Divorce Rates in Canada on the Way Down

So what's behind the plunge in trips to family court? According to the report's author Mary Bess Kelly, it's really less about fewer divorces, and more about fewer marriages.

By Josh D. Simon
Updated: October 06, 2014
Divorce Rates in Canada Declining

According to the big brains (and even bigger calculators) at Statistics Canada, divorce rates in Canada are on the way down.

That's the conclusion of a new report released late last week, which looked at divorce cases from 2006-2011 in British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Alberta, Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories. Overall, divorce cases in civil court declined by 8%, with Nova Scotia falling the furthest at 22%.

So what's behind the plunge in trips to family court? According to the report's author Mary Bess Kelly, it's really less about fewer divorces, and more about fewer marriages.

"The proportion of married couples has been steadily decreasing over the past 20 years while common-law unions are becoming more numerous," commented Kelly, "as are lone-parent families, which have proliferated since the mid-1960s."

However, the downward trend in divorces doesn't mean that it's time for family lawyers to switch careers; on the contrary, many of them are busier than ever, with divorce cases routinely making up more than 90% of all new cases brought before the civil courts. And long-term marriages - defined as those surviving to their 30-year anniversary - are even more of an endangered species than they were in the recent past. 

"Although the number of divorces has shown recent declines," Kelly writes, "in 2008 it was estimated that 41% of marriages will end in divorce before the 30th year of marriage, an increase from 36% in 1998." 

Read the full Statistics Canada report "Divorce cases in civil court, 2010/2011here.

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By Josh D. Simon| April 10, 2012

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