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Marriage Counselling and Divorce: An Australian Perspective

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Divorce is a painful experience that impacts every level of society, no matter where you live. In Australia, the divorce rate has been rising over the last few decades – officially reaching just under 45% in 2018. Understanding why marriages take this unfortunate direction can help us better understand underlying causes and find ways to support couples considering it.

Marriage counselling as an option for those experiencing conflict within their relationship is often ignored or dismissed too quickly as ineffective at resolving marriage issues. However, evidence supports marriage counselling as a viable way to potentially salvage relationships and reduce stress amongst divorcing couples if further discussions don’t lead anywhere else.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss what research studies have revealed about Australian couples regarding utilizing marriage counsellors and planning for a potential divorce. 

Together we’ll explore the different approaches people utilize when facing struggles within their relationships so that everyone will feel more empowered and supported if they encounter these same challenges!

Marriage Counseling and the Federal Divorce Law in Australia

As mentioned, Australia’s divorce rate is at an all-time high. In 2018 it reached 44.8%, up from 42.7% just two years prior. This alarming figure has led many to question why so many marriages are ending and what can be done to try and prevent them from taking this unfortunate turn. One potential solution is marriage counselling – a professional service that allows couples to receive guidance and advice from therapy professionals.

The Federal Divorce Law in Australia does not place any particular emphasis on marriage counselling as an option for those considering divorce, although some mentions are made of it within the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). The core provisions this act covers relate mainly to the requirements of getting a divorce, including matters like child support and property settlement.

The Family Law Act does, however, state that if requested by either party in a marriage breakdown situation, the Court must order professional counselling to be provided to both parties before any final orders are made about the divorce. This is one way that marriage counselling can assist during this difficult time.

At its core, marriage counselling allows couples to receive guidance and advice on working together to resolve their conflicts to find a positive outcome for both parties. It empowers couples to take control of their situation and develop strategies for improving their communication and understanding – which may ultimately lead to reconciliation rather than divorce.

Ultimately, it is up to each couple to decide whether marriage counselling suits them. As the divorce rate in Australia continues to rise, however, it is certainly worth considering as an alternative approach before proceeding with legal action. That way, couples can be sure they are doing all they can to try and save their relationship before taking any drastic measures.

Role of Government in the Provision of Counselling Services

The Federal Government is responsible for counselling couples in Australia, as mentioned in the Family Law Act. 

Several government initiatives support marriage counselling by providing funding and other resources for counselling services nationwide. These include programs such as the Relationships Australia Counselling Program (RACP), which provides free or low-cost counselling to those who cannot afford private services.

In addition, the Australian Government also funds various other family and relationship support programs, such as Centrelink’s Family Relationship Services program, which assists with legal advice and dispute resolution. 

All these programs come together to form a comprehensive network of support available to those facing divorce or separation in Australia – helping them find the advice and assistance they need to make the best decision for their future.

Role of Marriage Counselling Agencies

Marriage counselling agencies can provide vital support to couples struggling with their relationship. These organizations are staffed by professionals who have studied and trained in marriage counselling, providing them with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively assist clients in navigating difficult times.

These organizations offer many services, including pre-marriage and post-divorce counselling and advice related to parenting issues, financial concerns, communication difficulties, etc. They also run special programs for children impacted by family breakdown or divorce – helping them adjust to the changes more easily.

Common Reasons for Seeking Marriage Counselling in Australia

For many couples in Australia, marriage counselling can be the first step towards improving their relationship and restoring balance. It is a proactive approach to managing conflict and resolving issues before they become too difficult. Here are five of the most common reasons why couples seek marriage counselling:

Communication Issues

Poor communication is one of the biggest causes of strain in marriages, leading to misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and arguments. Marriage counselling can help couples learn how to communicate better with each other by teaching them effective listening skills and providing strategies for expressing themselves clearly without making assumptions.

It can also help couples identify and discuss the underlying issues in their relationship, such as trust issues, emotional disconnection, or unresolved past hurts. This dialogue is essential to restoring harmony and intimacy to marriage – something that can only be achieved with good communication skills.

