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Should So Many Couples Choose Divorce?

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

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

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Learning From Your Divorce

There are many lessons that we can learn from divorce, and these are shared in Weddings& Honeymoons magazine. I was recently interviewed by Nicole Gioseffi of Weddings & Honeymoons at the Divorce Party , to find how to keep the honeymoon thrive, despite the high divorce rate.  This is what was shared:

Marriage Tips for Couples at Divorce Party

Marriage tips for couples at Divorce Party

By: Nicole Gioseffi

Divorce is not a dirty little secret anymore rather it has become a common and normal part of life for many.

Divorce can conjure feelings of anger, frustration, sadness and resentment. How can true happiness occur with such emotion at the forefront?

The key to moving on is finding out how to let go of that anger and frustration and yes even finding the ability to forgive each other. For many, this is easier said than done.

Luckily, there are ways and outlets available to divorces that will help them in finding their inner peace.  Outlets such as self-help books, dating services and special events geared for single and divorced individuals.

On Friday September 21, 2012 Canada’s largest Divorce Single and Mingle Party was held downtown Toronto at the Capitol Entertainment Theater. Although the event was called a “Divorce Party”, you did not have to be divorced in order to attend. The event was organized so that like-minded individuals could have the opportunity to meet new people and be comfortable in their own skin. The event offered a live DJ, wine tasting, a fashion show and the opportunity for people to listen to keynote speakers who specialized in the area of divorce.

One of the keynote speakers was Deborah Moskovitch, pictured on right with W&H writer Nicole Gioseffi, who is a divorce coach, speaker, educator and author of the book The Smart Divorce.  Deborah speaks from experience as she herself has been divorced for 16 years.

She explains that her divorce was a difficult time in her life and finding the ways to overcome it was a challenge. She said the most important thing you can do individually is to heal at your own speed and learn to forgive and let go. Through the process of her divorce, Deborah channeled her emotions into writing her book, which helped her heal. The book is equipped with proven strategies and valuable advice.

Click here to read the whole article and the vital advice.

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Keeping the Family Foundation Grounded

Family is The Foundation of Our Society

I interviewed Dave Quist of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada on The Smart Divorce on Divorce Source Radio.  Tune in to hear this great perspective and ideas on keeping the family together.

The health of our children, communities and nation depends on strong families. The institute of marriage and family Canada (IMFC) states that the aim of society and government policy should be to protect and support this foundation.  How is this accomplished?

David QuistOur guest, Dave Quist, Executive Director of theInstitute of Marriage and Family Canada  ( outlines the many challenges facing families today, and provides ideas for overcoming the obstacles for confronting families in our fast paced society. Mr. Quist has been an active participant in an annual, international meeting of think tanks who collaborate to advance the position that marriage and strong families act as a protector against poverty.  This is a energetic conversation brimming with ideas for developing stronger, healthier family relationships.

Topics include:

  • Staying connected with the “family dinner”
  • Pre-marriage counseling
  • The challenges of family financing
  • Understanding the “me” generation
  • How to make relationships stronger with your children and within your marriage
  • Making marriages successful rather than divorce easier
  • What co-parents need to understand so that children become positive contributors to society
  • The cultural shift of marriage
  • And, so much more……

The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC) conducts, compiles and presents the latest and most accurate research to ensure that marriage and family-friendly policy are foremost in the minds of Canada’s decision makers.

To hear the interview click on the link:


Divorce Rates in Canada on Decline: But So Are Marriage Rates

I have been quoted in The Huffington Post to provide an understanding of what might be going on with the declining divorce rates.

Divorce Rates In Canada On Decline: StatsCan Numbers Show Fewer Cases

The Huffington Post Canada  | By Rebecca Zamon

Divorce is on the decline in Canada for the third year in a row, according to a new Statistics Canada report. In a paper entitled Divorce Cases In Civil Court, 2010/11, author Mary Bess Kelly details the number of divorce cases reported from Nova Scotia, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, representing 66 per cent of Canada’s population.

According to these statistics, 53,804 new divorce cases were brought to civil courts in 2010-2011, a two per cent decrease from the previous year, and a number that showcases a five-year decrease across the six provinces and territories (all numbers for Alberta weren’t available). But it’s not as simple as assuming husbands and wives are staying together more than ever. Marriage rates across Canada had started dropping a few years back, going from 150,505 in 2006 to 147,288 in 2008. As Kelly notes in the article:

Family structures in Canada are changing. The proportion of married couples has been steadily decreasing over the past 20 years while common-law unions are becoming more numerous. The proportion of lone-parent families has also been steadily rising since the mid-1960s (Statistics Canada 2007). Although the number and rate of marriages has been declining in recent years, the number of married couples is still much greater than the number of common-law couples in Canada (Statistics Canada 2011 and 2007).

