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Only acts of war and the events of natural disasters are more harmful to a childs psyche than the divorce process The Newsletter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 1997 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 years separation the divorce rate reached an all time high of 355 per 1000 in 1987 Campbell 2000 In 2000 Canadas population reached 307 million 14 million people had divorced as opposed to 146 million who remained married Canadian Stats 2001 The Canadian divorce rate is 246 per 1000 with an average of 73000 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 childrens 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
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