Relationship breakdown

Our research expertise

Over the last century many significant changes have occurred in the ways relationship are formed and dissolved. Marriages are occurring at later ages while living together has become increasingly common. The concept of relationship breakdown is also broader than separation and divorce;  it may be a process that can be gradual or abrupt or occur well in advance of any separation.  The pathways that couples take are diverse: they may have trial separations, or trial reconciliations before or after separation, and reconciliation may 'work' for a time or permanently.  Given the rise in couples living together outside of marriage, divorce statistics are no longer adequate approximations of separation statistics.  Key focus areas of the Institute's research on relationship breakdown include:

  • separation and divorce
  • post separation parenting
  • child support
  • service pathways for separated families
  • relationship dissolution and re-partnering.

Current projects

Family Trends and Transitions
This project analyses information on broad trends in the patterns of leaving home, couple and family formation, family stability, and relationship dissolution and re-formation.


Lixia Qu
Senior Research Fellow

Rachel Carson
Research Fellow

Rae Kaspiew
Senior Research Fellow, Family Law

More information

AIFS news

Get the latest news about our publications, research and upcoming events.