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Divorce Trends: The Centre for Mediation & Dispute Resolution Looks Back at 2012's Divorcing Clientele

 

January 1, 2013

For over thirty-one years, the Centre for Mediation and Dispute Resolution (CMDR) has been in the business of helping people reach agreements while preserving their ability to maintain future relationships. And, each year we look back at our client population, seeking to identify discernible patterns, changes and trends.  In considering our separating, divorcing, and post-divorce clients at the end of Year 2012, we have observed the following trends:

 

   ·     An increased number of clients who enter into shared physical custody arrangements, agreeing to long-term commitments to live near each other and to sacrifice, when and if necessary, relocating for employment and personal relationships.

   ·      An increased number of clients who have increased the family’s income by entry into the workforce or by increasing their working hours.

   ·     An increased number of clients who are seeking to divorce after the retirement of one party or both.

   ·     An increased number of clients who are seeking to re-activate their careers or to fashion new careers after more than a decade of being out of the work field.

   ·     An increased number of clients who anticipate being the recipient of a major inheritance.

   ·     An increased number of clients with excellent credit ratings, who are forced   to remain in homes with negative equity, owing more on mortgages than the value of the real estate.

   ·      An increased number of clients who are unable to refinance their homes to take advantage of historically low rates due to poor credit ratings and/or with carrying significant consumer debt balances 

   ·      An increased number of clients divorcing after long-term marriages with grown children.

   ·    An increased number of post-divorce clients who are first time mediation clients.

   ·    An increased number of clients who enter mediation after having been involved in hostile, even prolonged, legal battles.

   ·     An increased number of clients taking no-penalty withdrawals from retirement funds in order to purchase new property or to pay off debt.

   ·     An increased number of clients who have disabled children who require long-term care.


Trends and changes in the divorcing population mirror patterns seen in the nation, even the world. Our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, the volatility of overseas markets, political stalemates in Washington, not to mention gyrations in the stock market, and the “wait and see” attitude of the business community, influence marriages and divorces.

The recession and its unprecedented slow recovery have undoubtedly contributed to instability in families and exacted a particularly heavy toll on those struggling with separation and divorce. Personal concerns about managing a future after divorce become exacerbated by economic and political confusions and uncertainties. Mediation offers couples a clearer path, a reasoned and reasonable way to tackle the problems facing them. Agreements fashioned through problem- solving approaches lay the groundwork for future collaboration and cooperation in facing ever–changing family developments.

Years after their divorces have been finalized, our clients repeatedly attest that they have retained the tools to tackle new problems. In effect they have purchased, for long-term use, the process as well as the product.

 

 



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