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Two York professors comment on divorce insurance now being offered in the United States

Two York professors comment on divorce insurance now being offered in the United States

James Morton, adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, and Anne-Marie Ambert, a retired professor in York's Department of Sociology, both spoke to Postmedia News November 5 about divorce insurance being offered to couples in the United States. The story appeared in the Montreal Gazette, among other outlets:

Because the “for poorer” part of marriage vows often comes with a nasty split, couples have a new type of contract to consider: divorce insurance.

A scholar at one of Canada’s leading law schools predicts the controversial insurance, recently unveiled in the U.S., will come to be “offered widely” in this country, where nearly two in five marriages — 38 per cent — are dissolved before the 30th wedding anniversary.

. . .

James Morton, adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, predicts we’ll come to see such insurance offered broadly across Canada. He notes that a lump-sum payout upon divorce may make more sense to some people than a pre-nup — or domestic contract, as it’s called here — because judges have “broad discretion to ignore” the latter.

He’s unsure, however, of how well the product will take off.

“It’s important to make sure the insurance is worth it,” says Morton. “If the matter is not contentious and the spouses are pretty well agreed, (divorce) costs should be fairly low — say, in the $5,000 range, all included. But if the matter is contested, costs can be enormous. I’ve seen cases with legal costs exceeding a million dollars.”

Divorce expert Anne-Marie Ambert likewise expects the insurance to breach our borders, partly because of the public perception that marriage is more fragile than ever. But a report she authored last year shows there are only 221 divorces per 100,000 population now, representing a sharp decline from 362 in the late 1980s.

“If you get this (insurance), you’re really stating, ‘We’re not going to make it,’” says Ambert, a retired professor of sociology from York University. “And let’s keep in mind that the insurance companies aren’t doing us a charity ... This really isn’t going to help those who need it most, which are poor people, or even plain middle-class people who can’t afford it either.”

Republished courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin