Till death do us part is losing its meaning among wedded West Australians.

Bureau of Statistics figures show divorce rates across the country are falling but rising in WA. Since 2010, the total number of divorces in every other State and Territory has fallen.

In Tasmania, the number of divorces has fallen more than 22 per cent. In WA, divorce numbers have climbed almost 10 per cent, with 5268 couples ending their marriages last year. In 2010 there were 4835.

Rather than a seven-year itch, in WA most marriages last 8.6 years before couples separate. The median length of marriage before divorce is 12.6 years.

The shortest marriages are in NSW, where the median period between the wedding and separation is 7.6 years.

It takes another 3½ years before divorce is formalised.

Last year there were almost 119,000 marriages across the country, the smallest number since at least 2007.

In WA, there were 12,886 nuptials, a slight fall on the 2012 result. Most of those weddings, however, were not in a church.

A record 76.9 per cent of all weddings in the State were civil ceremonies. Over the past two decades, the proportion of all marriage ceremonies conducted by a religious minister in WA has fallen 20 per cent.

West Australian men are likely to be about 32 years old when they first marry, while their brides are likely to be about 29.

And November and March continue to be the most popular months for tying the knot.

Celebrant Liz Hayes said civil ceremonies could be low-key or formal and take as little as three minutes or more than an hour.

“Some couples prefer the convenience and flexibility of the ceremonies but for others it’s because they are not religious and prefer a more intimate environment of their choosing, ” she said.

After tying the knot in Bali, Kerrie and Wayne Heal made it official in Australia when they were married in a Kings Park cafe.

Family and friends witnessed the event as the nervous and teary bride and groom, both 50, exchanged their wedding vows.

The South Yunderup couple, who have been married before, had already celebrated in Indonesia with family and friends and preferred a “convenient and easy” civil ceremony in Perth.

Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm recently introduced into the Senate a Bill to enable same-sex marriage.


Civil vs Church ceremonies

1994: 53.40% 46.60%

1998: 57.40% 42.60%

2002: 60.40% 39.60%

2008: 69% 31%

2009: 70.90% 29.10%

2010: 72.80% 26.80%

2011: 74% 26%

2012: 76.10% 23.90%

2013: 76.90% 23.10%


© The West Australian