Affairs, Adultery & Spying

Research Shows: Spousal Cheating is the Leading Cause of Divorce in Canada

Written by Russell Alexander / (905) 655-6335

Would it surprise you to know that North American divorce rates have been on the decline in the past decade or more?   Or that infidelity or extramarital affairs top the list of reasons that most couples divorce?

Forbes Magazine has recently published intriguing statistics around the U.S. divorce rate. Among the interesting tidbits from the article is that the divorce rate has actually dropped significantly in the past 20 years:

In 2000, a total of 944,000 divorces and annulments occurred. The crude divorce rate was 4.00 per population during that year. By 2021, it had fallen to 2.5 per 1,000 population, with just 689,308 people divorcing that year.

The Globe and Mail likewise reported recently that the Canadian divorce rate has dropped over the last 10 years. For those who love statistics, StatCan reported the same kind of information – and much more.

After breaking down some of the comparative divorce rates by set demographics (e.g. by occupation, income, age, gender, ethnicity, religion and education level) the Forbes piece offers up some interesting tidbits on the most common reasons that people gave in the U.S. for ending their marriage.  “Lack of commitment” was the most prevalent explanation, followed by “infidelity”.

In that same spirit, here at Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers, we decided to take a little informal poll:  We asked our firm’s team of lawyers and support staff to rank the top reasons they hear from their own Canadian clients, about the reasons for their divorce.  In order of most-to-least common, they are:

  1. Infidelity or extramarital affairs
  2. Too much conflict and arguing
  3. Lack of commitment
  4. Substance abuse
  5. Domestic violence
  6. Getting married too young
  7. Lack of support from spouse
  8. Health problems
  9. Religious differences
  10. Little or no premarital education
  11. Other – including financial disagreements (e.g. mis-use of family funds, financial control etc.); lack of help with children; or a gambling problem).

Does it surprise you that infidelity/affairs dominate this list? What are your thoughts?

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About the author

Russell Alexander

Russell Alexander is the Founder & Senior Partner of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers.