Later divorces

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The family life course and health : partnership, fertility histories, and later-life physical health trajectories in Australia.

O'Flaherty M, Baxter J, Haynes M and Turrell G
Demography v. 53 no. 3 Jun 2016: 777-804
Research suggest that people's health in later-life reflects the occurrence and timing of social patterns over an individual's life, including the presence and timing of parenthood, marriage, and marital disruption. This articles builds on the research by investigating the impact family life-course trajectories on physical health, from ages 18 to 50, for men and women in Australia. Data is taken from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. The findings indicate that - for men - family-life journeys characterised by early family formation, no family formation, an early marital disruption, or high fertility are associated with poorer physical health. However, for women, only those who experienced both a disrupted marital history and a high level of fertility were found to be in poorer health.

Divorce timing and economic well-being

Spangler A
Bowling Green, OH : National Center for Family & Marriage Research, Bowling Green State University, 2016
The timing of divorce in the life course may have important economic implications for older adults. Prior research has shown that 'gray' divorce, which occurs after age 50, is associated with fewer financial resources compared with divorce that occurred at younger ages, at least among women. Using data from the 1992-2012 Health and Retirement Study (HRS), this paper compares younger, older, and multiple-divorce divorced people for three economic indicators: total assets, employment status, and homeownership.

The family life course and health: partnership and fertility histories and physical health trajectories in later life

O'Flaherty M, Baxter J, Haynes M and Turrell G
Indooroopilly, Qld. : Life Course Centre, Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland, 2015.
This paper adds to the research on how family life pathways are linked to physical health in later life. A new body of research has emerged which links the occurrence and timing of significant events such as marriage, divorce, and childbirth with health outcomes in later life, but many studies have investigated these partnership and fertility events independently. This paper uses a holistic classification of marital and fertility trajectories from ages 18-50 to predict later life physical health, using data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. The findings indicate that long-term family life course trajectories are strongly linked to later life health for men, but only minimally for women. For men, family trajectories characterised by early family formation, no family formation, an early marital disruption, or high fertility, are associated with poorer physical health. Among women, only those who experienced both a disrupted marital history and a high level of fertility were found to be in poorer health.

How do mature age Australians cope with difficult life events?

Menyen T
Melbourne : National Seniors Australia, 2015.
This study explores the various types of difficult life events experienced by older Australians and the coping strategies they used to deal with these events. Drawing on a survey of 1,923 adults aged 50 years or over, the study looks at the prevalence of life events such as bereavement, divorce, retirement, injury, and illness, the use of adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies, the use of religious or spiritual strategies, and receiving help and support from friends, family, and organisations. The study also investigated the experience of positive outcomes - or stress-related growth - from these otherwise difficult events. Results are compared by age, gender, marital status, education, and religious background.

Partnership dissolution: how does it affect income, employment and well-being?

Brewer M and Nandi A
Colchester, UK : Institute for Social and Economic Research, 2014.
"Incomes, employment patterns, housing, mental health and life satisfaction can all change markedly when couples split up, but there is considerable variation within the population. Using data from all 18 waves (1991-2008) of the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), an annual longitudinal survey that interviews every adult member of a nationally-representative sample of around 5,000 households, we assess comprehensively how these different domains change in the years following separation ... Our most important results are that children and their mothers see living standards fall by more, on average, after separation, than do fathers ... What is perhaps surprising is that the (proportionate) fall in living standards is far more acute for those from above-median couples than for those from below-median couples ... An even more striking finding, although one affecting fewer individuals, is the difference in post-separation living standards of men and women from couples whose children are no longer dependent: these women, who are mostly aged over 50 and tend to have been married, see living standards fall by far more, on average, after separation, than their former partners, and 30 percent of them fall into relative poverty after separation. On the other hand, this is the group that sees well-being rise (and mental distress fall) the most after separation."--Non technical summary.

Understanding single older women's invisibility in housing issues in Australia.

Darab S and Hartman Y
Housing, Theory and Society v. 30 no. 4: 348-367
This article explores the context of single older women in Australia who don't own their own homes. With a review if the literature, it discusses: home ownership in Australia, pathways into homelessness, current service provision, gender aspects of homelessness, women's traditional roles and unpaid work, the feminisation of poverty, and divorce. The article argues that women's traditional roles in society, their reluctance to seek assistance, and the existing neoliberal service provision environment are important factors that contribute to these women's invisibility, especially when both ageing and single status are taken into account.

Divorce and the wellbeing of older Australians.

Gray M, De Vaus D, Qu L and Stanton D
Ageing and Society v. 31 no. 3 Apr 2011: 475-498
This article examines the effects of divorce in later life on wellbeing. Using data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, it provides estimates on the impact of divorce on social connection and participation, perceived social support, satisfaction with life, and mental and physical health, for older Australians aged 55-74 years. The study finds that divorce has a long-lasting, negative impact on wellbeing that persists into later life for both men and women. However, the negative effects of divorce on wellbeing are largely confined to those who do not re-partner.

Trends and statistics : divorce and wellbeing in later life.

Caruana C
Family Relationships Quarterly no. 18 2011: 16-18
While there has been much research focus on the short-term effects of marital breakdown, less is known about the long-term impact of divorce on social, emotional and financial wellbeing. Are people who have had an earlier experience of divorce more likely to be unhappier, poorer, sicker and lonelier in later life? This article presents findings from a recent report published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, which examined data from the HILDA survey on people aged 55-74 years who were married or who had previously been married. The article presents comparisons on the effect of marriage, divorce, and remarriage on social support, life satisfaction, health, social contact, and finance, and discusses the implications for practice and policy.

Divorce and the wellbeing of older Australians

Gray M, De Vaus D, Qu L and Stanton D
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2010.
This paper provides estimates on the impact of divorce on selected dimensions of wellbeing in later life in Australia. Measures include: level of social interaction and connectedness, perceived social support, life satisfaction, and physical and mental health. Data is taken from Wave 5 of the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, collected in 2005, for older Australians aged 55-74 years. The paper shows that divorce has a long-lasting, negative impact on wellbeing and the effects appear to persist into later life for both men and women. However, the negative effects of divorce on wellbeing are largely confined to those who do not re-partner and remain single. An important difference between men and women is that for women who are divorced and single, negative effects of divorce are found for general health, vitality and mental health, while for men, there appear to be no effects of divorce on these health measures.

Family ties & aging

Connidis I
Los Angeles : Pine Forge Press, c2010.
"Providing an integrated and thorough representation of what we know from current research and contemporary society, Family Ties and Aging is the only book that shows how pressing issues of our time - an aging population, changing family structures, and new patterns of work-family balance - are negotiated in the family lives of middle-aged and older adults. Focusing on such key questions as "How do current trends and social arrangements affect family relationships?" and "What are the implications of what we know for future research, theory, practice, and policy?" author Ingrid Arnet Connidis explores groups and relationships that typically receive short shrift, including single, divorced, and childless older people and their family relationships, as well as sibling relationships among the elderly, live-in partnerships not formalized by marriage, and the kinds of family ties forged by gay and lesbian individuals over the life course. The second edition is thoroughly updated to include the latest research and theoretical developments, recent media coverage of related issues, and new information on intimate relationships in later life, gay and lesbian partnerships, sibling ties, and older neglect and abuse."

The financial consequences of divorce for later life.

De Vaus D, Gray M, Qu L and Stanton D
Kemp, Peter, ed. Smith, Lindsey, ed. Van den Bosch, Karel, ed. Social protection in an ageing world. Oxford, UK : Intersentia, 2008. International series on social security v. 13. 9789050958097: 257-278
Using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, this chapter investigates the financial consequences of divorce for older Australians aged 55 to 74 years. It examines the financial situation of older people, income and assets, the effects of remaining single after divorce compared with remarriage, and the effects on retirement income. As background, the chapter also discusses trends in divorce rates and the retirement income system in Australia. The study found that, on average, having been divorced had negative consequences for income in older age for both men and women. However, the negative financial impacts of divorce were substantially reduced by remarriage. Older divorced single Australians were much more likely to experience material hardships and to report having a lower level of prosperity than the married and never divorced, and thus were more reliant on the public pension.

The implications of loss of a partner for older private renters.

Dockery M
In: National Housing Conference, Sydney 2008. Melbourne, Vic: National Housing Conference, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, 2008, 22p, Online (Powerpoint Presentation in PDF format 404KB)
This presentation explores the impact of bereavement and separation on housing affordability and tenure in Australia. It outlines the impact of context of partner loss on income, wealth, household production, change of residence, home ownership, and economies of scale, and contrasts the effects of separation, divorce, and bereavement. The presentation focuses on older adults aged over 50, but includes statistics for other age groups.

The consequences of divorce for financial living standards in later life

De Vaus D, Gray M, Qu L and Stanton D
Melbourne : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2007.
There is very little empirical evidence in Australia on the financial consequences of divorce for older people. This report begins to fill this gap by providing some of the first estimates of the financial consequences of divorce for Australians aged 55 to 74 years. Using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, it was found that, on average, having been divorced had negative consequences for income in older age for both men and women. However, the negative financial impacts of divorce were substantially reduced by remarriage. Older divorced single Australians were much more likely to experience material hardships and to report having a lower level of prosperity than the married and never divorced. The divorced and single were more reliant on the public pension than those who had not divorced. This will have important implications for the financing of retirement incomes in Australia in coming decades and the extent to which the taxpayer will have to bear the costs of providing for retirement incomes.

Better the devil you know? Divorce after thirty years of marriage.

Forbes K
Curtis, B., ed. Matthewman, S., ed. McIntosh, T., ed. TASA & SAANZ Joint Conference 2007 : public sociologies - lessons and trans-Tasman comparisons : 4-7 December 2007, Auckland, New Zealand. Auckland, N.Z. : Dept. of Sociology, University of Auckland, 2007. 9782868691145: 8p
Divorce rates for marriages of thirty years or more duration have been increasing at a faster rate than overall divorce rates, which has at times generated interest in the New Zealand media but so far has not generated an academic discourse or a mandate for policy change. This paper will look at the theories behind marriage breakdown and how some of the influencing factors may operate differently within marriages of longer duration. These factors include legislation, age at marriage, labour force participation, financial security, life expectancy, and the presence of children. Finally, I will explore the impact of later life divorce for public policy and suggest some areas for further research.

Later life divorces.

Weston R
Threshold no. 91 Nov 2007 12-13
Australian statistics show a trend towards divorces later in life; in 1985, 15 per cent of divorcing husbands were aged 50 or older, but in 2005, 28 per cent were in this age group. There is also an increasing trend towards divorces involving couples who had been married for 25 years or more. This article summarises the five yearly statistics from 1985 to 2005, and discusses social and demographic reasons for the trends.

Sourcebook of family theory & research

Bengtson V
Thousand Oaks, Calif. : Sage, c2005.

Wealth holdings and portfolio allocation of older couples: the role of spouses' marital history.

Ulker A
Canberra, ACT : Centre for Economic Policy Research, Australian National University, 2004
This paper analyses the role of the elderly couples' past marital history in determining their current wealth holdings and portfolio allocation using data from the first wave of the Health and Retirement Study. The results suggest that, for those who remarry after divorce, there is recovery from the negative shocks of marital breakdowns, which occur earlier in the life cycle. While the net cost of divorce in terms of household wealth accumulation is higher for men than it is for women, in the 'long run' it turns out to be statistically insignificant for both gender groups. Therefore, the elderly couples' marital history plays a minor role in explaining the dispersion in their wealth holdings near the end of the life cycle. However, the results also show that both the probability of owning a particular asset and the fraction of net worth allocated to that asset might significantly vary depending on the elderly couples' marital experience. Most importantly, the couples in which the spouses have divorced before invest relatively heavily on non- housing assets rather than owner occupied housing. The further analysis of financial wealth only yields that the ownership and allocation of financial assets are not affected in a major significant way.

