The Canadian Divorce Act: The Practicality Of An Age Old Document In Modern Day Society

1126 words - 5 pages

In the past ten years, the Canadian government has created and passed laws and regulations that would not have been predicted by the general public only a couple of decades ago. Gay people can now marry, pot was temporarily decriminalized, and obesity has been declared an epidemic. Despite all of this, the Canadian Divorce Act has remained one of the few documents that is still reflective of modern societal values and continues to be a valuable resource for individuals seeking a divorce. The following four areas of divorce law clearly demonstrate how the application of the Divorce Act 1985 is beneficial to both spouses; child custody, the division of assets, child and spousal support, and the grounds for divorce.The Divorce Act allows a couple to divorce as long as they are able to prove that there was a marriage breakdown. A marriage breakdown can be demonstrated through either a one-year separation period, one spouse committing adultery, or one spouse being physically or mentally cruel to the other . The one-year separation period allows couples to re-examine their feelings toward each other, without being officially divorced. During this time, many couples decide to remain married. If this separation period was not mandatory, couples would have to go through the trouble of divorcing and remarrying. Since the Divorce Act 1985 was put into effect, and redefined what constituted a marriage breakdown, divorce rates have steadily declined .Child custody is one of the major issues a couple faces when getting a divorce. Couples are able to make their own child custody arrangements as long as both parties are in agreement. However, if they are unable to agree, a judge will make this decision . In the past, custody was typically rewarded to the mother on the basis of the tender years doctrine. The doctrine stated that since women were the child bearers, they were instinctually the better parent . Today, a large number of men have adopted roles that are typically held by a women, and an equal number of women have taken on jobs that are traditionally for men. The present Divorce Act acknowledges this shift in attitude. The tender years doctrine now serves as a mitigating factor, rather than as a crucial determining factor for child custody.While married, a couple must support each other financially. If one spouse has become financially dependent during the marriage, he or she will become financially disadvantaged after a divorce, due to a lack of job experience. The Divorce Act prevents this by requiring the wealthier spouse to pay the poorer spouse money in the form of spousal support . This money is intended to relieve the financial hardship that often follows a divorce. When determining the amount of spousal support one spouse should give the other, the judge must consider the length of the marriage, the ability of one spouse to support the other, and pre-existing monetary agreements . The gender of the wealthier spouse is irrelevant. Given that a...

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