Divorce Statistics in Canada and How to Protect Yourself

Divorce Statistics in Canada and How to Protect Yourself - Heidi Dinning Certified Divorce Coaching

When it comes to marriage, divorce is also something that may become a reality – after all, the two are linked. In the mid-1900s, divorce became a more common option as it became acceptable to end a marriage that was no longer working or healthy. Of course, this means that divorce statistics rose. However, in recent years, there has actually been a drop in divorces in Canada– partially due to fewer couples getting married, as well as other factors such as appropriate support and counselling becoming an acceptable option.

Read on for some of the common divorce statistics in Canada, and how to protect yourself if you are facing a divorce in your own life. 

Canadian Statistics on Divorce

If you are curious about chance and probability, you may be interested in the statistics surrounding divorce in Canada. Here is a roundup of some of these stats. 

Divorce Rates (Number of Divorces)

The most basic overview of divorces in Canada is the country’s divorce rate. Canada has a crude divorce rate of 2.1 out of 1000 Canadians. This ranks them, out of 107 different countries surveyed, at spot 26.

Divorce Rate By Gender

Another detail that helps us to understand divorces better is the divorce rate per gender in Canada. Who is filing for divorce more often? Women are more commonly the ones to file for divorce, at 8.6 out of every 1000 married people. However, this can also change depending on the age group, or the average age of the group. 

Number of Divorced People In Canada

Another thing that you can look at to understand divorces in Canada– and how common or uncommon they are – is the number of divorced people in the country. There are approximately 38,246,108 people living in Canada as of 2021. About 2.74 million had been divorced and not remarried. 

Divorce By Age

There are different ways to measure the divorce rate in Canada by age, or average age, but one common approach is to look at the number of divorces per 1,000 married people within each age group. Here are some statistics based on this method, using data from Statistics Canada for the year 2018:

  • For people aged 20 to 24, the divorce rate was 8.9 per 1,000 married people.
  • For people aged 25 to 29, the divorce rate was 16.4 per 1,000 married people.
  • For people aged 30 to 34, the divorce rate was 19.1 per 1,000 married people.
  • For people aged 35 to 39, the divorce rate was 18.8 per 1,000 married people.
  • For people aged 40 to 44, the divorce rate was 17.6 per 1,000 married people.
  • For people aged 45 to 49, the divorce rate was 15.9 per 1,000 married people.
  • For people aged 50 to 54, the divorce rate was 13.6 per 1,000 married people.
  • For people aged 55 to 59, the divorce rate was 11.4 per 1,000 married people.
  • For people aged 60 to 64, the divorce rate was 8.9 per 1,000 married people.

It’s worth noting that divorce rates can be influenced by many factors, including cultural norms, economic conditions, and changes in legal and social attitudes toward marriage and divorce. These rates also don’t account for differences in the duration of marriages within each age group, which can affect the likelihood of divorce.

Divorce Statistics in Canada and How to Protect Yourself - Heidi Dinning- Heidi Dinning

How to Protect Yourself In Case of Divorce

Whether you are the one initiating the divorce or your spouse is, be sure to take some precautions in order to protect yourself during and after the divorce process. Take a look below for some of the steps you should be taking to protect yourself, even before you head to court.  

Separate Debt

If you have joint accounts with your spouse, then you will want to make sure that you are not taking on any of the debt that they may have accumulated. Credit card companies, for instance, do not care if you are getting divorced. They simply want to get paid. You should try to leave your marriage with no debt, or at least only your own debt. Pay off your joint accounts, if possible, and then close the accounts. If this is not possible, divide the debt and transfer it to individually held cards. 

Go Through Assets

Before you begin discussing assets with your spouse and lawyers, go through your assets yourself with a fine-toothed comb. Go through everything line by line. You should do this so that you have a clear and honest idea of what you are entitled to. Unfortunately, the typical notions, in a divorce is that men believe they are entitled to all assets, while women fear that they will not get nor deserve anything. This is not true.

Conduct a Cash Flow Analysis

Another way to get your ducks in a row in preparation for a divorce is to run your own cash flow analysis. Look at the income streams that you expect to have after your divorce and then subtract all of your expected expenses. Try and break these down into necessary and discretionary expenses. If you are in the red, you can then take a look at these discretionary expenses and eliminate what you are able to part with to get back into the green, budget-wise. It’s important to also include the recurring expenses that otherwise would have been split with your spouse, before the divorce. 

The Divorce Act

Although not something you need to fully understand it is important that you have a general idea of the divorce act in Canada.

The Divorce Act is a federal law in Canada that sets out the rules and procedures for getting a divorce. It applies to married couples who want to end their marriage, including those who are legally married under the laws of another country and are living in Canada.

Under the Divorce Act, there is only one ground for divorce: a breakdown of the marriage. This breakdown can be established in one of three ways: separation for at least one year, adultery, or physical or mental cruelty.

In addition to the grounds for divorce, the Act covers other issues related to divorce, such as child custody and support, spousal support, and property division. The Act sets out the factors that a court must consider when making decisions about these issues, including the best interests of the child and the financial situation of each spouse.

The Act also encourages parties to resolve their disputes through negotiation, mediation, or collaborative law, rather than through the court system. This is in line with the trend towards alternative dispute resolution methods that is becoming increasingly common in family law cases.