Marriage dissolution and health amongst the elderly: the role of social and economic resources

Hewitt B, Turrell G, Baxter J and Western M
Melbourne, Vic. : Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne, 2004
There is an increasing number of separated and divorced people at older ages. Australian Bureau of Statistics data show that between 1991 and 2001 the percentage of Australians aged 60 and over who are separated or divorced increased from 6.3% to 9.6%, and the number has risen from 165,000 to over 300,000. This change in the marital status composition of older Australians may have important implications for health and aged care spending because marital status has a strong association with health. Using data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, this paper examines the association between marital status and self reported general health in a population sample of Australian men and women aged 60 and over. The study finds an association between marital status and self reported general health, but only for women. Implications are briefly discussed.

Wealth holdings and portfolio allocation of older couples: the role of spouses' marital history

Ulker A
Canberra, A.C.T. : Australian National University, Centre for Economic Policy Research, 2004.

The marital mid-life crisis.

Brelsford A
Threshold no. 72 Autumn 2002 14-15
This article is part of a series in which a number of contributors examine some of the challenges facing couples in the second half of marriage. It is published as an aid to educators working with couples in long term relationships. The author discusses the topic of marital mid life crisis. Compared to those issues surrounding the newly married or cohabiting couple, there has not been much written in this area of marriage. However, given what is known about the incidence of later life divorce and separation, the author argues that it is worthy of more attention.

Financial aspects of the divorce transition in Australia: recent empirical findings.

Sheehan G
International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family v. 16 no. 1 Apr 2002 95-126
The Australian Divorce Transitions Project 1997 (ADTP) was a national random survey of 650 divorced Australians undertaken by the Australian Institute of Family Studies to improve understanding of how divorce can be made a functional transition for families in Australia, and to build on research on the economic consequences of marriage breakdown. This article presents an overview of recent empirical findings on the financial aspects of the divorce transition based on the ADTP, including how property is divided, living standards post separation and divorce, pathways out of poverty, and the relevance of spousal violence to post separation financial outcomes. The author concludes that over the past decade, little has changed in the way that the financial aspects of the divorce transition are effected. Findings regarding property division indicate that the current practice in dividing property is at odds with the disadvantaged financial circumstances of many divorced women post separation and divorce.

Impact of parental divorce on willingness of young adults to provide care for parents in the future.

Wells Y and Johnson T
Journal of Family Studies v. 7 no. 2 Oct 2001 160-170
While it is known that parental divorce disrupts feelings of attachment to noncustodial parents, less is known about the impacts of parental divorce on filial obligation to care for parents as they age. Young adults (89 women, 53 men) rated willingness to provide care if their mother or father were to experience a major disability in the future. Such willingness to care was higher among participants whose parents remained married than those whose parents had divorced or separated. Parental divorce/ separation reduced willingness to care for fathers. This difference was fully explained by reduced attachment to fathers. The best predictors of willingness to care included both sex and adherence to the traditional female gender role. Attachment to the parent added to willingness to care for that parent. Results highlight the importance of encouraging, wherever possible, continued attachment to the noncustodial parent among children whose parents separate or divorce.

Snapshots: marriage among seniors.

Evans M
Australian Social Monitor v. 3 no. 3 Mar 2001 89-90
Almost all older people have married, with the proportion of people married dropping after their middle 60s. This snapshot of marriage among older people looks at reasons for the decline in the percentage currently married, such as widowhood and divorce. The author also examines remarriage following late spouse loss.

Consequences of divorce.

Bond S and Hughes P
Pointers: Bulletin of the Christian Research Association v. 10 no. 3 Sep 2000 13-15
Currently, two out of every five marriages end in divorce. The costs for those involved, for children and society at large, are huge. While it is important to strengthen family life and decrease the rate of divorce, it is also important to assist those affected by divorce in making smooth transitions to other forms of family life. To this end the Australian Institute of Family Studies has undertaken the Australian Divorce Transitions Project. The project involved interviews with 650 divorced Australians in 1997. One group was chosen because they had children under 18 years of age. Another group was chosen because they had divorced after having been married for more than 15 years, so that the Institute could study the impact of divorce on people who had had a long period of marriage. This article discusses some of the results of the project including the economic consequences of divorce, repartnering and the effect on older children.

