The Divorce Rate in Canada: Grey Divorce, COVID-19 and Woke
16.4% of divorcees had been married for 25 years or more.
42% of divorces happened in marriages that had lasted between 10 and 24 years
Before Covid-19 it was the Gray Divorce and now the Woke movement
Any marriage is susceptible to facing certain problems that may define their relationship
Abrupt change in daily routines has forced couples to rethink and redesign their day-to-day lives.
Divorce Rate in Canada: An Overview
Understanding the divorce rate in Canada is important for individuals, families, and policymakers alike, as it provides insights into the trends and factors that contribute to the dissolution of marriages. In this article, we will explore the current state of divorce rates in Canada, discuss regional variations, and examine the factors that influence these rates.
Current Divorce Rate in Canada
As of 2021, the divorce rate in Canada is approximately 38%. This means that 38% of marriages are expected to end in divorce before the couple’s 30th anniversary. However, it’s important to note that divorce rates have been relatively stable over the past decade, showing a slight decline from the peak rates observed in the 1980s and 1990s.
Regional Variations in Divorce Rates
Divorce rates can vary significantly across different provinces and territories in Canada. Factors such as cultural, economic, and social influences can contribute to these regional variations. For example, Quebec has one of the highest divorce rates in the country, while Newfoundland and Labrador have one of the lowest. It’s essential to consider these regional differences when examining divorce rates on a national level.
Factors Influencing Divorce Rates
Several factors can influence the divorce rate in Canada, including:
- Age at marriage: Couples who marry at a younger age are more likely to divorce than those who marry later in life.
- Education: Individuals with higher levels of education tend to have lower divorce rates.
- Income: Higher income levels are generally associated with lower divorce rates, as financial stability can contribute to marital satisfaction.
- Cohabitation: Couples who live together before marriage may have a higher risk of divorce, although this relationship is complex and depends on various factors.
- Children: Having children can have a stabilizing effect on marriages, but it can also add stress that may contribute to divorce.
- Religion: Religious beliefs and practices can influence divorce rates, with some religious groups having lower rates than others.
While the divorce rate in Canada has remained relatively stable in recent years, it’s essential to recognize the various factors that can influence these rates on both a regional and individual level. By understanding the trends and underlying causes of divorce, individuals, families, and policymakers can work together to support healthy and lasting relationships.
The impact of the Woke Movement
The impact of the woke movement on separation and divorce rates is a complex and multifaceted issue. While it is difficult to determine direct causation between the two, the woke movement and its associated social changes have influenced relationships and marriages.
The woke movement promotes social justice, inclusivity, and awareness of systemic inequalities and has brought attention to gender roles, power dynamics, and individual rights within relationships. This increased awareness has led individuals to reevaluate their relationships and question traditional norms and expectations.
One potential impact of the woke movement is an increased willingness to address and confront inequality and power imbalances within relationships. Unfortunately, this can lead to a higher likelihood of individuals leaving relationships perceived as oppressive or restrictive.
The woke movement has also contributed to changes in societal attitudes towards divorce and separation. It has emphasized the importance of individual autonomy, self-expression, and pursuing personal happiness. As a result, some individuals may be more inclined to focus on their well-being and leave relationships that no longer align with their values or personal growth.
However, it is essential to note that the impact of the woke movement on separation and divorce rates cannot be solely attributed to this factor. Many other factors, including economic, cultural, and individual circumstances, play significant roles in relationship dynamics and the decision to separate or divorce.
Overall, while the woke movement has contributed to shifting societal attitudes and discussions surrounding relationships, it is just one of many factors that can influence separation and divorce rates. Moreover, the extent of its impact may vary among different individuals and communities.
Hot off the press: Statistics Canada new data
In line with Statistics Canada’s dedication to boosting Canadians’ statistical literacy and ensuring public access to this data, these new tables allow users to explore, utilize, and analyze a range of indicators associated with divorces.
Statistics Canada just released a set of fresh data tables:
Steady decline of the divorce rate since 1991
Despite the growth in the population susceptible to divorce, namely married individuals, there has been a decline in the number of divorces over the past three decades. The divorce rate – the number of divorces per 1,000 married individuals – dropped from 12.7 per 1,000 in 1991 to 7.5 per 1,000 in 2019 and descended to 5.6 per 1,000 in 2020.
Chart 1 illustrates a consistent decrease in the divorce rate since 1991.
