Canada’s Changing Attitudes towards Marriage: Shulman & Partners LLP discuss Marriage Statistics in Canada

As Canada evolves, so too will the institution of marriage. Understanding the trends of marriage is essential for social scientists, policymakers, individuals, and family law lawyers so we can navigate the new and complex landscape of modern family structures and relationships. Consulting statistics we find that marriage is still an important institution for many Canadians, while acknowledging its significance has shifted considerably from its historical context in response to ever-changing cultural and economic landscapes. 

Canada has seen significant societal shifts in response to far greater individual autonomy, evolving social norms, and our economic realities. 

Shulman & Partners LLP, family law lawyers are here to help you understand your legal rights in the face of Canada’s changing family structures.

The Origins of Marriage in Canada

We should first explore the institute of marriage from its diverse origins, which are drawn from both Indigenous and European Influences. Canadian Indigenous people had established their marriage systems long before Europeans arrived. To Indigenous Canadians, Marriage was a sacred bond that had its roots deep in cultural beliefs and communal ties. 

Interestingly in addition to arranged unions, they also practiced polygamous relationships. Then came the Europeans, bringing with them their Judeo-Christian traditions. To Europeans marriage was more than a personal union: it had legal and economic implications and contracts that were regulated by both state and church. These traditions were more focused on legal frameworks and religious ceremonies. From here are the bones that have shaped the institution of marriage for centuries to come.

The Origins of Family Law and Family Law Lawyers

As vital as marriages were to the survival of the colony in Canada, marriage contracts were now viewed as contractual relationships and were to be regulated by the state. The basis of legal marriage in Canada was religious until the mid-19th century because it followed English law. 

Then the Constitution Act of 1867 arrived, changing Canada’s geographical and marriage landscape significantly. The Act conferred legislative power over marriage to the federal government, while the provinces still retained the right to solemnize marriages. Early Canadians would have begun to see the need to seek advice from lawyers, and specialties in family law started to emerge.

Once the legal aspects of marriage became a predominant consideration they appear to have significantly impacted the behaviour and attitudes of Canadians toward marriage. We are also interested in exploring marriage statistics in Canada that paint an interesting picture.

Marriage Rates are Declining

A noticeable trend is the gradual decline in marriages all across the country. As of 2021, only 37.75% of our Canadian population declared they were in traditional marital unions, a significant decrease from the historical count. This trend is particularly noticed amongst Canada’s younger generations which have seen the most significant decrease over the past few decades compared to other age demographics.

Changing Demographics

Today we find that cohabitation before marriage has become the new normal, with one survey showing that 71% of Canadian adults agree to living together before marriage. With Canada’s appetite towards marriage shifting away from the traditional and turning towards new and alternative relationship structures such as cohabitation, it becomes interesting from our family law perspective.

Implications for Family Law Lawyers, Divorce Laws, and Separation Lawyers

As one of the best divorce lawyers in the family law field, we see helping you navigate Canada’s changing relationship landscape as a rewarding challenge. We find that most Canadians choosing to move away from the traditional marriage institution do not realize that these non-traditional family and marital relationships still have legal ramifications. Most commonly overlooked is that cohabitation partners do not have the same legal protections as married couples, especially looking at property and children. This isn’t to say that  Canada’s married spouses are not without their issues, particularly in the event of a divorce. With the changing of the times, working as Family Law Lawyers we find ourselves termed not divorce lawyers but separation lawyers.

As your Family Law Lawyers, Divorce Lawyers, or Separation Lawyers, we aim to educate our clients that love and commitment are often not enough in a common-law relationship or marriage and it is of equal importance to understand the legal implications. It is important to understand exactly what the ramifications of your chosen relationship arrangements are, whether you are a partner or spouse, to prevent future separation (if necessary) from becoming messy. From property division to child custody agreements, we find legal ramifications and necessary protections will also vary depending on provincial laws. Seeking guidance from a knowledgeable Family Law Lawyer like our practice will ensure you and your family will be protected if a change in circumstances occurs. 

At Shulman & Partners, we specialize in family law matters and issues both in Toronto and Ottawa, drawing up legal agreements from marriages to cohabitation.

We strive to be the best family law lawyers by empowering couples and individuals with the knowledge and resources that foster stronger, more resilient families that can navigate life’s challenges with love and confidence. Looking at the statistics reflecting Canada’s changing landscape and its implications for your relationships may seem overwhelming so we are more than happy to address any concerns or questions you have. 

At Shulman and Partners, we believe that being professional, transparent and honest with our clients is the key to ensuring we resolve your family law matter on a positive note. We bring stability and control to an otherwise unstable situation. The approach we take is to listen to and communicate with our clients so that we can create a custom plan that accommodates their wants and needs. We pride ourselves on being able to de-escalate conflict, implement stability and reach a resolution for our clients. 

Our aim is to always make sure you can confidently move on with your life and leave the divorce behind you. Shulman and Partners, promote personalized and compassionate legal support. You can contact us through live chat, phone, or face-to-face, or visit us at our Toronto and Ottawa offices. 

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