30 vs 50 – it is in the numbers or in the air?

What is it about Women in their 30’s and Men in their 50’s? By Barry Berger

I have again been looking at the statistics about marriages and divorces up to end 2021 published by The Australian Bureau of Statistics late last year.

Apart from the most obvious results that came out of the 2-year COVID time, (namely lower marriages by nearly 20%, and slightly fewer divorces), there are some other observations that are interesting.

Statistics are not necessarily useful!!!!

The Bureau does suggest caution in reaching conclusions as the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia made administrative changes to increase finalisations and reduce timeframes in the last couple of years..

In any case, 2021 saw more divorces than at any time in the last 10years.

Interestingly, the statistics show that most marriages lasted 8.4 years to separation (not much change over the last 10 years) and just over 12 years to Divorce, so just under 4 years between separation and divorce.

And now we come to the “age-specific divorce rate”.

Then in the year 2021 (the most recent one for which statistics are available) between the age-ranges of 16-24 and 35-39 women are more representative than men; then it is neck-and-neck in the 40-44 y.o category; and thereafter the men who apply for divorce outnumber the women, and significantly so between the ages of 50 and 65 and over.

So, are there any generalisations or learnings that come from these figures?

Are women more dissatisfied in the early years of marriage, and men leave the marriage after they hit “middle-age”?

Unfortunately, there is not sufficient data to draw conclusions, however, there are many reasons or factors which affect the decision to separate. And even if it was possible to identify some of the reasons, 2021 was the first post COVID year, so it could be said that it is perhaps an “aberration year”.

Our social make-up is so complex and rich in possibilities that to base any conclusions or learnings by looking at the mere numbers leads to conjecture.

What is clear is that – wait for it – men and women are different!!!!!

Just as people get together for a multitude of reasons (resulting in marriage or in de facto relationships) their situations are different in each matter, and they also split up for many varied and remarkable reasons. There is so much that can be said and written about what these statistics mean, but I suggest that there is little value in doing that.

What is more important is to know that there are many professionals who know how to assist people going through “separation and divorce”, and a few who understand that the important thing is to help them move towards a better time in their lives.


Barry Berger
Effective Dispute Resolution