This overall decline in the divorce rate over the last thirty years can be attributed to two significant societal shifts: the aging of the married population and a decreased propensity for divorce among younger married adults.
The rise in the age of the married population can be attributed to the general aging of the people and the preference of younger Canadian generations for common-law unions over traditional marriage. Additionally, when younger generations choose marriage, they do so at an older age compared to preceding generations. Since the age-specific divorce rates are usually lower amongst older adults, the aging married population has decreased the divorce rate.
Note that the age-specific divorce rates haven’t changed uniformly. Although divorce rates among individuals under 50 remain higher than for older individuals, they have notably dropped, particularly in recent years. Experts often associate this decline, observed in other countries, too, with an increasing selectivity in marriage. This implies that as fewer people choose to marry, those who do are likely to belong to a distinct group characterized by traits promoting enduring marriages.
From the street view on Divorce Rates
From a different perspective, the declining divorce rate over the past three decades could be viewed in relation to broader cultural and societal shifts.
One major factor could be the increased acceptance and prevalence of cohabitation before marriage. More couples are living together before tying the knot, letting them test their compatibility and resolving potential issues before legally committing. This could lead to more stable marriages and a lower divorce rate.
Second, attitudes toward marriage have been evolving. Many now see marriage as less of a social expectation and more of a choice, leading to decreased marriages. In addition, those who get married might be more committed to marriage, thus reducing the likelihood of divorce.
Additionally, the increase in the average age of first marriage could contribute to the divorce rate decline. Older individuals may be better equipped to handle the challenges of marriage due to more life experience, financial stability, and emotional maturity.
Last, there’s also a possibility that the shift towards gender equality and shared household responsibilities have resulted in less marital strife. As more couples share domestic duties and financial obligations, it may alleviate everyday stressors that can lead to divorce.
While these factors may shed light on the decreasing divorce rate, it’s important to note that the topic is complex and can be influenced by many societal and individual features.
Yes, maybe an increase in separations without subsequent divorce could contribute to the decrease in divorce rates. However, this trend could be driven by a variety of reasons.
Some couples might separate but not legally divorce due to the financial implications. Divorce often involves legal fees and may divide assets, which couples might prefer to avoid. Additionally, some individuals may remain married to keep certain benefits, such as health insurance coverage, which could end in divorce.
Emotional and cultural factors can also play a role. For example, some people might oppose divorce for religious or cultural reasons and prefer to live separately. For others, the decision might stem from the desire to avoid the perceived stigma attached to divorce.
Finally, more couples are cohabiting without getting married. When these relationships end, they don’t contribute to divorce statistics, even though they are a form of relationship dissolution.
Apprehension about family court lowers Divorce Rate
While the decrease in divorce rates could partially be attributed to increased separations without formal divorce, the topic is complex. It involves a variety of societal, economic, and personal factors.
The apprehension about the potential costs and stresses associated with family court proceedings could be a significant factor leading couples to choose informal separations rather than formal divorces.
Legal divorce often involves hiring attorneys and paying court fees, which can be expensive. In addition, dividing assets and determining custody arrangements, if children are involved, can be time-consuming and emotionally draining. For some, the potential financial strain and emotional turmoil that comes with a formal divorce process can be deterrents, leading them to prefer informal separations.
Informal separations allow couples some flexibility. They can set their terms with no judge’s approval, which might seem more appealing to some. However, note that informal separations can have complications, especially regarding the legal and financial protections a formal divorce agreement can provide.
So, while the fear of family court and its associated costs may lead to increased informal separations, it’s essential to consider the potential long-term implications and ensure both parties are adequately protected.
Number of separated people in Canada 2000-2020
COVID-19 pandemic put a sharp stop to daily life
The pandemic has been a difficult time for many as COVID-19 put a sharp stop to daily life. Jobs were lost, businesses fell apart, and a great many lives were taken as a result of the coronavirus. If a loss was not suffered, stress and feelings of uncertainty about the near future significantly increased as the virus proved to be uncontainable. Moreover, nationwide lockdowns and mandatory quarantines added extra strain and pressure to households affected by great financial blows.
This added tension that families and couples felt due to the pandemic has led many family law insiders to believe that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the divorce rate in Canada. With a general increase in divorce filings, it’s only plausible to note that the coronavirus has had a grand effect on the number of divorces aha the divorce rate. However, the question most important to answer is not whether COVID-19 has increased divorce rates in Canada, as it is instead far more beneficial to explore how the pandemic has impacted the separation process along with the culture of marriage and divorce.
