No Fault Divorce Law in Australia
Unlike Australia, Japan has only recently announced that an amendment to the divorce law had been passed in the Japanese upper house so that divorced women no longer had to wait at least six months before being allowed to remarry, bringing them in line with men, who did not have to wait a single day.
Divorce Law in Australia
Years ago, Australian Women, and women of other countries where the British Common Law applies, fought long and hard for equal treatment under Divorce law.
The doctrine of coverture meant that a married woman had no property of her own, and on separation all property by law belonged to the husband. The wife only had some limited rights to maintenance for herself and her children, however if she had initiated the separation or was found to be “unfaithful” then even those rights were at risk.
Accordingly, if a woman was found to be “at fault” with regards to the end of the marriage she faced the real risk of financial destitution for herself and her children. The same principles did not apply to men.
Some limited rights were provided to the propertied classes under the Married Women’s Property Acts of the 1890’s, however it was not until 1975 that the Whitlam government initiated a “no fault” divorce system and amended maintenance law such that women attained a measure of equality with men in the area of Divorce.
Divorce law in Australia is “gender neutral” however there are still substantial issues surrounding wages inequality which continue to disadvantage women on the break up of a marriage.