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Divorced or separated senior Canadians on the rise

Some people in Calgary may think that the increased rate of divorce is a relatively recent phenomenon and a reflection of the younger generation's disregard for the importance of marriage. These people may be shocked to learn that the number of older Canadians who are either divorced or separated is on the rise. At the same time, it may be unfair to say that these seniors have given up on marriage or familial relations, as a large number of them are getting remarried or starting common-law unions.

The figures come from Statistics Canada and show that the number of Canadians 65 and older who are divorced or separated tripled between 1981 and 2011, from four to 12 percent. Moreover, the number of people between 55 and 64 years of age who are either divorced or separated grew to 20 percent by 2011.

Perhaps it was younger people who first started getting divorces in increasing numbers but that may have led to older Canadians to realize that they did not need to remain in unhappy relationships. If they wanted to strike out on their own or with a companion who was more to their liking, they could. Of course, in order to protect their financial interests while doing so required skilled legal counsel, but it was not impossible to start a new chapter in life. It is also likely that a number of older divorcees waited "until the kids are grown" to leave unhappy relationships.

Although 12 percent of Canadians over the age of 65 have divorced or separated, that hasn't prevented them from starting new families. As of 2011, 55 percent of women and 76 percent of men either remarried or started living with a partner. Apparently, optimism abounds - just because a first partnership didn't work out doesn't prevent many Canadians from entering another.

Source: CTV News, "More seniors are divorced or separated: StatsCan," Sonja Puzic, Feb. 24, 2014

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