The Calgary Stampede is a well established cultural cornerstone of our city. Love it or hate it, unless you leave town entirely for two weeks in July, you can’t avoid it. Stampede can be credited as the place you fell in love, the reason you have a spring baby, or it could be part of the reason you’re filing for divorce.
Why are more people seeking divorce following Stampede week?
After 10 full days of pancake breakfasts, corporate parties, and deep-fried everything, our boots are wiped down and packed away for next year. We’re a little fatter, a little hungover and more broke than we were a few weeks ago. This emotional (and literal) hangover might bring a stinging realization that things need to change in your life and they need to change now.
Following the Stampede, our Calgary family law firm sees a significant increase in inquiries for divorce. Here are some of the reasons people file for divorce following the Stampede.
Cheating & Adultery
Corporate parties abound during Stampede week and people are out drinking a lot more than usual - often without their spouses in tow. Late nights at Nashville North are full of opportunities for someone to question if maybe life would be great being single. Many divorces are initiated because of affairs and infidelity and Stampede parties offer a lot of opportunities for these situations to arise.
Increased Drinking & Fighting
Arguing and drinking, and arguing about drinking, are unhealthy cycles in some relationships. Eventually, these arguments hit a tipping point where something has to give.
Alcohol abuse destroys families year-round. The spike in alcohol consumption and the extended duration of our 10-day party can cause huge stress on any family. For relationships that are already fragile or who have difficult boundary maintenance when it comes to drug and alcohol use, Stampede parties are likely to start a fight.
Unfortunately, alcohol is a fuel to the fire when it comes to fighting. It could be that alcohol consumption may be causing deception or dishonesty, or it could be physical. Of married couples who get into physical altercations, 60-70% abuse alcohol.
Financial stress is one of the most significant factors that can lead to divorce and it’s one of the ones that often gets overlooked when it comes to the Stampede. The financial burden of going to the grounds, attending events, and going out to parties on multiple nights is long-lasting and one that can really show the cracks in a relationship.
Unplanned pregnancies arising from a little Stampede fun can be a strain for an established relationship and financially devastating for those who are single. Working with a financial planner or debt counselor can help to reduce financial pressures and keep financial stress at bay.
Finding the right solution for your situation
Emotions are high. Feelings are hurt. You’re defensive and angry and disappointed, feeling like a failure.
Many of the stressors on your relationship can be worked through with the help of a professional. Be it dispute resolution, couples therapy, addiction treatment, or financial education, a lot of the common strains can be overcome. Seeking professional advice can help you better articulate and identify the issues in your relationship and communicate them with your partner. It can also help you to receive their perspective on what they need from you for a healthy relationship.
When you’ve reached the ‘last straw’ and are ready to file for divorce
We get a lot of calls following Stampede week from people who are ready to get divorced NOW. They’ve hit that breaking point and are ready to cut ties and move on. If you feel this way, you need to know that most marriages will need a one-year period of separation before finalizing a divorce. The Divorce Act (section 8(2)) provides that the breakdown of a marriage is established legally only if:
- The spouses have lived separate and apart for at least one year (most common ground for filing for divorce); or
- The spouse against whom the divorce proceeding is brought has committed adultery; or
- The spouse against whom the divorce proceeding is brought treated the other spouse with physical or mental cruelty.
If you are filing for divorce based on adultery, it must be the other party who committed the act of adultery. You cannot file for your own adulterous acts. When you apply for a divorce based on adultery you need to have evidence. It’s best to work with a divorce lawyer to make sure you have sound legal advice about custody, spousal or child support, division of property, and to ensure that you’re best represented in your case.
While it’s easy to point a finger at the Stampede and blame it for ruining families, it’s not the full picture. Most of the relationships that dissolve during or after Stampede have a history of events that are just now coming to a tipping point. If you’re experiencing an emotional hangover from Stampede that can still be worked through, address those issues now. If you need a divorce, contact us.