“It makes sense to me, because more and more people are choosing just to live together, which probably is the reason behind the decline,” says divorce expert andHuffington Post blogger Deborah Moskovitch, author of “The Smart Divorce.” “It’s not like people are choosing to opt out of a relationship, but they’re not making it official.”

Click on the link to see the full article

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Can Divorce Cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Did you know that PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, affects more than just service members in the military?  PTSD results from exposure to a traumatic event, such as divorce – which could impact on how children’s lives unfold.

Dr. Robert J. Cipriano Jr. (, a preeminent Licensed Psychologist in Florida who specializes in police psychology and works for one of the largest police departments in the Southeastern part of the United States, shares his knowledge, experience and expertise on this manageable and treatable disorder.

Dr. Cipriano draws on his years of field experience to explain how trauma and violence can impact an individual’s psychological wellbeing; specifically recognizing signs and symptoms of the disorder, how it manifests, and how to work and interact with those who may suffer from it.

Topics include:

  • How to recognize the symptoms of PTSD
  • How stigma affects those that suffer from PTSD
  • Growing up in a household with someone who has PTSD
  • Helping children cope when a parent has PTSD
  • The myths and magical thoughts that others may have surrounding PTSD, especially stigma
  • Enhancing of Communication Skills & Interpersonal Relations

Join Deborah and Steve on the journey to understand this disorder.  Could you or a loved one have experienced PTSD as a result of a high conflict divorce or a traumatic event in your past?  Listen and learn, as Dr. Cipriano so wisely comments – “Education is empowerment, and empowerment can overcome fear, hopelessness and helplessness”.

Dr. Cipriano can be reached at info@SIMCIPGROUP.COM

To listen click on the link:

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Moving Out and Moving On: Overcoming Domestic Violence

Our guest, Sharon Zarozny of Brilliant Exits  ( shares her personal story of overcoming the trauma she experienced as a victim of Domestic Violence and abuse.  Domestic Violence can happen to anyone, and Sharon was hard pressed to believe that this was happening to her.  Fact was, as an educated woman who’d traded in a successful career to be a stay at home mom, there was no wayshe and her daughters were the “victims” of that ugly phrase “domestic violence.” Sharon’s family had the trappings of a privileged life thanks to her husband’s thriving surgical practice. He was a brilliant Ivy League grad. It just didn’t add up.

If you can identify, get a copy of Susan Weitzman’s book Not To People Like Us: Hidden Abuse in Upscale Marriages or check out Knowing you are not alone is so crucial to getting out. In your world that swirls with “unreals” and craziness, you’ll find this book/site a gift of validation. You’ll know you are not crazy.

Also visit The Weitzman Center and download the free Care Kit provided. It too will help you understand and safely plan for when you are ready to get out. And plan you must. When you leave a high earning, narcissistic professional you can be in for quite a rough ride through the legal system. Often the upscale abuser has the means, power and leverage to hire a legal dream team and use the courts to further the abuse.

To learn more about Sharon’s story, read her article that appeared in The Huffington Post:

To hear this important interview click on the link below

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TV’s Divorce Court Celebrity Judge Lynn Toler with Thoughts on Divorce

Our guest, award winner and mentor, Judge Lynn Toler ( is smart, talented and creative – and judge on one of television’s most successful courtroom drama series: DIVORCE COURT.

Judge Lynn Toler is a former municipal court judge who now hosts the nationally syndicated show, Divorce Court. She is also a bi-monthly contributor to News and Notes on NPR and became host of the prime time TV show Decision House in 2007. In 2006, Judge Lynn published her book, My Mother’s Rules: A Practical Guide to Becoming an Emotional Genius. Praised as an “awe-inspiring memoir” by Essence Magazine, it not only chronicles her life as a child raised in the shadow of her father’s mental illness but provides practical advice for anyone seeking more and better emotional control

Having completed more than two thousand episodes, on DIVORCE COURT, Judge Lynn Toler turns up the heat on court shows in this half-hour, relationship oriented series. Viewers experience the drama firsthand as husbands and wives square off in real-life courtroom battles.  Judge Lynn shares her wisdom and insight of the legal process, how to have a much smarter divorce…..or even save your marriage.  And, she speaks of her mission to gain awareness about teen violence.

Topics in this program include:

  • How communicating better might help you avoid divorce
  • What a judge can and cannot do
  • The emotions of court; what to do to get a better resolution
  • The inherent unfairness of no fault divorce
  • The surprising truth about teen violence and what parents should be aware of Domestic violence – an explanation, coping and managing
  • The limits of the legal system
  • Intelligent mediation
To hear this fascinating interview click on the link:

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How to Make Your Marriage Last

5 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married

This article first appeared on The Huffington Post, Weddings

While it sounds rather obvious, picking the partner that’s right for you is a sure-fire way to keep the love flame burning and your marriage last.

