In all divorce situations, there are undoubtedly many victims depending, of course, on the size and maturity of the marriage when the divorce takes place and the financial security that surrounded the old family unit.
The no-fault divorce legislation that became law in 1975 is still in force today. It was aimed at allowing spouses who were deeply unhappy to file for divorce and escape from a marriage that they resented. It was passed because the time was right to give marriage partners a say in their marriage if it was no longer benefiting those involved.
Before this legislation was the law, it was essential for a spouse, to be granted a divorce, to be able to provide evidence that the offending spouse had been responsible for serious misconduct. If the fault could not be proven, then divorce would not be permitted. This was a difficult situation for spouses who were too afraid to file for divorce for fear of failing or because they might be intimidated, particularly if they were living in the same area as the divorced partner. There was also the fear of being ostracised by the extended family for breaking marriage vows.
The ‘no-fault divorce’ legislation brought a sense of relief to spouses who were living in marriages that bring more grief than happiness. It wasn’t aimed at opening the floodgates for unhappy spouses to dump their partners and children and flee the state. No spouse, whether male or female, will give up a marriage just because the law makes it easy. Most husbands and wives bond through love, not force, expecting the union to last for the remainder of their lives. A spouse filing for a ‘no-fault’ divorce will in most cases see the breakdown of his or her marriage as irretrievable with no possible reconciliation in sight.
In any marriage breakup, all the parts that have made up the unit are victims. It is not the question of one spouse moving out, there are also children to consider, joint possessions to divide and bank accounts to be sorted out. That also includes digital data that has been stored linking the two marriage partners. No one wants to be a victim or create a victim, but sometimes it has to be done so that unhappy family can get on and try to improve life for themselves while they have time left.
Fortunately, in Australia, there are many organisations that advise and help spouses sort out irreconcilable marriages, and the Family Court ensures that the children come first and suitable arrangements are made to care for the children if a ‘no-fault’ divorce has taken place. This includes fairly apportioning child and spousal support. If there is a need to go to court, then legal aid is available to ensure that a family lawyer will represent the stakeholders.
Our Principal Solicitor at CM Lawyers, Ms Christine Manolakos has been involved in Family Law Matters for over fifteen (15) years.