Financial aspects of the divorce transition in Australia: Recent empirical findings
In this article, an overview of recent empirical findings on the financial aspects of the divorce transition is provided. The findings are drawn from the Australian Divorce Transitions Project - a national random survey of 650 divorced Australians, conducted in late 1997 by the Australian Institute of Family Studies. The overview presents key findings on how property is divided (including the treatment of superannuation and spousal maintenance), living standards post-separation and divorce and pathways out of poverty such as family reformation, and the relevance of spousal violence to post-separation financial outcomes (including property division, living standards and work history). The data suggest that little has changed over the past decade in the way the financial aspects of the divorce transition are effected. The way women and men divide their property on divorce primarily reflects the financial contributions made to the marriage, and concern for the future welfare of the children. The future financial needs of a former spouse are overlooked by parties when allocating property and financial resources - a shortfall that, in part, reflects the constraints imposed by the limited asset wealth available to a large minority of couples on separation. This shortfall is, however, inappropriate given the significant and enduring financial hardship experienced post-separation and divorce by sole mothers, older women living alone, and women who have experienced spousal violence.
International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family
This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Int J Law Policy Family 2002 16: 95-126 is available online at: http://lawfam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/16/1/95