Difficulties Under Lockdown
With or without a pandemic, any marriage is susceptible to facing certain problems that may define their relationship. Life coach and writer for Marriage.com, Shellie Warren, states that “financial troubles can be categorized as one of the biggest causes of divorce,” adding that a lack of money or a difference in how spouses spend money can add a major strain within a marriage. Due to the millions of jobs and businesses lost because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is no surprise that marriages with existing money struggles experienced greater financial stress under lockdown.
Many couples viewed this added financial tension as the final straw and filed for divorce amid the pandemic. Yet, long before COVID-19, family lawyers have seen a strong correlation between economic downturns and an increase in divorce, as noted by Olivia Bowden of Global News. Of course, this correlation between financial crises and marriage break-ups does not signify causation as there are other factors that have affected the overall increase of divorce during the pandemic.
The general confinement is another aspect of COVID-19 that has added pressure on all relationships, especially marriages. The abrupt change in daily routines has forced couples to rethink and redesign their day-to-day lives. On a regular basis, healthy and strong communication is needed in order to overcome difficult challenges, but the uncertainty of the pandemic proved to be too much for some couples, leading to divorce – a solution that has most likely been in the back of their minds for months now.
It’s only natural to assume that the difficulties of lockdown have brought a lot of underlying issues within a marriage to the surface. Facing these pre-existing relationship troubles is much more difficult when life is far from normal. Yet, it is not so much the rate at which marriages end in divorce that have been greatly affected by COVID-19, as it is the overall culture and process of separating that has been drastically impacted.
Lengthy Divorce Process due to COVID-19 Pandemic
Ever since the start of the pandemic, society has changed in dramatic ways to prevent the spread and outbreak of COVID-19. Due to these institutional adjustments that have come as a result of the pandemic, family law and the courts have been dramatically backed up, and civil courts, which are responsible for handling all divorce cases, are no exception.
Before the coronavirus, a study of the divorce statistics in Canada conducted by the government in 2010-2011 proved that a majority of divorces “were granted within six months after the [case] was first filed,” demonstrating that lengthy divorce processes were often uncommon. However, due to a nation-wide lockdown order, court cases have been dramatically delayed as all legal proceedings had to shift away from physical interaction to online avenues. The lengthy divorce process caused by the pandemic would normally deter an increase in divorce case filings, however, the recent rise in divorce has proven otherwise.
Therefore, even though the process of filing for a divorce has changed considerably due to the drastic delay in court proceedings caused by safety measures taken in response to COVID-19, couples still choose to divorce. Previously, as noted by the same study mentioned above, less than half of all divorce cases took more than 2 years to finalize. Yet, that number could be expected to double due to the holdup in court cases caused by the recent implementation of mandatory quarantine practices.
As a result, these substantial changes to the divorce process have significantly altered the culture of divorce, and subsequently marriage. This is because divorce has now become a much more difficult and tiring process than it was in previous years. The cost, time, and procedure of divorce, all affected by COVID-19, is now a significant factor in how couples will legally separate – not whether they will. Therefore, it could be inferred that the coronavirus has impacted the way people proceed with legal divorce actions, inevitably affecting the way in which society responds to marriage break-ups.
Limited Avenues of Support When in Quarantine
The pandemic has not only affected the legal proceedings of divorce and marriage, but it has also impacted the ability for individuals to reach out to trusted friends and family when going through a separation. This is because health officials urge friends and family to limit visiting one another, as physical contact increases the spread of the virus. Therefore, quarantine has been extremely difficult for those going through a divorce because they have to navigate the separation process alone.
Furthermore, couples that have children who are considering divorce must think about how their separation under COVID-19 would affect being with their kids. If a couple makes the decision to live separately throughout the process of divorce, issues with child visitation rights could arise as health officials discourage physical gatherings to minimize the spread of the virus. Moreover, most couples do not have the financial resources nor the capability to physically separate as staying inside is necessary for successful and safe quarantine.
Divorcing Amid the Pandemic Does Not Mean You Failed
It is important to note that divorce, even before the pandemic, is known to be a lonely and strenuous process. Support can even sometimes be difficult to garner as divorce has had a socially negative connotation attached to it. This existing preconception proves that the effects of COVID-19 have not altered the stigma attached to divorce, instead it could be argued that the pandemic has solidified the cultural and societal stigma connected to the act of separating.
