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Eschewing the term 'divorce' as Canadian marriages change

Go back 60 years and the idea of marriage was relatively uniform: a man and a woman would marry, often in their 20s; have children; and remain married until one spouse died. Of course, there were exceptions to this formula, but most households in Calgary of that generation were based on marriages that were very similar. Things have certainly changed: from same-sex marriages to the rise in common-law relationships to individuals marrying and divorcing several times over.

Now, The Vanier Institute of the Family, a national organization that researches families, is considering a name change when it comes to its divorce-based research. According to the CEO, divorce just doesn't accurately represent the different ways in which Canadians enter and exit relationships anymore.

While this change doesn't necessarily mean that every end of a relationship is going to be peaceful or cordial, there are many people in Calgary and across the country that are turning to collaborative law to resolve family law issues. By using alternative methods of dispute resolution, couples may be able to make easier the transition from being coupled to being single.

Collaborative law also works for less-traditional marriages, such as common-law couples. With the number of common-law couples growing by 14 percent between 2006 and 2011, there needs to be effective ways to end these relationships, as well.

When the head of The Vanier Institute talks about the traditional concept that marriages were to last a lifetime, she references the fact that people didn't live as long back then. Now, there is far less stigma associated with men and women ending relationships when their partners are no longer the good fit they were when younger.

Source: Calgary Herald, "'Conscious uncoupling' pretentious but signals real trend," Misty Harris, March 28, 2014

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