Over the past several years anecdotal experience in the our family law practice has had some at Nyst Legal raising their eyebrows about the number of more mature couples lining up for the divorce, often after striking up new relationships over the Internet. Now it’s official, with statistics showing that there is a growing in divorces involving couples in the over-55 age bracket. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures now show that the divorce rate is up 2% since 2011, with 49,917 Australian’s splitting in 2012, and experts are laying the cause partly at the feet of the explosion in social networking sites. Sounds like some people may be fudging their online profiles way too much.

Nyst Legal has put down a few facts and figures that are worth a look:

Divorce rate data

The 123,244 marriages registered in 2012 represented an increase of 1,492 (1.2%) from the 121,752 marriages registered in Australia in 2011. However, the numbers of divorces seem to be increasing faster. Latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures reveal divorce rates are on the rise, up two per cent since 2011, with a total of 49,917 Australians – including 11,317 Queenslanders – splitting from their partners in 2012. Therefore, these results confirm that Queensland had the highest crude divorce rate of 2.5 divorces per 1,000 estimated resident population.

Even closer to home, for the time being at least, the Gold Coast seems assured of retaining the unique distinction of being the divorce capital of Australia.

Social Media effect

More than a billion people actively use Facebook every month and Twitter has more than 550 million active users, making these kinds of sites an intriguing new frontier for relationship researchers. A 2011 survey found that Facebook was cited in as many as a third of divorce filings, often mentioning inappropriate messages to other friends or mean posts and comments. And in a study published in 2010, more than 80 per cent of attorneys surveyed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers said that they had noticed a rise in the use of social networking evidence in divorce trials over the previous five years. Increasingly, studies are starting to link social media activity with negative romantic consequences. Therefore, social media is making “It’s Complicated” more than just a status update.

Divorce Fees

The lodging fee for divorces is now $800 — which is a significant deterrent to people actually applying for divorces now. Which, is why, we have probably seen over the last 20 years, the proportion of joint applications for divorce increasing, while the proportion of applications by a one applicant have decreased.

Chris Nyst – Gold Coast Lawyer, Novelist and Film Maker