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Divorce and common law relationships in Canada

According to the 2011 census, there are more women than ever living in common-law relationships in Canada. Analysts believe that this may have resulted in an overall drop in divorce rates -- especially with regard to Canadians under the age of 50.

The data revealed that 11 percent of women living in Canada were members of common-law partnerships. This represents an increase of 3.8 percent since 1981. The survey was conducted to include 14 million women in Canada ages 15 and up.

Meanwhile, even though common-law relationships among younger people have always been more prevalent, it appears that such relationships are also on the rise among older women. With women aged 50 to 54, 1.7 percent were engaged in common-law unions in 1981 and this figure rose to 11 percent as of 2011.

During the last 30 years, it has become easier to get a divorce in Canada and this has resulted in an increase in women who are either separated or divorced -- the number has more than doubled. Among women aged 50 to 59, 21 percent have gone through a divorce or separation. Meanwhile, among younger women, only 12 percent of ages 35 to 39 have gone through a divorce, which has dropped considerably compared to 1991 figures, which were 16 percent.

Experts believe that divorce rates are dropping because more people are avoiding marriage and choosing instead to engage in a common law relationship. Still, there are a lot of married Canadians who will be going through the divorce process this year. In order to facilitate a stress-free divorce process, these Canadians may wish to seek the aid of an experienced divorce lawyer.

Source: CBC, "Common-law relationships on the rise, divorce falling," accessed March 11, 2016

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