The pandemic has devastated the lives of thousands of Canadians, and as a result, additional tragedies that come during these difficult times are often associated with the overall stress that the coronavirus has brought. However, the reality is that COVID-19 is not responsible for the perceptible rise in divorce cases, instead the pandemic is used as a blanket explanation for the unrelated increase in marriage break-ups as society has never accepted divorce as a willful decision.
Thus, divorcing amid the pandemic does not mean you failed, nor does it mean that the pandemic was responsible for your divorce – or an increase in nation-wide divorce rates. The action of separating from your spouse is a process that takes a lot of autonomy and faculty. Moreover, divorces can be done amicably and benefit both parties when pursued correctly.
No matter the reasons for separating, divorce is a new chapter in life that should be taken advantage of instead of one that you should feel ashamed of. If you are considering separating from your spouse, before taking any steps, make sure to get in contact with a divorce lawyer to fully understand the divorce process under the current conditions.
While there are significant statistics that demonstrate an overall trend in divorce within this past year, the coronavirus has not necessarily directly contributed to this increase. Instead, it can be noted that COVID-19 has had a distinct effect on the process of separation, redefining the culture of divorce and marriage.
Grey Divorce and Canada’s Divorce Statistics
Before Covid-19 its was the Grey Divorce
Before Covid-29 came to dominate our lives. No longer willing to stay in an unhappy marriage, Baby Boomer ( 50 and older age group) separations and divorces are up in Ontario and across other provinces.
The increase has given rise to the term “grey divorce” which encapsulates this growing trend among the older generation to split up. Couples who have been married for 30 years and more are getting a grey divorce, and this group of seniors is now responsible for a large percentage of overall divorces in Canada.
Back in 2008, Statistics Canada revealed that a staggering 42% of divorces happened in marriages that had lasted between 10 and 24 years, while another 16.4% of divorcees had been married for 25 years or more.
Indeed, as far back as a 2011 Huffington Post report, commentators were remarking on the rise of the grey divorce. So what’s behind this trend and what are the financial and other realities associated with getting divorced so late in life when you’ve been married for a significant period of time?
Grey Divorce – Talking about money
Let’s start by saying that legally, the grey divorce process is no different to any other divorce process.
However, generally speaking, marriages that last the longest tend to be formed along traditional lines. That means one person in the relationship has been the primary income-earner and controller of the household budget. This is usually (but not exclusively) the husband.
So when these long-term marriages break down, it’s almost always the wife who faces the biggest financial challenges. It is the wife who is most likely to have left the workforce for an extended period to raise the children, and therefore after a grey divorce, need the most financial advice and assistance. This is why much of the information in this article is aimed at women facing a grey divorce.
Another key difference with a grey divorce is that because of the long-term nature of the failed marriage, there is likely to be a broad range of assets and issues to deal with, including property and businesses which may be owned by the couple. Other issues that need to be taken into account include:
- Estate planning
- Beneficiaries of wills and insurance policies
- Corporate shares relating to the family business
- Use and ownership of properties
3 Reasons Why Grey Divorce is on the raise
There is no single reason to explain the rise in grey divorces. Instead, it can attributed to three main factors:
- Divorce has become more socially acceptable
- People are living longer
- Many women have become more financially autonomous
Issues That Must Be Considered When Facing A Grey Divorce
MAINTAINING YOUR FINANCIAL STABILITY
Obviously, your financial situation will change post divorce. It makes sense to work with a divorce mediator to help you budget in the short and long term and ensure your financial stability going forward. You’ll need to know how much you need to save and how much you’re going to have to spend.
HOLDING ONTO BUSINESS ASSETS
If you’re married and self-employed and want to protect your business, hopefully you have already ‘divorce proofed’ your business. If not, an lawyer may be able to help. Otherwise, you will need the skills and insights of finance professionals to protect your assets in the event of a grey divorce. This is because if you’ve built your business while married, your business can be regarded as ‘family assets’. If this is the case, you need to consider your options, namely:
- Buying out your spouse’s share
- Liquidating assets to pay your spouse (if the business forms the lion’s share of your marital assets)
- Selling the business and dividing the proceeds
It’s clear that with such big decisions to make, the advice of a financial professional at this stage could be worth its weight in gold.
