Monday, December 02, 2002

The number of failed marriages grew in 2000 for the third year, says StatsCan

Canadian Press

OTTAWA (CP) - More marriages went on the rocks in 2000, the third consecutive year of growth in the number of divorces, says Statistics Canada. "A total of 71,144 couples had a divorce finalized in 2000, up a marginal 0.3 per cent from 1999, and up three per cent from 1998," the agency reported Monday.

Year No. 4 proved most hazardous. "After the first anniversary, the divorce rate was 5.1 per 1,000 marriages. This increased to 17 divorces after the second anniversary, 23.6 divorces after the third, up to the peak of 25.5 after the fourth anniversary."

After the fourth year, the risk of divorce decreased slowly for each additional year of marriage.

Sixty per cent of divorces in 1999 and 2000 were in marriages of less than 15 years.

"Following amendments to the Divorce Act in 1985, the number of divorces increased more than 20 per cent in 1986 and 1987. In 1987, an all-time high of 96,200 couples had their divorce finalized," the agency said.

"Of the 37,000 dependants for whom custody was determined through divorce proceedings in 2000, the custody of a slim majority - 53.5 per cent - was awarded to the wife. This proportion has been in steady decline since 1988, when custody of 75.8 per cent of dependants was awarded to the wife only.

"Custody of 37.2 per cent of dependants was awarded to the husband and wife jointly in 2000, continuing a 14-year trend of steady increases in joint custody arrangements. Under a joint custody arrangement, dependants do not necessarily spend equal amounts of their time with each parent."

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