rather dramatically to present day, with currently 40% of new marriages ending in divorce with its main peak in 1991 where there was 180,000. Although statistically there has been a decrease since then in marriages (In 2001 there were 157,000) it is still six times larger than that in 1961. The main trends showing in divorces is the rise of the female becoming predominant in filing for divorce as 7 out of 10 are women with the main reason being ‘unreasonable behaviour’. However, it has also been shown that there was an increase in divorce after 20 years of marriage and also less than 10 years. There are many coinciding factors that have affected this rise in divorce rates that are both Economic, Social and Legal aspects. Many sociologists have linked this decline to the supposed decline in the ‘nuclear family’, with perspectives like the new right functionalists describing divorce as creating ‘an underclass of welfare dependent female families’.
The main time frame I will be focusing on to compare the divorce rates to present day is the late 1960’s with the introduction of the Divorce Reform Act coming into play and the focusing point of this time. So It is apparent from this, that one factor for the increase in the number of divorces is the change In law which has been highlighted by many as one of the main underlying features of ‘modern divorce’. Although there was a divorce system available to couples, with the first divorce in Britain being in 1551 (as highlighted in Callan’s notes in ‘Brief History of Divorce’ 2002) that was dissolved by parliamentary proceedings with 300 divorces taking place from then up until the Divorce Act of 1857, which was a revolutionary point for relationships at that time, although it was only available to rich males and was too specific in the reason for divorce. The utility of this change in law is not as obvious to the 1960’s and onwards legal sector, but it has to be kept in mind the questionable reliability of divorce...
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