Devry Smith Frank LLP

January 07, 2014 10:00 ET

Happy New Year... I Want A Divorce!

Poll: Canadian Couples Staying Surprisingly Civil During 'Divorce Month'

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 7, 2014) - It's a well-known phenomenon in law offices across the country that January sees a surge of couples heading for divorce. Whether it's a desire to start the New Year with a clean (and single) slate, the need to stay together for one last holiday season or the ease of splitting up after the last family visit, most couples choose January to put divorce proceedings in motion.

A recent poll by Devry Smith Frank LLP, Toronto's largest legal firm outside the downtown core, shows surprisingly optimistic views on divorce heading into this time of nuptial negativity:

Key findings in the poll:

1) 74.3% of respondents believe that they can, in fact, divorce amicably.

2) 32.0% of respondents are most concerned about the financial impact of divorce

  • 20.3% cited 'other' concerns. Write-in answers ranged from 'Christian beliefs,' 'age,' and 'vows,' to 'still being in love with [their] partner.'
  • 19.6% want to 'stay together for the kids.'
  • 19.2% want to 'avoid the stress of a divorce.'
  • 2.8% are choosing to hold off through holidays and summer vacations.

3) Canadians are greatly concerned about the division of assets in a divorce:

  • 39.2% cited division of assets as their greatest financial concern when getting a divorce.
  • 26.6% were concerned with legal fees.
  • 14.0% cited 'other financial concerns' ranging from 'age' to 'unfair settlements,' to 'supporting themselves.'
  • 12.6% cited spousal support.
  • 7.5% cited child support.

"We expect to see our calendars fill up every January with appointments to explore divorce proceedings, but we'd never expect such optimism from Canadians about keeping divorce amicable," said Julie Tyas, a Devry Smith Frank LLP lawyer with almost 7 years' experience in family law. Tyas cites the number of amicable divorces somewhere closer to "1 out of 10."

According to Tyas, any couple considering a divorce can save stress, time and money by keeping things amicable. She advises couples to stick to three simple rules to avoid an ugly divorce:

  1. Talk the talk. Speak with your partner about how you would like to move forward with your separation. Agreeing on a particular process in advance of any heated dispute will keep you focused on resolving the issues surrounding your separation as amicably as possible.

  2. Get your financial house in order. The exchange of full financial disclosure with your partner is always recommended and often required. This financial disclosure forms the basis upon which negotiations for settling property, child and spousal support issues may reasonably and openly occur.

  3. Avoid behaving recklessly. Unless you want to enter the expensive, backlogged and arduous court system in the blink of an eye, maintain the status quo in terms of your financial responsibilities and best interests of your children. While going through a separation is often grueling, you do not need to make it worse for yourself and your family.

"Couples don't usually prepare for divorce, supporting why 74.6% of Canadians polled have never considered it," added Tyas. "The reality is that divorce rates are continuing to rise, and difficult conversations before initiating any type of dispute resolution process can help to ensure a more amicable separation."

About Devry Smith Frank LLP (

Devry Smith Frank LLP (DSF) is Toronto's largest law firm outside of the downtown core. Since 1964, DSF has been a trusted advisor and advocate for corporations, individuals and small businesses. DSF is a dedicated group of over 50 lawyers, offering a broad range of legal services to our individual, business and corporate clients. We are driven by delivering value to our clients in all that we do. DSF's clients are corporations, institutions and individuals who come from all industries and walks of life including: insurance companies, banks, amusement park designers, printers, doctors, dentists, plumbers, lawyers, assembly line workers, photographers, and many, many more.

The Devry, Smith, Frank LLP poll was conducted December 16-27, 2014, using Google Consumer Surveys.

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