As a divorce consultant and educator, I’ve learned so much about why relationships don’t work — and the bottom line answer is that not enough communication and introspection have taken place to make the relationship work. People don’t really understand themselves and their partners. And, consequently, they make decisions to pair up for all the wrong reasons.

According to HuffPost blogger Jennifer Gauvain, 30 percent of women have an inkling before they walk down the aisle that they are going to marry the wrong person. If you want to ensure that you are in the 70 percent majority and are marrying for love and all the right reasons, I’ve outlined some thoughts and considerations. If you don’t know the answers to these questions, it is better to start the conversations now, before you say “I do,” than after and say “I want out.”

Considerations and Conversations:

1. Do you and your partner have similar social values and outlooks on life?

2. Have you discussed finances? Are you or your partner bringing in any debts to this union, and if so, do you have a repayment strategy? Are you a spender or a saver? What about your partner? And, if your spending styles are drastically different, how do you plan on overcoming these differences and work towards common goals?

3. Do you have similar life goals, like starting a family? Work ethic? Lifestyle? And if these ideals don’t mesh, then ask yourself if you can realistically overcome these differences together. If you can’t, is it in your best interest to stay together?

4. If you want children together, have you discussed religious issues (especially important if this is an interfaith relationship) parenting styles and family values?

5. Next on the agenda is to ask yourself what you want and need from a partner. Many people today are looking for their “soul mate” and someone to complete them. But, someone can’t make you happy, only you can really make yourself happy.

There is work required to really get to know your partner — isn’t it worth the effort to ensure a lasting, loving marriage? And remember, don’t expect that things will change once you get married. If your partner didn’t change while you were dating, what is going to be different once you are married? What you will have to change is yourself, your reaction to those behaviors and attitudes that you didn’t necessarily agree with.

Difficult conversations, constant communication, trust, respect and honesty, while not guarantees, will certainly help in keeping your soul mate in your soul, and not under your sole as you walk all over each other.

If you’ve made it this far and still want to say “I Do,” congratulations and may you have a long, happy and healthy partnership together.

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Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants

This program on The Smart Divorce radio show with Deborah Moskovitch features Elliott Katz, author of seven nonfiction books.  Elliott teaches the principles he shares in his book: Being a Strong Man a Woman Wants

After the end of a relationship, Elliott sought to learn about being a man in a relationship. He found books on marriage and relationships said little to him. He found powerful timeless insights in the lessons that fathers and other older male role models taught younger men. People started seeking his advice and would say, “Why didn’t someone tell me this before?”

Moving beyond the trendy ideas about a man’s role – that just don’t seem to work – Elliott shares insights on being a man that have withstood the test of time. Interestingly, these insights are the traits that he heard many women complain were lacking in men today – showing leadership, making decisions and taking responsibility.

Topics in this program include:

  • Why are women so frustrated with today’s men?
  • How does growing up without strong male role models affect men today?
  • The lack of “quality” men is a common complaint from women today. What happened to today’s men?
  • Does today’s strong woman today want a strong man?
  • What are the traits of a strong man?

Tune in and listen to what Elliott has to share

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What September means for divorce

Deborah Moskovitch offers helpful tips for assisting your children through divorce while starting the new school year.

Hello September, so long spouse


From Friday’s Globe and Mail

September is the cruellest month for students, but not for divorce lawyers, as the dusky end of summer brings a swell of clients to their offices each year.

“Fall is back to business time,” said Julia Cornish, senior family lawyer of Sealy Cornish Coulthard. The Halifax firm sees two spikes a year – September and January, New Year’s resolution time.

“Because we all spent so many years in school, it’s a point in our lives when we’ve been conditioned that this is when we do something new,” Ms. Cornish said.

Her office sees double and sometimes triple the normal number of calls in September. These are from new clients, as well as those who had initiated the separation process in spring but let it languish over the summer months.

“People want to get moving,” said Greg Walen, family lawyer with Scharfstein Gibbings Walen Fisher in Saskatoon.

“They’re back to work, they’re back from summer holidays and they’re back in town from the lake.”

According to Statistics Canada, the country saw 70,226 divorces in 2008, a number that’s held fairly steady since 2001. While there’s no official exit poll in September, Canadian divorce lawyers seem to agree: the calls come thick and fast this month.

Dinyar Marzban, senior family lawyer with Jenkins Marzban Logan in Vancouver, said empty nests motivate the September divorce spike.