Marriage counselling allows couples to practice these new techniques under the guidance of an experienced professional. Through role-play activities and exercises, couples can learn how to manage disagreements healthily and create a safe space for each other to express their feelings openly without fear of criticism or judgment.

Financial Problems

Financial difficulties can cause serious stress within a marriage, eventually leading to divorce if it isn’t managed properly. A counsellor can advise and guide you on managing finances more effectively, including budgeting and debt repayment tips.

Stressful Life Events

Life can be unpredictable, and stressful events such as job loss or illness can create tension between partners. Marriage counselling allows couples to discuss these issues non-judgmentally, helping them find the best solutions.


Infidelity is one of Australia’s most common causes of marriage breakdown, but it doesn’t have to spell the end of a relationship. With the help of a counsellor, couples can learn how to rebuild trust and heal from the pain caused by infidelity.

Lack of Intimacy

Diminished levels of intimacy in a relationship can lead to feelings of loneliness and alienation. Marriage counsellors can advise couples on how to reignite the spark between them and teach them how to reconnect emotionally.

This can include discussing how to communicate better, learning to be more affectionate, and understanding each other’s needs. Counselling sessions can also help couples identify any underlying issues that may have caused the lack of intimacy in the first place.

Alternatives to Traditional Marriage Counselling Services

Several options are available for those seeking alternatives to traditional marriage counselling services. For instance, online therapy can provide couples with the same support as an in-person appointment but from the comfort of their home.

Through this approach, couples can access confidential counselling sessions via Skype or other video conferencing platforms at times that best suit them – allowing them to fit it into their busy schedules more easily.

Other effective marriage counselling methods include guided self-help books and audio programs offering step-by-step advice on addressing common communication and intimacy problems. These resources also provide exercises designed to help build strong partnerships through enhanced understanding and empathy for each other’s feelings.

Couples can also find help through religious organizations or online forums where people who have gone through similar experiences share their stories and provide advice on resolving conflicts. These communities often support those in need, helping them feel less alone and more empowered in difficult situations.


How can marriage counselling help couples considering divorce?

Marriage counselling offers a safe and supportive space for couples to discuss their marital issues in a non-judgmental environment. It can provide insight into what is causing the relationship problems, help spouses identify underlying feelings and motivations, and open up communication channels that may have been blocked due to stress or lack of understanding. 

What are some signs that suggest a couple should consider divorcing?

Every family is different; however, paying special attention to the signs suggesting your marriage may be in trouble is important. These include reduced communication and intimacy between spouses; increased arguments or tension; one partner feeling neglected or underappreciated; or a lack of trust or respect in the relationship. These can indicate that divorce might be necessary if the issues cannot be addressed and resolved through counselling or other support systems.

What advice would you give couples who are considering divorce?

While no two families’ situation is the same, some common pieces of advice could prove helpful for couples facing this difficult decision. Firstly, remaining honest with yourself and your partner about your feelings regarding the marriage is important. Secondly, seeking professional help to explore options and understand the underlying issues is wise. Lastly, take time for yourself and your needs during this process, as maintaining good mental health is essential in making any major life decisions.

What resources are available to couples in Australia considering divorce?

A range of government and non-government services are available for couples facing the difficult divorce decision. These include marriage counselling sessions, legal advice, and support groups. Additionally, online resources such as websites from Family Relationship Centres provide helpful information on navigating this process. Finding the right support is essential, and access to these resources can be incredibly beneficial.

How can we help couples considering divorce?

One of the most important things for couples facing this difficult decision is to have a supportive network of family and friends around them. Offering emotional support, listening to their concerns without judgment, and providing helpful resources are ways to show your care and understanding. Additionally, consider offering practical assistance such as babysitting or meal preparation. Knowing that they have someone they can lean on during this time can be invaluable.


Divorce is a painful experience that affects all members of society, and the Australian divorce rate has been steadily increasing in recent years. While it cannot always be avoided, marriage counselling or other forms of support can often help couples address underlying issues within their relationship before making this difficult decision. It is also important for those considering divorce to have access to the resources they need, such as legal advice and appropriate emotional support. Finally, family and friends can provide invaluable support by offering practical assistance and non-judgmental listening during this time.

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