It’s important to note that the Act is a federal law, and therefore applies across Canada. However, each province and territory has its own laws and procedures related to divorce and family law, which may supplement or modify the Act in certain ways.

Do You Need Help??

Heidi Dinning is a CDC® Certified Divorce Coach. Her services are designed to give people navigating separation, divorce and family breakdowns help and guidance. If you are going through a situation and need assistance please contact us.

We have a free consultation available and we are here to help.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the divorce rate in Canada?

The divorce rate in Canada is 26th out of 107 countries that were surveyed for the study these statistics come from. In Canada 2.1 out of 1000 Canadian people divorce.

Divorce rates in Canada have been declining over the past few decades. According to Canadian statistics, the crude divorce rate, which is the number of divorces per 1,000 population, was 2.0 in 2019. This represents a decline from a peak of 3.0 in 1987.

The decline in divorce rates can be attributed to several factors, including changes in attitudes toward marriage and divorce, increased access to education and employment opportunities for women, and improved access to family planning and contraception.

Divorce and Family Law Stats

According to Statistics Canada, in 2018-2019, there were approximately 41,300 new family court cases filed in Canada. These cases can include a range of family law issues, including divorce, separation, child custody, and child support.

It’s important to note that not all family law cases go to court, and many families choose to resolve custody and access issues through negotiation, mediation, or other forms of dispute resolution.

What is the average length of a marriage in Canada?

In 1980, the average length of a marriage in Canada was 12.5 years. However, this has increased in recent years! A study done in 2020 found that the average length of a marriage in Canada was 15.3 years. Women typically divorce at a younger age, as they also usually get married younger than men.

What is the divorce rate by age group in Canada?

20 to 24-year-olds have a divorce rate of 3661 people, while 25 to 29-year-olds have a rate of 23,303 people. 30 to 34-year-olds have a rate of 73,795 and 35 to 39-year-olds have a rate of 138,610. The age group of 40 to 44 years has an even higher rate at 211,847 people, and 45 to 49-year-olds have a rate of 274,686. This is specifically pertaining to the number of divorces in Canada.

What is the Married Population in Canada? 

According to Statistics Canada, in 2020, there were 13.4 million married or common-law couples in Canada. This represents approximately 62.1% of the population aged 15 and over. The remaining population aged 15 and over was made up of single individuals (never married), separated, divorced, widowed, or those in a same-sex relationship.

It’s important to note that the proportion of the married population has been declining in Canada over the past few decades, while the proportion of individuals who are single or in common-law relationships has been increasing. This is partly due to changes in social norms and attitudes towards marriage and family, as well as changes in demographic factors such as delaying marriage and increased life expectancy.

What is a grey divorce?

You may have heard the term grey divorce, or as it is also referred to, a silver splitter. This is the term for divorces that involve a married couple over the age of 50+ which is becoming more common these days. Grey divorces are a type of divorce that is becoming more common as the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age and beyond, they are a rising demographic trend.

Grey divorces may be more complicated than divorces between younger couples because the divorcing spouses may have more assets, retirement savings, and shared property that need to be divided. In addition, the emotional impact of a grey divorce may be more significant because the couple may have been together for many years and have grown children, making the divorce process more complex and emotionally difficult for all parties involved.

What year of marriage is divorce most common?

Even though divorce rates have declined recently the median duration of a marriage hasn’t really changed. A report from Statistics Canada in 2016 said that the median marriage length was 11 years.

The early years of marriage are when a couple is still settling in and adjusting to each other and to being married– so it makes sense that divorce would be more common in earlier years. Data shows that the periods between years 1-2 and years 5-8 are the most crucial. However, there are two years that are the most common for divorce. These are actually years 7 and 8.

The factors that lead to divorce are complex and vary from couple to couple. Some common reasons for divorce include communication problems, financial difficulties, infidelity, domestic abuse, and compatibility issues. These issues can arise at any time during a marriage, and the decision to divorce is often the result of a long and complicated process.

It’s important to note that divorce is a significant and often difficult decision, and couples should seek counselling or coaching or other forms of support before making such a choice.

Other General Statistics

When is comes to the number of divorces when talking about same sex marriage we now have more than a decade of information.

As of the 2016 Canadian Census, there were 72,880 same-sex couples in Canada, which accounted for about 0.9% of all couples in the country. Of these, 24,390 were married couples, and 48,490 were common-law couples.

The percentage of same-sex couples who were married increased significantly following the legalization of same-sex marriage in Canada in 2005. In 2006, the first year that same-sex marriage was legal, there were 7,465 married same-sex couples in Canada, accounting for 16.5% of all same-sex couples. By 2016, that percentage had increased to 31.9%.

It’s worth noting that these statistics only include couples who identified themselves as same-sex couples in the census, and therefore may not capture all same-sex relationships. Additionally, data from the 2021 census is not yet available, so the most recent statistics are from the 2016 census.

The Canadian government however does not publish statistics on the number of same-sex marriages.

Common-law unions in Canada which are now called Adult Interdependent Relationships

According to the 2016 Canadian Census, there were 1,567,910 couples in Canada who were living in a common-law relationship. This accounted for about 17.8% of all couples in the country.

The number of common-law couples in Canada has been steadily increasing over the past few decades, reflecting changes in social attitudes towards marriage and family. In 1981, there were only 295,000 common-law couples in Canada, accounting for just 6.3% of all couples.

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