In applying cost-benefit analysis to post-relationship family challenges, this paper has asked three questions which are perhaps more familiar in public health than in legal discourse. First, why does the unhealthy condition in question arise? Second, how can the condition, or its worst symptoms, be prevented before they arise? Third, given that prevention will not be fully successful, how should we respond to or treat the problem when and to the extent that it arises within the population?
Each potential response to family challenges has its own constellation of costs and benefits. Only some of these costs and benefits are capable of quantification and comparison. This paper has sought to identify reforms which seem to have benefits in excess of their costs. Harmonious with the findings of the Law Commission’s public consultations, many of these proposals involve moving the point of public intervention earlier in the lifespan of the family, or earlier in the lifespan of the conflict. The Law Commission may conclude that, in Ontario’s response to post-separation family challenges, an ounce of prevention is indeed worth a pound of cure.
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