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Wednesday, 27 November 1974
Page: 2854

Senator MURPHY (New South WalesAttorneyGeneral) - As happens now, in many cases the marriage has broken down, and all that the parties want is to have the marriage decently buried and to get on with their own affairs either singly or together with another party in another marriage. I think that what would happen with the great majority of the cases would be that one party would file for a divorce after a 12 months separation and would prove the separation. No evidence would be put before the court to suggest that there was any reasonable likelihood of resumption of cohabitation, and the court would grant the decree. Unless there were something put before the court to indicate that there was some likelihood of resumption of cohabitation, such as the respondent putting some material before the court or perhaps a legal practitioner or the party who was applying saying 'I am not too sure whether I want to go on with it', or something like that which would raise the question for inquiry by the court, in the ordinary case the court would be satisfied that there was the irretrievable breakdown because the 12 months separation had been proven and there was no evidence of any likelihood of resumption of cohabitation. The simple fact is that that would be the result in the overwhelming number of cases because that is what the parties would want. They would not want to resume cohabitation after they had been apart for 12 months. There might be the rare case where the question would arise and, in that case, the positive obligation is there for the court not to grant the decree if it is satisfied that there is a reasonable likelihood of cohabitation being resumed. The matter would be inquired into and if the court thought that there was some reasonable likelihood it would not grant the decree.

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