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In Australia, the number of divorce applications received by the Family Court has hit its highest point recently following the de-escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the 2021 financial year, 56,244 divorces were granted, marking a 15.8% increase from the pre-pandemic numbers of 2019.

Is this rise due to the conditions imposed by the various quarantine periods that did not allow for any absence for the heart to grow fonder? Has the new cost of living crisis introduced a new unprecedented stress on modern marriages? Or is it a combination of multiple factors?

Historically, divorce rates have seen an increase during financials crises and recessions. For example, following the 2008 recession, Australia saw 49,448 divorces granted, compared to 47,409 the previous year. With the cost of necessities on the rise with no sign of slowing down any time soon, couples are feeling the pressure of their daily living costs rapidly catching up to and exceeding their earning capacity. These factors, grouped with the increase in divorces and the massive housing shortage in Australia, has led to a 34% increase in couples who are separated but are living under the same roof.

Although, this may seem like a burden at first, you must remember, it isn’t forever and there are ways to live amicably under the same roof while you each search for other housing options. Relationships Australia NSW CEO, Elisabeth Shaw, gave the following tips to the Sydney Morning Herald:

  1. Agree to a time frame to move out.
  2. Actively engage in activities that will help you to move out (e.g. looking at properties, visiting the bank).
  3. Set clear rules and boundaries for while you are living together.
  4. Discuss whether or not you should see other people while you are still living together.

Although the thought of divorce can conjure thoughts of heartbreak and despair in the minds of some, many that have been through this process find they are happier by the end.

As public opinion towards divorce shifts in a more positive direction, feelings of embarrassment and judgement are beginning to disappear and are replaced by a sense of opportunity and freedom.

Societies greater appreciation for the importance of mental health and healthy relationships, means that instead of “staying for the kids”, many couples are opting not to expose them to a toxic relationship and instead use the process as an opportunity to teach children valuable lessons about how a relationship should work.

Lynn and Brown Lawyers encourage anyone who has questions regarding the process of applying for a divorce to get in touch with one of our experienced family lawyers. You can contact us at www.lynnandbrown.com.au or by calling 9375 3411.

About the Authors: This article was co-authored by Sam Richardson and Jacqueline Brown. Jacqui is a Perth lawyer and director at Lynn & Brown Lawyers. Jacqui has over 20 years’ experience in legal practice and practices in family law, mediation and estate planning. Jacqui is also a Nationally Accredited Mediator and a Notary Public.

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