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Canadian Divorce Statistics and Facts

Separation and divorce are common in Canada. Divorce statistics provide valuable information on the state of marriage as an institution. Here are some interesting facts that shed light on the trend of divorce in recent years and why people chose to divorce.

Separation, divorce, and dissolution of common-law marriage

A divorce is a legal process that ends a marriage. Before we dive into the stats, it is important to point out that divorce statistics don’t capture information about:

  • Married couples who have separated but not yet filed for divorce. Some married couples consider their marriage to be “over” and live separate and apart, but never legally divorce.

  • The dissolution of common-law relationships. Common-law couples do not need to divorce to legally end their relationship.

According to the most recent available data, 1.3 million Canadians aged 25 to 64 years old (6%) are currently separated or divorced from a marriage; and 1.6 million Canadians (8%) are currently separated from a common-law relationship. So, divorce data doesn’t give the whole picture of relationship breakdown in Canada, but it does provide important information.

Canadian divorce statistics

  • There were 42,933 divorces granted in Canada in 2020.

This is the lowest number of recorded divorces in a given year since 1973. While divorce is still very common, the number of divorces in Canada has generally been declining for many years, in part because couples are choosing common-law relationships more often. The significant drop in 2020 was likely linked to barriers to accessing court services during the COVID-19 pandemic. It remains to be seen whether divorce rates rebound after the pandemic.

  • The average age of a person divorcing is 46 years old. Of those who divorced in 2020, the average length of the marriage was 15.3 years. All of the property and assets built up over the course of the marriage must be divided on separation, either by negotiated separation agreement or family court proceedings.

  • About one-third of divorce applications are brought jointly by both spouses. This reflects a growing tendency among spouses to mutually agree on the terms of their separation before proceeding with a formal divorce application to the courts.

  • The process of separation and divorce typically takes two to three years, but can take longer, depending on the issues at stake. The majority of spouses file for divorce on the basis of living separate and apart for one year. Neither spouse is required to show that the other caused the marriage breakdown. Spouses can apply for divorce before the year is up, but the court will not grant the divorce order until a year has elapsed. The average time between filing a divorce application and the court granting a divorce order ranges between 4 to 6 months.

  • The average cost of divorce ranges from $1,700 to $15,000 per spouse. At the lower end of the range are divorces that proceed on an uncontested basis, with issues being resolved by negotiated separation agreement before applying for divorce. At the higher end of the range are contested divorces, where spouses litigate issues arising from their separation in court.

Reasons Canadians divorce

Canadian marriages end for a variety of reasons. Common causes include domestic violence, infidelity, financial problems, communication difficulties, differences of opinion on important issues (e.g., parenting, religion), and substance abuse. However, divorce in Canada is “no fault.” That means the reasons for your separation and divorce are generally not taken into consideration when it comes to your rights and obligations relating to children, spousal support, and property division.

If you are going through a divorce Dick Byl can help

The process of separation and divorce can be emotionally difficult and raise many complicated issues. The best first step in navigating the complex and emotional process of divorce is to talk to a family lawyer. An experienced divorce lawyer will answer your family law questions, explain your options for moving forward, and ensure your rights and interests are protected. Many divorce lawyers (including Prince George lawyer Dick Byl) offer a free 30-minute initial consultation to discuss your situation. This is an excellent, no-obligation opportunity for you to determine if the lawyer is the right fit for your needs, but also for you to gain a better understanding of family law in BC and the issues that will need to be resolved.

You should have customized legal advice and personalized solutions

Statistics are one thing. Customized legal advice and solutions are another. Protect yourself by having personalized services of a lawyer experienced in divorce and family law. Dick Byl Law Corporation offers flexible legal consultation and customized legal solutions. We work diligently to ensure that our clients receive a fair outcome. Call us today at 250-564-3400 or toll-free at 1-800-835-0088 or use oureForm to get in touch with our lawyer in Prince George.


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