Over 200 participants from Israel, the US and Canada, including Orthodox rabbis, judges, lawyers, scholars and women’s rights activists met to discuss solutions to the problem of agunot, women chained to an unwanted or non-existent Jewish marriage because their husbands refuse to give them a get (Jewish divorce).
As an Israeli women’s rights lawyer who has represented hundreds of agunot in the Israeli rabbinical courts during the past 33 years, I was impressed by the presentations and particularly encouraged by the call for community action.
Summit organizers expressed the hope that new scholarship as to halachic solutions and new political changes might bring about real change. High-profile speakers included Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, recently retired Supreme Court president Dorit Beinisch and the prolific and well-known Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz.
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It gives the reluctant party time to adjust to no longer being married, which may smooth the in-court process. It goes more quickly and amicably when both parties are ready to divorce.
2. Do you know why you want out?
As shown in the accompanying infographic, which is based on the latest Statistics Canada numbers available, Alberta is consistently among the provinces with the highest vice rates.
Alberta has the highest rate of divorce in the entire country.
According to Statistics Canada, in 2011 there were 327,024 people in Alberta who were legally separated or divorced.
In 2012 that number jumped to 336,198 people. That means in one year 9,174 people became legally separated or divorced in Alberta, which if you crunch the numbers is a growth rate of 2.73 per cent.
Lurline Ketler-Raposo, a registered clinical counselor and sociologist in Calgary says this could be for a number of different reasons.
She says that women are continuing to get better jobs that pay well, so they are less reliant on men for income.
“It’s easier to leave if you have the financial means to,” says Ketler-Raposo.
But when asked specifically why Alberta’s rates were so high, she could only speak from her own professional experience with couples and divorce.
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“Finding this link between parental divorce and smoking is very disturbing,” says lead author Esme Fuller-Thomson, Sandra Rotman Chair at University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. “We had anticipated that the association between parental divorce and smoking would have been explained by one or more of three plausible factors, such as lower levels of education or adult income among the children of divorce; adult mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety among the children of divorce, or other co-occurring early childhood traumas, such as parental addictions or childhood physical, sexual or emotional abuse.
“Each of these characteristics has been shown in other studies to be linked with smoking initiation. However, even when we took all these factors into account, a strong and significant association between parental divorce and smoking remained.”
In the study entitled “The Gender-Specific Association Between Childhood Adversities and Smoking in Adulthood: Findings from a Population Based Study,” investigators examined a representative sample of 7,850 men and 11,506 women aged 18 and over, drawn from the Center for Disease Control’s 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey. A total of 1,551 sons and 2,382 daughters had experienced their parents’ divorce before the age of 18. A total of 4,316 men and 5,072 women reported that they had smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their life.
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When Kerr and Baranow’s 25-year relationship fell apart in 2006, Kerr asked for an interest in the house. Baranow refused. The resulting court case dragged on five years and went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada before Kerr received a share.
Even as Kerr v Baranow plodded through the courts, the BC legislature took steps to stop similar litigation from happening again.
BC’s new Family Law Act, which replaces the 1978 Family Relations Act, will give common-law spouses living together in “marriage-like” relationships for two years or more an automatic right to wealth or property accumulated during their time together.
It will also make each spouse automatically responsible for half the other’s debt, whether they helped incur it or not.
This means that if you break up after two years of cohabitation, as of March 18, you will suddenly find yourself liable for half your ex’s student loans, credit card bills and mortgage. Property acquired before the relationship began is excluded, as are inheritances and gifts.
The whole deal kicks in automatically next month — no registration or recognition required. Couples who want to avoid sharing will need lawyers to write legal agreements in order to opt out.
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- 55% Sweden
- 46% US & Australia
- 43% UK
- 40% Canada
- 26% Israel
- 25% Switzerland
- 18% Greece
- 17% Singapore & Poland
- 15% Spain
- 12% Italy
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