“Fall comes around and children go to school. The category of people who rightly or wrongly hung in there for the children, maybe the last one’s gone away to university in September. There’s a fair amount of that, people waiting till the last kid’s out of the house.”

He points out that this brand of waiting game is usually reserved for couples who experience a “general dissatisfaction” in their marriages, not the cutthroat betrayals that prompt high conflict, low patience splits.

Many couples will have stewed for months or years before making the September phone call: “I don’t think people’s marriages break down then. It’s just that they start phoning lawyers then,” Mr. Marzban said.

For people waiting it out through a summer of family-filled days, “the dialogue they have with themselves is, ‘Can I hang in, should I hang in?’ ” Ms. Cornish said.

“It’s the same thing as trying to get through Christmas: Let’s get through this. Unless something catastrophic happens, nobody decides on Christmas Eve, ‘Some time today I need to go see a divorce lawyer.’ What they say is, ‘I’m thinking this probably can’t go on much longer. I’m going to get through Christmas and then come January, it’s time to make a change.’ ”

Of course, there are regional differences. Wendy Best, family lawyer with Dunphy Best Blocksom in Calgary, says that while city lawyers do see a jump in September, the real surge comes after July’s Stampede.

“We think it’s because everyone’s out Stampeding having a grand old time drinking non-stop starting at 7 in the morning. There’s all these stupid, ridiculous sayings like, ‘It ain’t cheating, it’s Stampeding.’ And the other person’s going, ‘Thanks, I’m done with you.’ ”

Stampede aside, several factors make summer an unpopular time for initiating a divorce.

“It’s not a lot of fun spending a beautiful summer day in your lawyer’s office,” Ms. Cornish points out.

Mr. Marzban sees it as seasonal lethargy: “People tend not to do anything in the summer. Summer, everybody powers down a bit.”

Another more tangible reason would be that all-inclusive getaway you splurged on together.

“Do you want to spring that on your partner before you go on the two-week holiday you’ve planned and saved for?” Ms. Cornish posits.

She adds that for those itching to split, summer also offers little in the way of momentum.

“It’s frustrating if you are trying to get things done, only to hear that your spouse is on vacation for the next two weeks, and then their lawyer’s on vacation for the next couple of weeks and then your lawyer’s on vacation. Typically courts have a much quieter schedule in the summer as well.”

At the same time, Ms. Cornish suggests summer can be the only time left in the year for reflection, a pause that can then spark the September phone call.

“It’s an opportunity to step back from the daily grind, figure out what’s working and what’s not in your life.”

How to help kids cope

The Smart Divorce author Deborah Moskovitch offers some basic back-to-school help for parents who have decided to separate in September.

Get thee to the principal’s office

To avoid awkward moments between your child and a teacher unaware of the new family dynamics, try to eke out a moment with a principal or vice-principal, who can relay the news. “They know how to handle it with their teachers,” said Ms. Moskovitch, adding that this is crucial if pick-ups are being handled by a parent unfamiliar to staff. “Parents often change the guard at school, rather than going to the other parent’s home to pick up the children. This way, the teachers are aware of what’s happening if they see another parent they’re not used to seeing.”

Get on the school list

If you weren’t the parent manning the school e-mail list, get your own account now, Ms. Moskovitch said. “Make sure that you get report cards mailed to you – register your second address. If there are field trips, you can put your name on the list to be one of the parenting guides. It shows the kids that you care and want to be involved.”

Homework for all

Moving out doesn’t exempt a parent from helping the kids with their homework, especially if they’re particularly strong in a subject. “If you were married, the kids would come home from school, have snacks and maybe some playtime and then they would do their homework.” Recreate that discipline at your place.

Pass notes

“A lot of parents use a journal that goes into the kids’ backpack as a tool to communicate with each other. It goes back and forth and they send notes about doctors’ appointments and assignments at school,” Ms. Moskovitch said.

Be flexible with visits

Between mountains of homework and extracurricular events, your children’s dance cards will fill up fast. Wednesday night pizza may not always be an option; try a lunch on the weekend or during the week if the school allows children leaving the grounds. “The parent can’t take it as a negative if the kids are busy with their friends doing school projects or hockey. They have to be creative in how they spend time with their kids, whether that’s driving [them] to the activities or having a quick dinner.”

Have the talk – most parents don’t

Ms. Moskovitch urges parents to speak with their children about the separation and anticipate their questions: Where they will live and go to school? “You need to give them a sense of security. If they’re already going to start the school year with a heavy heart because they don’t know what’s going on, at least you can try to minimize the confusion by having that conversation.”

To read this article in The Globe and Mail, and other articles by Zosia Bielski click on the link below: