Getting a clear picture of the overall divorce rate in Canada has been challenging since Statistics Canada stopped collecting the data on census forms in 2008. By using and compiling separate pieces of information, it is possible to see some trends. For example, the divorce rate in Canada has been relatively steady in recent years, although it is still predicted that about 40% of married couples will divorce before their thirtieth anniversary.
That steady divorce rate has been one of the contributing factors in the record number of one-person households in Canada, according to the most recent data. There has also been a continuing upward trend in the number of common-law unions: 21% in 2016 versus 16.7% in 2011.
General Divorce Statistics
Here are some other general statistics regarding the divorce rate in Canada based on historical and social trends:
- In 2005, Canada saw 71,269 total divorces, as opposed to the 69,644 counted in 2004–nearly 2,000 more. By 2008 that number dropped slightly to 70,226.
- The number of divorces in Ontario increased from 26,516 in 2001 to 28,805 in 2005 then to 29,692 in 2008.
- Out of the total civil cases decided in the seven reporting provinces and territories in 2011, 35% were divorce cases.
- Canada’s crude divorce rate (a measure of the number of divorces per 1,000 people) was 2.1 in 2008. Hungary, Spain and Switzerland have similar rates.
Behind the Numbers
Regardless of what the statistics and numbers say, when couples get married, few expect to ever face divorce. Yet it is a devastating reality for far too many people. If you are going through a divorce or thinking of getting a divorce, it is important to remember you are not alone in the process, in a legal or a social sense.
Here are a few takeaways you can learn from the numbers.
- You are not trapped, regardless of age. Many people become unhappy in their marriages, even after being together for a very long time. Yet, some fear taking action to end a marriage, possibly because they fear they are too old to start over again.Between 1988 and 2008 the average age for divorce increased by an average of 5.9 years for both Canadian men and women, bringing the mean divorce age to 44.5 years old and 41.9 years old respectively. There is an increasing trend in later-in-life divorces—also called grey divorces. If your marriage is not healthy, you can end it, whatever age you might be at.
- Debunking traditional arrangements. Between the years 1996 and 2006, the percentage of divorced Canadians intending to remarry dropped from 26% to 22%. In addition, more than 60% of divorced people stated they had no intentions of getting remarried at all. And, as discussed above, the number of one-person households is increasing. What you should take from this is simple—you do not need to fear being alone, because you never really are.
- Emotional and psychological issues with divorce. Depression can often follow separation and divorce. According to the National Population Health Survey, the two-year period after a divorce has a high rate of serious psychological problems for the couple. This is not a surprising effect given the anxieties about children and the drastic life and income changes people experience during this time.
If you are in the midst of a separation or divorce, take care of your emotional well-being. Talk to a trained therapist and rely on your support system of friends and family.
Get the Professional Legal Advice You Need
It doesn’t matter what the numbers say—divorce can be a very difficult time in anyone’s life. It is important to get the family law expertise you need to protect your rights and ensure your future is as happy as is possible.
Galbraith Family Law lawyers are trained in Collaborative Practice, and we have been named the top firm by the Barrie Examiner multiple times. Our legal insights have also been featured in the Globe and Mail, as well as Lawyers Weekly.
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