Is marriage still worth it? That’s the question that’s on the minds of The Goldwaters this episode.

Anne-France and Daniel Goldwater are both family lawyers, and Samantha Goldwater-Adler is a family therapist, so their experience extends beyond just the personal.

One of the things Anne-France has seen through her practice isn’t just the worst part, when people’s marriage are falling apart, but she’s also seen the best of these relationships. When explaining why their marriages need to end, they tell the whole tale of their lives together, starting with the good times. It’s given her a broad perspective on the arc of many relationships.

“You have a great retrospective view of how marriages have actually functioned,” she said.

In Quebec at least, marriage still holds a special legal place, above other relationships. Anne-France and her firm Goldwater-Dubé represented the pseudonymous Lola in the Eric v. Lola case. At stake was whether common-law relationships in Quebec stood on the same level of marriages, and whether common-law spouses were eligible for things like alimony.

“As I argued in the Eric v. Lola case, the patterns pertain to marriage have changed. Before, the entryway into adult life and the founding of a family was via the door into marriage. Marriage as an institution. That has been completely turned on its head now,” Anne-France said. “People will become adults, will cohabitate, will buy their condo or house, rent a car, buy a dog, have a pussycat, have a kid or two. And then, five, 10, 20 years into a relationship then marry as a celebration of a commitment already lived.”

She argues this sort of thing leads to more stable relationships, because there’s already an established commitment between the two people. But there is a problem.

“This is all great if the relationship lasts the five, 10, or 20 years until marriage is attained,” Anne-France said. “But there’s a fallacy in that. The commitment is still the same commitment at the same time, and if in the course of this trajectory there’s a relationship breakdown, then the partners don’t have the protections from each other or the children…that there would exist if they were married.”

Despite all of that, the Supreme Court declined to overturn Quebec law, turning the issue over to the provincial legislature, which has so far declined to address the issue.

More than just the legal aspects, the family also gets into the philosophical aspects of marriage. And they also talk romance, and what makes for a happy couple. They also give their tips on what they’ve seen makes for a lasting, happy union and what you can do to keep your relationship on an even keel.

And one Goldwater makes an announcement about upcoming nuptials…

Further Reading

  • Anne-France Goldwater: Eric v. Lola “I think it’s interesting to know how the courts look at marriage in the modern world, and I’d recommend the judgement in Eric and Lola,” Anne-France said. “All the women judges considered it discriminatory for the government of Quebec not to give protections for common-law spouses.” She said it’s interesting to see the way the gender split on the Court affected the outcome of the case. And she said the language is accessible and it might just stimulate some discussion in your own home.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Susanne Nilsson/Flickr



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