Divorce is often a difficult subject to talk about. If you’ve recently separated from your spouse, you’re thinking of getting a divorce, or you’ve just been asked for a divorce, then chances are that you’re feeling emotionally exhausted and most likely somewhat overwhelmed right now.
Even if you’re not overly shocked by the breakdown of your relationship or your spouse’s request for a divroce, hearing them say the words can be confronting. On top of this, the divorce (and separation) process can still cause a lot of confusion and can leave you unsure of what you need to and should do next.
To help guide you through this difficult time, we’ve put together some tips and information about what you should do if divorce may be on the cards.
First, let’s take a deeper look at some statistics about divorce.
How common is divorce in Australia?
While most people don’t enter into a marriage anticipating that it is going to end in the future, divorce might be a lot more common than you realise.
In 2019, there were 49,116 divorces that were granted in Australia, which equates to a crude divorce rate (the number of divorces per 1,000 Australian residents) of 1.9. This is one of the lowest divorce rates of the last 50 years, however the marriage rate has also declined, with only 113,815 marriages registered in 2019.
It is believed that the pandemic and recession may be causes of a potential rise in separations and divorces in the coming years. The Separation Guide recorded statistics of a 314% increase in the number of couples thinking about separation during lockdown in 2021.
Though divorce may be somewhat common, if it becomes a topic of conversation in your relationship, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your relationship will result in divorce. For some people, this might be a way to start talking about problems in the marriage.
Why do couples get divorced?
There are many different reasons as to why a marriage may end in divorce. The Australian Institute of Family Studies categorises the common reasons for divorce as being either affective reasons, abusive behaviours or external pressures. These are defined below as:
Affective Reasons – these are reasons that have more of an emotional basis – such as difficulties in communicating effectively and incompatibility with one another. These sorts of issues can lead to infidelity, which is also a common reason for divorce.
Abusive Behaviours – these include behavioural issues, where one spouse may impact the mental and/or physical well-being of the other spouse or family members including children, through certain behaviours. This can include physical, verbal and emotional abuse, as well as substance abuse (alcohol and drugs).
External Pressures – these are factors that are outside the personal relationship between the spouses that could put pressure on and impact their relationship. Some of these factors include work, physical and/or mental health, family and in-laws, and financial stress.
For many couples, there isn’t one clear-cut reason for their divorce, rather it’s as a result of a combination of some of these factors we have mentioned above, as well as potentially many other reasons.
What should I do if my partner has asked me for a divorce?
If your spouse has asked you for a divorce, you’re most likely going to be feeling a wide range of emotions. Any discussion around divorce can be deeply upsetting, even if you’ve anticipated this topic coming up or if you think it’s the right thing to do. While it may be difficult, it’s important to stay calm and act rationally.
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