Prior to 1985, divorce was hard to obtain in Canada. However, with the passage of the Divorce Act of 1985, which allowed divorce after one year's separation, the divorce rate reached an all time high of 3.55 (per 1,000) in 1987 (Campbell, 2000). In 2000, Canada's population reached 30.7 million. 1.4 million people had divorced as opposed to 14.6 million who remained married (Canadian Stats, 2001). The Canadian divorce rate is 2.46 (per 1000) with an average of 73,000 divorces per year (Campbell, 2000).
Research indicates that divorce is a painful transition in the lives of all involved, especially children. Their wounds become more painful and troublesome over time. The impact of divorce steadily increases over the first three decades of children's lives (Children & Divorce, 2001). And, although the effects of divorce do not necessarily secure the failure of these children as adults, they do make the challenges of growing up even more difficult than they already are.
Divorce affects boys and girls in different ways. Adolescent males often become more aggressive and destructive, while females initially cope well (Wendel, 1997) However, in young adulthood, they develop problems. This is known as the "sleeper effect" (Wendel, 1997). When children of divorce reach their twenties and begin to engage in relationships of their own, some become afraid that they will repeat the failure of their parents (Wendel, 1997). Others develop a distrust of relationships, fearing they will be the ones abandoned or betrayed by their spouse (Wendel, 1997). Moreover, these children tend to get more caught in the cycle of drug and alcohol abuse, become sexually active at a young age, lack academic competence, have difficulty forming romantic relationships later in life, and lastly, feel a deep sense of