Australian demographic statistics: December quarter 1998.

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Canberra, ACT : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1999
This publication contains estimates of resident populations for the States, Territories and Australia based on the final results of the 1996 Census of Population and Housing. The publication also contains estimates of the number of households by household size as well as the latest available statistics of births, deaths (including infant deaths), marriages, divorces and overseas and interstate migration. In addition, the publication includes estimates of the resident population by age, marital status and country of birth as well as experimental estimates and projections of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. Also included are two special articles: Average household size; and Population growth - hanging in the balance.

Australian demographic statistics: June quarter 1998.

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Canberra, ACT : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1998
This publication contains estimates of resident populations for the States, Territories and Australia based on the final results of the 1996 Census of Population and Housing. The publication also contains estimates of the number of households by household size as well as the latest available statistics of births, deaths (including infant deaths), marriages, divorces and overseas and interstate migration. In addition, the publication includes estimates of the resident population by age, marital status and country of birth as well as experimental estimates and projections of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. Also included are two feature articles, one on the indigenous population and one on older persons.

Divorce and family relations in later life.

Millward C
Family Matters no. 48 Spring/Summer 1997: 30-33
Parental divorce or separation can modify family networks, thus affecting the levels of intergenerational support available to people as they grow older. Overseas research has found that being divorced or separated decreases levels of contact and exchange between older parents and adult children, and leads to poorer parent - child relationships. In this article the author examines the effect of parental divorce and separation on the nature of intergenerational relations between older Australian parents and their adult children. At issue is whether or not public policies based upon assumptions of private support from adult children to older parents are ill founded where the parents have experienced divorce.

Ageing.

De Vaus D
De Vaus, D A, ed. Wolcott, Ilene, ed. Australian family profiles : social and demographic patterns. Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 1997. 0642264368: 72-79
Policy makers and governments express concern about the anticipated costs to government of supporting and caring for an ageing population. However, families (both children and partners) are key sources of care and support, and the image of families simply abandoning older people to be supported by governments is highly misleading. This chapter examines the life situations of older people: their marital status, including those widowed, divorced and never married; their living arrangements; and the attitudes of Australians towards the perceived responsibility of family members to provide support for older family members.

Chinese family values in Australia.

Mak A and Chan H
Hartley, Robyn, ed. Families and cultural diversity in Australia. St Leonards, NSW : Allen and Unwin in assoc. with the Australian Institute of Family Studies, 1995. 1863738967: 70-95
The authors describe the cultural aspects which underlie Chinese family organisation and life both in their countries of origin and in Australia. Issues addressed include family structure, the importance of the family, respect and filial piety, harmony, achieving security and prosperity, marriage, intermarriage, sex roles, and divorce and remarriage. Child birth and child rearing practices are described including reproductive and post-partum practices, the growth and development of children and culture and language maintenance. The academic achievements of Chinese-Australian adolescents are discussed as well as their cultural identity and life satisfaction. Findings from a study of fourteen Chinese-Australian families from Hong Kong about their family values are discussed. The adaptation and family life of elderly Chinese-Australians is considered. The authors explain that important issues facing Chinese families in Australia are: adequate care and services for the elderly, the cultural identity of children and adolescents, the impact of the recession on recent immigrants, problems faced by scattered or split families and the provision of culturally appropriate mental health services.

Family change and marital status in later life.

Rowland D
Australian Journal on Ageing v. 13 no. 4 Nov 1994 168-171
This paper discusses the marital status of the aged in the context of changes in the family, especially trends in marriage and divorce. Marital status is an indicator of family resources for care and support: decreases in the proportions married particularly denote diminished access to such resources. Although the decline in the prevalence of marriage has been most marked among younger generations, the composition of the older population is changing as birth cohorts with disrupted marital histories advance into later life. The author examines the past and future marital status of cohorts of the aged using observed data and information from a new method of projecting marital status. The analysis shows that although past changes have mainly indicated an improvement in family resources, Australia is on the threshold of a decline in such resources as higher proportions experience family breakdown and live their later years without spouses, the main carers and supporters of the aged.
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