additionally, developing a network of friends or colleagues to share the elements of daily life is another crucial advantage to navigating hard times during a relationship. 

We now have new pressures caused by the pandemic like inflation, job uncertainty we think a further future survey may need to be undertaken to measure those impacts on ordinary Australians and its impact on their relationships.

In the meantime, at Your Divorce we are committed to supporting, with kindness and empathy, those whom we serve.

Whilst we always hope for the best for couples in a relationship, if you or someone you know is thinking of Divorce, Read our 7 ways to prepare for Divorce 

Your Divorce Staff

Geoff Ebert is a solicitor with over 30 years of legal experience who, with his team of 15 members, at Your Divorce have been at the forefront of the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on relationships.