Legal information and insight from Edmonton lawyers

Half of Those Thinking About Divorce Reconsider a Year Later (CBC)

| August 1, 2017 | by Kimberley Ketsa

The University of Alberta, together with Bringham Young University in Utah, conducted a study which concluded that half of those who consider divorce will have changed their mind a year later.

​"The study suggests half of those considering divorce had a significant change in their feelings when they were asked again a year later.
‘Marriage has its ebbs and flows,’ said Adam Galovan, a family scientist in the University of Alberta’s Department of Human Ecology and co-author of the study.
‘A lot of them just need some time.’
Of those who said they thought about divorce in the past, but not recently, about 90 percent said they were glad they stuck it out with their spouses."

This study reflects what law makers put in place years ago. Under federal law (the Divorce Act of Canada), you must wait one full year after the date of separation before you can be permitted to get divorced. This is the default rule, unless other extraordinary causes can be proven. You also must swear that there is no possibility of reconciliation. In essence, the Government wants to make sure the separation is permanent, and that the parties are certain in their decision to end the marriage, before granting a divorce.

Did you know that lawyers have an obligation to be sure as well? Section 9 of the Divorce Act reads as follows:

 Duty of legal adviser
9 (1) It is the duty of every barrister, solicitor, lawyer or advocate who undertakes to act on behalf of a spouse in a divorce proceeding.
(a) to draw to the attention of the spouse the provisions of this Act that have as their object the reconciliation of spouses, and
(b) to discuss with the spouse the possibility of the reconciliation of the spouses and to inform the spouse of the marriage counselling or guidance facilities known to him or her that might be able to assist the spouses to achieve a reconciliation.

Lawyers need to make sure their clients have really considered the possibility of getting back together, as well as options such as marriage counselling, before filing for divorce.

Deciding to end a marriage is a major legal decision, but is an extremely emotional decision as well. It can be very helpful to speak to a neutral professional, such as a counsellor or therapist.

Marriage counsellors, family therapists, parenting coordinators and others can assist couples that have a chance of reconciling. If there is no chance of reconciliation, they can also assist in the separation process, helping parties to reach an amicable divorce settlement.

Read the original CBC/Canadian Press article here.​​

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