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Removing Conflict from Divorce

A recent study from Australia has highlighted that the stereotype of divorces being lengthy and hostile disputes is often not realistic and that many divorcing couples actually adopt a pragmatic approach to resolving property settlements.

The study, by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS), looked at 9,000 separated parents across Australia, and found that generally, separating couples do not have large amounts of money to divide and mostly sort things out themselves fairly quickly, avoiding lengthy fights over property.

According to AIFS Senior Research Fellow, Dr Rae Kaspiew, over half of the couples studied managed to finalise their property division within a year, although this took longer in cases where there were more assets to divide.

The average value of assets to be divided was $261,000, Dr Kaspiew explained, and married couples had generally accumulated more assets, compared to those cohabiting. Just over a third of those separating after marriage had assets of more than $300,000. By contrast, a quarter of people separating after cohabitation had no assets, with just under a third reporting assets of less than $40,000.

Researchers said that this difference may partly be explained by the fact that people divorcing tended to have lived together for longer and to have come from higher socio-economic backgrounds.

The study also found that in terms of perceived fairness, the majority of both men and women judged their settlement to be fair.

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