Divorce: To have and to hold a marriage contract
Having concrete proof of adultery was once the only way to get a divorce in Canada. That meant a detective's photograph of a cheating husband. Or witnesses in a dirty motel room. Then in 1968, a new divorce law gave couples trapped in bad marriages an easy way out. The law started a divorce trend that continues to this day, in a time when it's so simple to break the knot, you can even do it online.
. Lawyers suggest couples who draw up marriage contracts should: 1) Agree on who owns the rights to assets acquired before the wedding, 2) Decide how expenses will be divided, and 3) Set out whether there will be alimony payment in the case of a divorce.
. Around the time of this clip, a "no-fault" divorce clause was added to the Divorce Act (1986).
. The amendment was an attempt to protect children forced to testify against one parent.
. Before 1968, one spouse was always found guilty in a divorce settlement. The ruling influenced monetary decisions and created a social stigma. Canadians often avoided divorce for these reasons.
. The grounds for divorce since 1986 are one or more of the following: 1) The couple has lived apart for one year, 2) Adultery, 3) Physical or mental cruelty.
. The no-fault clause only works if a couple decides to file based on the grounds of a one-year separation. A spouse filing based on adultery or cruelty still has to show proof. However, by the time courts process such a request, a year's separation will have likely already passed.
. A correlation can be made between the 1986 no-fault amendment and a sharp increase in the divorce rate. In 1987, it rose to an all-time high of 44 per cent.
. In 1995, REAL Women argued that getting divorced was too easy. Gwen Landolt of REAL(Realistic Equal Active for Life) said: "Our group favours giving couples tax deductions for marital counselling ... That way, there is a better chance of reconciliation."
. REAL, which describes itself as a "pro-life, pro-family, grassroots women's advocacy" organization, has been called "an anti-feminist lobby group" by the Montreal Gazette and the Calgary Herald.
. CBC Radio reported that the more legally difficult it is to get a divorce, the more people will put it off.
. In 1990, Statistics Canada found that divorce was most prevalent in the first five years of marriage.
. About four per cent of couples married just over five years filed for a divorce. The study found incidences of divorce trailed off after that, with slight increases again at the 10- and 20-year marks.
. People in their late twenties who had just celebrated either their first or fifth anniversary were most susceptible to divorce.
. A Toronto Star article in 2000 said Newfoundland had the country's lowest divorce rate, and the Yukon had the highest.
. In 1996, Statistics Canada reported that couples were waiting longer than the generation before them to tie the knot and when they did, they stayed married longer. Men waited until they were about 29 years old to get married, and women on average until 27.
. Couples in the United States get married at a younger age. In 2002, a National Post article reported that women got married on average at 25 and men at 27.
Program: CBC Television News
Broadcast Date: Jan. 24, 1986
Guest(s): Chris Desjardins, Jeannie DiMarco, Philip Epstein
Reporter: Nancy Ing
Last updated: March 6, 2012
Page consulted on March 28, 2013
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