The Smart Divorce® Weblog

Move forward with focus, hope, and confidence.

Should So Many Couples Choose Divorce?

3 Comments

From the Huffington Post

Deborah Moskovitch

Divorce Coach, Author, Speaker, Guide, Radio Host

Should So Many Couples Choose Divorce?

Posted: 01/15/2013 12:17 pm

*This article first appeared on more.ca

Have you ever stopped to ponder why the divorce rate has risen so dramatically over the past 50 years? When my parents married in the 1950s the divorce rate was minimal. According to Statistics Canada, in 1951 there were only 5,270 divorces in all of Canada. The number rose dramatically to a staggering 70,226 divorces in 2008 — a whopping 1,232 per cent increase in total divorces over 50 years.

This compares with an increase in the total population of only 139 per cent. Divorce was a rare event previous to the first world war with a rate of less than one per 1,000 of the yearly number of marriages, says Stats Can. And I suspect the statistics are not too dissimilar in the U.S., although the hard numbers are usually ten times that of what occurs in Canada. For example, the number of divorces in the U.S. in 2008 was reported at 840,000, by CDC/NCHS National Vital Statistics System.

There has been significant progress in divorce reform, making it easier and fairer to obtain. Researchers would most likely agree that not only has divorce become more socially acceptable, but divorce laws have also changed to provide a more equitable resolution for many since the late 1960s. The amendment to the Divorce Act to permit the reason for divorce as no-fault (in other words, no-blame divorce) has radically altered the factors influencing the decision to divorce.

In other words, divorce has become less of a stigma — you don’t have to prove fault, and there is more fairness in addressing financial concerns for the disadvantaged spouse. In addition, there has been extensive research on the impact of divorce upon the family, children, social outcomes and so much more.

This learning has enabled the development of more effective resources to help the divorcing individual. No longer does one feel forced to stay in a marriage when there is a serious breach of trust, or any kind abuse. These are very positive outcomes of divorce reform.

The grass isn’t always greener, so why the high divorce rate?

But, knowing what we do — that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, that divorce can be hard on children, lifestyle is often diminished, and the divorce rate rises with each subsequent marriage — why is the divorce rate still so high? Has the traditional wedding vow promising to love and cherish each other in sickness and in health until death do us part lost its meaning? Or, have expectations about marriage and what we want out of a partner changed over the years, resulting in this dramatic rise in divorce.

Choosing to divorce is certainly not an easy decision. For most, the decision to divorce is a result of a great deal of soul searching and questioning. While the legal system for divorce is far from perfect, it is significantly better than it was in the 1950s. But, upon closer examination, it appears that changing attitudes towards relationships and marriage have impacted the divorce rate over the last 50 years. I spoke with one of the foremost sociologists and researchers in North America, Dr. Paul Amato, who has conducted extensive research on marital quality and stability.

To read the whole article and view the HuffPost slide show click here

Author: The Smart Divorce

Deborah Moskovitch went through a seven-year battle that nearly overwhelmed her emotionally and financially. Now she is using her experience, as well as insights that she has garnered from top divorce lawyers, financial advisers, counselors and other experts to help people get a “smart divorce,” as they move through life post-divorce and to advise them on how to position themselves for a better life post-divorce. She is acting as a divorce consultant, helping people choose their lawyers, strategize their approach to divorce, and deal with the negative emotions that can make divorce worse than it has to be. Her goal is to help people manage the divorce process in a healthier, less painful way.

3 thoughts on “Should So Many Couples Choose Divorce?

  1. Hello readers, this comment is from my colleague Lisa Decker:

    Deborah, great question here. As a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, I hear a variety of reasons why people get divorced. The vast majority of my clients fall into the trend called, “The Gray Divorce Revolution.” In fact, I wrote a blog post regarding this studies on this subject – http://divorcemoneymatters.com/have-you-heard-of-the-gray-divorce-revolution.

    In my practice one of the first things I do with clients is discuss the consequences of divorce and the impact on the children (even grown children). Many times I will send them for marriage counseling first before they make the final step to divorce. I want them to make sure they are not left with divorce regrets later on, but for the majority they have made up their minds that they can no longer live with the situation at hand and want to move on with their lives. Other times, their spouse has made that decision for them.

    I also believe that substance abuse is leading to more divorces. Another new factor at hand, what has been termed “Financial Infidelity,” essentially reckless investing or spending without the knowledge and/or approval of the other spouse.

    In general, I think that people aren’t willing to stay in situations that they are not happy in. I often wonder if making it more difficult to get married by requiring some classes on effective communication and basic money management perhaps (let’s throw parenting into the mix) might help prevent some of those doomed to divorce from the start.

    Thanks for asking the question. It’s certain to stimulate conversation!

    Lisa C. Decker, CDFA
    http://www.DivorceMoneyMatters.com

  2. Well Deb, society’s attitude towards divorce has surely changed. No more “Scarlet Letter”. It reminds me of the old joke about how many Jewish grandmothers does it take to screw in a light bulb? None. It’s OK I’ll just sit in the dark. Couples no longer have to live in misery. One good and happy parent is better than two unhappy lousy parents. Let’s make couples go before a Judge to answer questions before they get a marriage license. Or sign a 5 year marriage contract with an option to renew. I bet this would reduce the number of domestic violence cases dramatically. Thanks for the article.

  3. In your article, you asked: “Has the traditional wedding vow promising to love and cherish each other in sickness and in health until death do us part lost its meaning? Or, have expectations about marriage and what we want out of a partner changed over the years, resulting in this dramatic rise in divorce.”

    Good questions. As a divorce lawyer, I’m often asked my opinion about the cause of the high divorce rate. I of course don’t have the magical answer, nor is there only one answer. However, I think one of the main reasons is contained in your questions. I.e., “yes,” I think people have higher expectations from their partner. In other words, the traditional wedding vow promising to love forever, despite how terrible the relationship may become, especially due to poor behavior of a spouse, no longer applies. People’s expectations about their partner and the relationship seemed to have changed, and continually change, likely contributing to the high rate of divorce. But, is such change in expectations necessarily a bad thing, or is getting divorced when a relationship is destroying a person a bad thing?

    There are a variety of reasons it is wise for a person to get out of a highly problematic relationship, which I won’t list here (as one can use their common sense to recognize and understand such reasons). Would it be better to stay in a terrible relationship that continually harms those involved, rather than move on and open up opportunities for a better life, which would also be more positive for any children of the relationship? The answer appears to be obvious based on the high divorce rate.

    Of course, each case is unique, and the decision shouldn’t be made in anger, nor taken lightly. The decision should be well thought out. Hiring a “coach” like yourself beforehand is a great start, so a person can make an informed decision. A consult with a divorce attorney is also wise, as well as exploring marriage counseling (if appropriate, e.g., no domestic violence).

    Much more can be discussed on this topic. However, in answer to your questions, yes, society evolves, including people’s attitudes, and what they expect from relationships.

    But, instead of focus on divorce as the problem, perhaps it’s best to address the high divorce rate up front by requiring relationship counseling before a marriage license is issued. As one of the commenters to your article said, the counseling could include topics such as money management and communication. It should also include lifestyle choices, common goals, addressing potentially conflicting family and extended family values, house and life management, etc. Education never hurts.

    There could also be a waiting period of at least 6 months, just like there is when getting a divorce judgment in CA. If I were in the legislature, I’d advocate for such changes to the law, which I think would reduce the number of marriages that are destined to fail due to improper or no premarital planning and related poor decisions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s