Are Common-Law Marriages On The Rise In Canada? - Zukerman Law

Are Common-Law Marriages On The Rise In Canada?

Some interesting facts have come out suggesting that divorces are dropping in Canada while the common-law marriage is on the rise. It’s thought that the number of people living in common-law marriages have resulted in the drop in divorce rates, specifically among Canadians under the age of 50.

According to a 2011 Household Survey, there has been a massive increase in the number of Canadian women living in these relationships. For example, in 1981, only 3.8 per cent of people were in common-law relationships, whereas the 2011 total was 11 per cent.

Another large increase took place in those between the ages of 50 and 54. In 2011, the totals showed that 11 per cent of those in that age range were in common-law relationships as opposed to 1.7 percent in 1981. This trend is on the rise, and some statistics show that around half of those in common-law relationships are divorcees.

Divorces have become more easily accessible over the last three decades, which means that more people can get a divorce than ever before. Between 1981 and 2011, the number of divorces grew exponentially from 5.9 per cent to 13 per cent. Even more telling is the fact that 21 per cent of women who had been married and are now between the ages of 50 and 59 had been divorced or separated at least once during their lives.

Common-law marriages have their own legal difficulties, and separating parties may still want to work through property division or other factors with a lawyer and the courts. Things like child custody and property rights may still be divided much like in a traditional divorce.


Stuart Zukerman

Stuart Zukerman, a graduate of the University of British Columbia, has over 32 years of experience in litigation with a focus on Family Law, Personal Injury, Wrongful Dismissal claims, and Collaborative Divorce & Mediation. He has extensive trial experience in divorce, child custody, spousal support, asset division, and ICBC injury claims. As an accredited Family Law Mediator, he helps resolve disputes without court intervention. Stuart has also authored papers on family law and lectured at CLE courses.