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3310.0 - Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2009 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/12/2010   
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GLOSSARY

Age-specific rates

Age-specific rates give an indication of the proportion of people within a certain age group who married or were granted divorce in a calendar year.

  • Age-specific marriage rates are calculated as follows:
      • Per 1,000 population - this relates the number of marriages recorded in the calendar year for a particular age group (by age at marriage), to the estimated resident population of the same age at 30 June of the same year. Males and females aged under 16 years are excluded from the population as they are ineligible to marry under Australian legislation.
  • Age-specific divorce rates are calculated in for this publication using two separate methods:
      • Per 1,000 population - this relates the number of divorces recorded in the calendar year for a particular age group (by age at decree made absolute), to the estimated resident population of the same age at 30 June of the same year. Males and females under 16 years are excluded from the population as they are unlikely to be granted divorce due to legislative restrictions on age at which a person can marry.
      • Per 1,000 married population - this relates the number of divorces recorded in a calendar year for a particular age group (by age at decree made absolute) to the married population of the same age at 30 June. Population by marital status is only available from the Census of Population and Housing, conducted every five years and so divorces granted per married population can only be calculated for Census years.

Applicant for divorce

The applicant is the person applying for a divorce. Applications for divorce may be made by the husband or wife individually, or as a joint application.

Couples who lived together prior to marriage

Couples who lived together prior to marriage are those who identify their usual residence on the Notice of Intended Marriage as the same address. This may also be referred to as cohabitation.

Children in the divorce

Children in the divorce collection are defined as unmarried children of the marriage who were aged under 18 years at the time of application for divorce. Under the Family Law Act 1975 these may include adopted and exnuptial children and children from a former marriage. Children who are either married or aged 18 years or over are not subject to custody and guardianship orders and are therefore excluded.

Crude divorce and marriage rates

The crude marriage/divorce rate is the number of marriages/divorces granted during the calendar year per 1,000 estimated resident population at 30 June. In the interpretation of this rate, it must be kept in mind that a large and varying proportion of the population used in the denominator is below the minimum age of marriage or is already married/divorced.

Date of application for divorce

Date at which application for divorce was made.

Date of divorce

Date at which decree nisi is made absolute (final) and the marriage is dissolved.

Date of separation

The date of separation is the date, given on the application for divorce, from which the period of living apart is calculated for the purpose of establishing grounds for a divorce. In determining the date of separation, a single period of resumed cohabitation of less than three months may be ignored, provided the periods of living apart before and after resumed cohabitation amount to a total of 12 months or more.

Decree made absolute

Once the Court is satisfied that a twelve month separation period has passed and proper arrangements have been made for any children, it will grant a decree nisi.

The decree nisi automatically becomes absolute (final) one month later and is sent to the parties in the mail. Technically the parties are still married until the order becomes absolute, and they cannot remarry until then. This waiting period can be shortened in cases of urgency or hardship.

The court may rescind the decree nisi before it becomes absolute if the parties have become reconciled or if the court is satisfied that there has been a miscarriage of justice. Otherwise, the marriage is dissolved when the decree becomes absolute, and either party may marry again.

Estimated resident population (ERP)

The official measure of the population of Australia is based on the concept of residence. It refers to all people, regardless of nationality or citizenship, who usually live in Australia, with the exception of foreign diplomatic personnel and their families. It includes usual residents who are overseas for less than 12 months. It excludes overseas visitors who are in Australia for less than 12 months.

Length of marriage to divorce

Length of marriage to divorce is the interval measured in completed years between the date of marriage and the date of divorce.

Length of marriage to separation

Length of marriage to separation is the interval measured in completed years between the date of marriage and the date of separation.

Main English-speaking countries

This refers to the main countries from which Australia receives, or has received, significant numbers of overseas settlers who are likely to speak English. These countries comprise the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, and the United States of America. All other countries are classified as Non Main English-speaking countries.

Marital status

Marriage refers to registered marital status only. Registered marital status is a person's relationship status in terms of whether he or she has, or has had, a registered marriage with another person. Accordingly, people are classified as either 'never married', 'married', 'widowed' or 'divorced'.

Social marital status, which refers to relationship status of an individual with reference to another person who is resident in the household, is not included in this collection.

Marriage

Marriage refers to registered marriages only. Under the Australian Marriage Act 1961 (Commonwealth), a marriage may be celebrated by a minister of religion registered as an authorised celebrant, by a district registrar or by other persons authorised by the Attorney-General. Notice of the intended marriage must be given to the celebrant at least one calendar month but within eighteen calendar months before the marriage. There are circumstances when the parties may be granted permission to shorten the required time for notice to be given, see Subsection 42(5) of the Australian Marriage Act 1961 and Regulation 39 of the Marriage Regulations 1963 and schedule 1B to the Regulations. A celebrant must submit an official certificate of the marriage for registration in the state or territory in which the marriage took place within fourteen days.

Median value

For any distribution, the median value (e.g. age, length, interval) is that value which divides the relevant population into two equal parts, half falling below the value and half exceeding it. Where the value for a particular record has not been stated, that record is excluded from the calculation. Medians for grouped data (e.g. age in whole year age groups) are calculated as the value which divides the population into two equal parts, assuming that all observations within the group are evenly distributed across the range. This is applied using the following formula:

Equation: Median

Where:

L = lower limit of the interval containing the median

I = width of the interval containing the median

N = total number of respondents

F = cumulative frequency corresponding to the lower limit

f = number of cases in the interval containing the median

State or Territory data

State and Territory data refer to the State or Territory in which the marriage or divorce was registered rather than where the couple reside. See Explanatory Notes 33 to 40 for further information.

Year of registration

Data presented on year of registration basis relate to the date the marriage or divorce was registered with the relevant State or Territory Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.


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