If We Were Meant to Be Why Are We Getting Divorced?
In recent years, newspaper and magazine articles, books, and television shows have focused on the subject, "Are you the one for me?" This question is one of the most common topics of discussion among friends and family. I have traveled to many places, and I have heard many a discussion on this subject while sipping coffee in a café, sitting in a bar, or waiting for a bus. We think about and dwell on this question by ourselves, we talk to acquaintances, and we confide in our closest friends. We appear to take this stuff pretty seriously. We would all have to agree that committing ourselves to a relationship, and eventually to marriage or a common law relationship, is probably one of the biggest decisions we will make in our lifetime. Most of us eventually come to a decision that, yes, "this is the one for me," and make such a commitment. I guess my question is that, if we are examining this question with such scrutiny, why is it that one out of two marriages ends in divorce?
Figures released by Statistics Canada for the year 1992 showed the following divorce rates, by country: Canada, 48.02%; United States, 51.44%; United Kingdom, 48.93%; France, 55.43%; Russia, 46.8%; Australia, 37.79%; Sweden, a staggering 58.93%. The statistics are not all doom and gloom: Spain had a rate of 10.9%, Mexico was at 7.78%, and Italy was at 8.56%. This, of course, does not insure that people in Spain, Mexico, and Italy choose partners more wisely and have happier marriages; the lower divorce rates may be related to factors such as cultural and religious beliefs (e.g., a taboo on divorce). Statistically, second marriages are even less successful than first marriages: it looks as if we do not learn anything from the first time around! As for third or fourth marriages: well, I have to wonder whether these people just like having a party. These statistics are on legal marriages, only. The statistics have not even explored the failure rates of common law relationships, where percentages may be even higher. It's only a matter of time before the statisticians come up with those numbers for us. It is not uncommon today for an individual to have had two marriages, and a couple of common law relationships during his or her lifetime.
One factor that may be affecting the rate of divorce is the ease of obtaining a divorce. Over the last twenty years, it has become increasingly easy and more socially acceptable to become divorced. Individuals in the state of Arizona now can divorce their spouses without even telling them, courtesy of the automated Quick Court. The system allows a couple, or either partner, to file for a legal separation in just 20 minutes. The machine also allows you to sort out child custody issues. It even allows an abused partner to file for an order of protection, which becomes effective in 24 hours. Once processed, the system prints out a form that the couple or individual takes to a clerk in the courthouse for filing. Six weeks later, the final divorce arrives, with minimal involvement from either party. The cost is only $30, plus court filing fees. Using a lawyer for the same process could cost thousands. This system makes divorcing easier than getting a driver's license, and has processed tens of thousands of divorces since its introduction in 1994.
Divorce has become a big business in the world today. Due to the demand, more lawyers are choosing to specialize in divorce and family law. Waiting lists are common when seeking an appointment with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or mediator who specializes in divorce and custody issues. Divorce is not a cheap proposition: it is not only supporting the lawyers and the medical professionals like psychiatrists, but provides revenue for real estate agents, movers, furniture and appliance stores, even baby-sitters. Also, let us not forget our local travel agent, because if the divorce has been long, messy, and drawn out, everybody is going to need a holiday to recover from it all!
Yes, indeed, divorce is a big money maker. In March of 1996, publisher Dan Courvette introduced Canada to his Divorce magazine. Launched in the Toronto, Ontario market and published quarterly, Divorce is now in its fifth year. Toronto was just the starting point for this magazine. Publisher and divorce entrepreneur Courvette now boasts a flourishing circulation of 110,000 from 4 different regions: California, Illinois, New York / New Jersey, and Ontario. Expansion of Divorce magazine continues with a new website and with plans to launch a national edition of the magazine by the end of the year. Articles seen in this magazine highlight such topics as "A Fairy Tale divorce" -- describing how a nightmare marriage can have a happy ending. Another article, "The Money Trap," describes how two nice people turn into gladiators bent on destruction. Of course, as in any magazine, it is full of advertisements by lawyers, accountants, realtors, mediators, and dating agencies looking for business. In the Toronto issue of Divorce, there is a full-page ad from Telepersonals, luring readers to get back into the dating scene.