The following is based on USA data but a great deal of it can be applied to Canada and some other countries. Canada's Divorce rate is slightly lower (see below). Pay special note to the area where some jurisdictions have invoked shared parenting with a notable drop in the divorce rate. Incentives for divorce by the female have been reduced. Interesting what incentives do to a circumstance isn't it.
Fact: Nearly half of all marriages end in divorce.
Fact: There are ten myths of divorce.
Divorce Myth 1: Because people learn from their bad experiences, second marriages tend to be more successful than first marriages.
Fact: Although many people who divorce have successful subsequent marriages, the divorce rate of remarriages is in fact higher than that of first marriages.
Divorce Myth 2: Living together before marriage is a good way to reduce the chances of eventually divorcing.
Fact: Many studies have found that those who live together before marriage have a considerably higher chance of eventually divorcing. The reasons for this are not well understood. In part, the type of people who are willing to cohabit may also be those who are more willing to divorce. There is some evidence that the act of cohabitation itself generates attitudes in people that are more conducive to divorce, for example the attitude that relationships are temporary and easily can be ended.
Divorce Myth 3: Divorce may cause problems for many of the children who are affected by it, but by and large these problems are not long lasting and the children recover relatively quickly.
Fact: Divorce increases the risk of interpersonal problems in children. There is evidence, both from small qualitative studies and from large-scale, long-term empirical studies, that many of these problems are long lasting. In fact, they may even become worse in adulthood.
Divorce Myth 4: Having a child together will help a couple to improve their marital satisfaction and prevent a divorce.
Fact: Many studies have shown that the most stressful time in a marriage is after the first child is born. Couples who have a child together have a slightly decreased risk of divorce compared to couples without children, but the decreased risk is far less than it used to be when parents with marital problems were more likely to stay together "for the sake of the children."
Divorce Myth 5: Following divorce, the woman's standard of living plummets by 73 percent while that of the man's improves by 42 percent.
Fact: This dramatic inequity, one of the most widely publicized statistics from the social sciences, was later found to be based on a faulty calculation. A reanalysis of the data determined that the woman's loss was 27 percent while the man's gain was 10 percent. Irrespective of the magnitude of the differences, the gender gap is real and seems not to have narrowed much in recent decades.
Divorce Myth 6: When parents don't get along, children are better off if their parents divorce than if they stay together.
Fact: A recent large-scale, long-term study suggests otherwise. While it found that parents' marital unhappiness and discord have a broad negative impact on virtually every dimension of their children's well-being, so does the fact of going through a divorce. In examining the negative impacts on children more closely, the study discovered that it was only the children in very high-conflict homes who benefited from the conflict removal that divorce may bring. In lower-conflict marriages that end in divorce — and the study found that perhaps as many as two thirds of the divorces were of this type — the situation of the children was made much worse following a divorce. Based on the findings of this study, therefore, except in the minority of high-conflict marriages it is better for the children if their parents stay together and work out their problems than if they divorce.
Divorce Myth 7: Because they are more cautious in entering marital relationships and also have a strong determination to avoid the possibility of divorce, children who grow up in a home broken by divorce tend to have as much success in their own marriages as those from intact homes.
Fact: Marriages of the children of divorce actually have a much higher rate of divorce than the marriages of children from intact families. A major reason for this, according to a recent study, is that children learn about marital commitment or permanence by observing their parents. In the children of divorce, the sense of commitment to a lifelong marriage has been undermined.
Divorce Myth 8: Following divorce, the children involved are better off in stepfamilies than in single-parent families.
Fact: The evidence suggests that stepfamilies are no improvement over single-parent families, even though typically income levels are higher and there is a father figure in the home. Stepfamilies tend to have their own set of problems, including interpersonal conflicts with new parent figures and a very high risk of family breakup.
Divorce Myth 9: Being very unhappy at certain points in a marriage is a good sign that the marriage will eventually end in divorce.
Fact: All marriages have their ups and downs. Recent research using a large national sample found that 86 percent of people who were unhappily married in the late 1980s, and stayed with the marriage, indicated when interviewed five years later that they were happier. Indeed, three fifths of the formerly unhappily married couples rated their marriages as either "very happy" or "quite happy."
Divorce Myth 10: It is usually men who initiate divorce proceedings.
Fact: Two-thirds of all divorces are initiated by women. One recent study found that many of the reasons for this have to do with the nature of our divorce laws. For example, in most states women have a good chance of receiving custody of their children. Because women more strongly want to keep their children with them, in states where there is a presumption of shared custody with the husband the percentage of women who initiate divorces is much lower. Also, the higher rate of women initiators is probably due to the fact that men are more likely to be "badly behaved." Husbands, for example, are more likely than wives to have problems with drinking, drug abuse, and infidelity.
Copyright 2002 by David Popenoe, the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J.
David Popenoe is professor of sociology at Rutgers University, where he is also co-director of the National Marriage Project and former social and behavioral sciences dean. He specializes in the study of family and community life in modern societies and is the author or editor of nine books. His most recent books are Life Without Father: Compelling New Evidence That Fatherhood and Marriage Are Indispensable for the Good of Children and Society and Promises to Keep: Decline and Renewal of Marriage in America.
Accoring to The Department of Justice, Child Support Initiative, Evaluation Report, August 1997, divorce rate in Canada is about 48%. What it means is, one marriage out of every two marriages end up to divorce. But remember that for many, divorces and marriages are repetitions.
Some facts about the divorce rates in Canada
Almost 75% of Canadian divorces are being initiated by women.
One year after separation or divorce, 50% of children of divorced or separated families never see their fathers again.
First marriages have about a 50% chance of ending in divorce , that risk becomes greater with each successive marriage (about 72% for second, and about 85% for third marriages).
Are divorce rates in Canada going up or down? Statistics Canada presents us with the following rates of divorce throughout the years:
|Years||No. of divorces||Rates per 100,000 population.||Rates per 100,000 Married Couples|
|* Reform of Divorce Laws ** Divorce Act ("no fault") *** Peak year|
How common is remarriage in Canada? About 75 and 65%, respectively, of divorced men and women remarry. The probability of remarriage between the years of 35-50 for women is 48% compared to 61% for men. For younger women between 25 and 35, the probability is 66% and closer to 80% among men. Therefore, it is obvious that age discriminates against women: the older they are, the lower their chances of remarrying. But this is not the case for men. Such is the double standard. One has to consider that an unknown proportion of this 25 to 35% of men and women who do not remarry do cohabit. But this is more likely to happen for younger divorced persons than older ones, and more likely for men than women. Nevertheless, older cohabitants after a divorce are also becoming more numerous.