Repeat Divorces Up in Canada

Statistics Canada says repeat divorces — those involving a spouse who has been divorced before — have tripled in 30 years. Here’s a brief description from the Statistics Canada site. In 1973, only 5.4% of divorces involved husbands who had already divorced at least once. 30 years later, that figure has increased to 16.2%. The increase is similar for wives, from 5.4% to 15.7%.

Throughout Canada, the divorce rate remained stable. There were changes within provinces, however; the most striking was in Newfoundland and Labrador, where the divorce rate plummeted 21.4% in a year.

No explanation yet why there has been such a drastic change in Newfoundland and Labrador. My guess, though, is that if you look carefully at what’s going on, the answer will have less to do with marital bliss in Newfoundland and Labrador than with some procedural difference among the provinces that is causing people to cross borders to get their divorce. I’ve already speculated about that in New York.

In terms of the longevity of the marriage, the most frequent year for divorce was the third year of marriage. The risk of divorce decreased slowly for each additional year of marriage.

My favorite story about divorce after a long-term marriage was the couple standing before the judge after 62 years of marriage. The judge asked — as most any of us would — “why, after all this time together, are you getting a divorce now?” Their answer: “We were waiting for the children to die.”

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