YOUR RETIREMENT PLANNING
During grey divorce proceedings, your retirement and pension funds and those of your spouse will be analysed. LIF, RRIFs, LIRA and RRSP will all be included. Your separation agreement requires that you make it clear who owns each asset and how they will be redistributed.
ARRANGING YOUR INSURANCE
Who’s going to pay for health insurance, life insurance, vehicle insurance, buildings and contents insurance, after you get your grey divorce? If your spouse pays everything now, you need to prepare for the responsibility to fall on your shoulders once your grey divorce is finalized. It’s a good move to find out now how much each premium is going to cost you so you can budget for it.
LIVING WITHIN YOUR MEANS
Lifestyle changes are almost inevitable once you’re divorced and can no longer rely on your spouse’s income and support. This means things you’ve taken for granted – like your cable TV package, or shopping sprees or regular meet-ups with friends – might have to be cut back to take into account the new reality of your financial situation. Having a finance professional to help you understand what you can and can’t afford after a grey divorce will be crucial.
KEEPING YOUR FRIENDSHIPS GOING
It can be tempting to hide away during a grey divorce. You might not want to face the words of pity from friends, and you might think you can’t afford to go out on social occasions to see them. But it’s important to maintain your friendships and some semblance of a social life. It’s still possible to go out and have fun and meet new people during a grey divorce. And true friends will stick with you, no matter what.
Why is the Divorce Rate Important to you?
Individuals going through a separation might be interested in divorce statistics for various reasons. Here are few:
Understanding Trends: Divorce statistics can provide insight into societal trends and patterns. These trends might influence an individual’s decision-making process or provide a broader perspective on the prevalence and outcomes of divorce.
- Comparative Analysis: Statistics can offer a comparison point for individuals. For example, understanding the average age of divorce, the common reasons for divorce, or the average duration of marriages before divorce might provide some context to their situation.
Preparation: Understanding divorce statistics might help an individual prepare for divorce. For example, statistics about the length of the divorce process, the cost, or the likely division of assets could provide helpful information for planning.
Support: Recognizing that divorce is a common experience can offer emotional support. It can help individuals feel less alone and realize that many others have navigated the same challenges.
Policy Understanding: Divorce statistics can highlight how divorce laws and policies affect societal trends. This understanding might be necessary for individuals interested in advocacy work or those navigating divorce proceedings.
Counselling and Advice: For those seeking or offering advice related to separation and divorce – such as counsellors, therapists, and legal advisors – divorce statistics can provide a valuable backdrop for understanding the experiences of different demographics.
Divorce statistics can offer separating individuals a better understanding of their situation within a broader societal context, help in their preparation and decision-making, and provide some comfort through a challenging life even
Navigating the complexities of separation can be a daunting experience. With my expertise as both a Mediator and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA), I am here to support you through this challenging time. My unique Soft Landing Settlement Method focuses on creating a fair and amicable resolution that addresses your situation’s financial and emotional aspects, ensuring a smoother transition for all parties involved.
By utilizing my Soft Landing Settlement Method, we can work collaboratively to create a tailored plan that meets the needs and goals of both spouses. This approach fosters a positive and respectful environment, facilitating a more efficient and less contentious settlement process. With my guidance, you can feel confident in your decisions and better prepared for the next chapter of your life.
Take the first step towards a more secure and peaceful future by scheduling a Get Acquainted Call with me today. During our call, we can discuss your specific circumstances and explore how my services can support you during this critical time.
Ready to embrace a brighter future? Click the button below to schedule your Get Acquainted Call now.
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The Naked Divorce Filer: Divorce Application
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About Naked Divorce Filer
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Always a personal touch
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Hi, my name is Ken Maynard.
I am a family court survivor, Family Mediator and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA). For 10 years now I have been helping separating couples find their Soft Landing. I look forward to working you.
Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM
I help smart and successful couples, create separation agreements with clarity and soft landings for secure futures, in 4 meetings or less without all the lawyer created overwhelming conflicts, confusion and costs. You can work with me by video conference or with a DTSW associate at any of our 6 DTSW Greater Toronto mediation centers, including | Aurora | Barrie | North York | Vaughan | Mississauga | Scarborough.
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Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FMhttps://divorcethesmartway.ca/author/wardman/May 23, 2023
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