The sign divorce rates are set to soar as Covid restrictions are unwound

The sign divorce rates are set to soar as Covid


The ONE sign divorce rates are set to ‘explode’ as Covid restrictions are unwound and why this will be a ticking time bomb for years to come

  • Separation Guide data showing a 90 per cent surge in legal advice requests
  • Chief executive Angela Harbinson said Family Court said to be inundated 
  • The official data showed only a 1.9 per cent increase between 2019 and 2020 
  • Ms Harbinson said these figures reflected couples starting separation pre-Covid 










Divorce rates are set to ‘explode’ as Covid restrictions are unwound with requests for legal advice soaring.

Many estranged couples have delayed their formal separation proceedings as courtrooms were closed during the lockdowns.

In 2020, the divorce rate rose by just 1.9 per per cent compared with 2019, with 49,510 of them last year granted, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed this week.

The per capita divorce rate, for every 1,000 people, stood at 1.9 per cent, a level well below the 2.9 per cent level of 2001, with the number steadily declining during the past two decades.

Divorce rates are set to 'explode' as Covid restrictions are unwound with requests for legal advice soaring. Many estranged couples have delayed their formal separation proceedings as courtrooms were closed during the lockdowns (pictured is a stock image)

Divorce rates are set to ‘explode’ as Covid restrictions are unwound with requests for legal advice soaring. Many estranged couples have delayed their formal separation proceedings as courtrooms were closed during the lockdowns (pictured is a stock image)

But the Separation Guide, which helps warring couples navigate a divorce, said its own data showed a 90 per cent surge in requests for legal advice in 2021, when residents of Sydney and Melbourne lived through strict, lengthy lockdowns.

Chief executive Angela Harbinson said the Family Court was likely to be inundated with divorce cases, which can take anywhere from 12 weeks to seven years to finalise, depending on how complex the assets are.

‘Given divorce can sometimes take over five years, we’re worried that the repercussions of the pandemic on the Family Court will be felt for a long time to come,’ she said.

Ms Harbinson said the official government data reflected couples who had started their separation and divorce proceedings before the pandemic began.

‘Unfortunately, it’s just not reflective of what’s happening right now,’ she said.

‘If the increase in enquiry we’ve seen converts to a similar increase in couples seeking a divorce, there will be a real bottleneck in a Family Court system already under pressure, and possibly about to explode.’

In 2020, the divorce rate rose by just 1.9 per per cent compared with 2019, with 49,510 of them last year granted, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed this week. But the Separation Guide, which helps warring couples navigate a divorce, said its own data showed a 90 per cent surge in requests for legal advice in 2021, when residents of Sydney and Melbourne lived through strict, lengthy lockdowns

In 2020, the divorce rate rose by just 1.9 per per cent compared with 2019, with 49,510 of them last year granted, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed this week. But the Separation Guide, which helps warring couples navigate a divorce, said its own data showed a 90 per cent surge in requests for legal advice in 2021, when residents of Sydney and Melbourne lived through strict, lengthy lockdowns

The Australian Bureau of Statistics admitted its own data needed to be treated cautiously, adding ‘any breakdown of marriages during the COVID-19 pandemic, may not be reflected in changes to the divorce rate for some years’.

Chief executive Angela Harbinson said the Family Court was likely to be inundated with divorce cases, which can take anywhere from 12 weeks to seven years to finalise, depending on how complex the assets are

Chief executive Angela Harbinson said the Family Court was likely to be inundated with divorce cases, which can take anywhere from 12 weeks to seven years to finalise, depending on how complex the assets are

The more immediate effect of lockdowns was on marriages, with the number plunging by 30.6 per cent in 2020 – the biggest annual drop since records began in 1901.

The caps on the number of wedding guests – with New South Wales having a 10-person limit – did more to deter nuptials than World War II or the Great Depression. 

The 78,989 tally of those tying the knot was the lowest since 1961, when 76,686 weddings took place back when Australia was home to 10.5 million people instead of 25.7 million.

Saturday, October 10 was the most common date for a wedding, followed by other Saturdays including February 22, March 14, March 7 and surprisingly February 29 which only occurs once every four years during a leap year.



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