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Law Commission of Ontario


intimate relationships, family law, public health, Law Commission of Ontario, dissolution


Family relationships are both a source of profound satisfaction, and a source of profound challenges for Ontarians. All family relationships end eventually, and it is not always death which does them part. At least 40% of intimate relationships between adults are eventually terminated by the choice of one or both parties.1 Some intimate relationships dissolve painlessly. Many others, however, create serious challenges when they end, both for the individuals involved and for Ontario as a whole. From the province’s point of view, these family challenges can be analogized to a public health problem. The malady in question is not generally fatal, but it is certainly widespread.

This paper considers first the problem, then the prevention, and finally the treatment. In so doing, it deploys cost-benefit and economic lenses as analytical tools. This paper has been prepared for the family law procedure project currently being conducted by the Law Commission of Ontario (LCO). The LCO’s work will also draw together research on interdisciplinarity in the legal profession and the results of a broad public consultation with Ontarians. This paper will refer to the findings from these consultations, and seek to relate them to the existing scholarly literature. This paper also includes tentative reform recommendations where they seem to be justified by the research.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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