Stay at Home Fathers

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The Origins of the Ambivalent Acceptance of Divorce

Andrew J. Cherlin discusses divorce and non-marital childbearing in this article. He began by giving a response to Margaret Usdansky’s sociological study on depictions of single-parent families in the 1990‘s. Non-marital child birth has remained less accepted in society over time and is still looked down upon.

Divorce is the legal way to dismiss a marriage. When colonist first came to the New World they descended from both the Catholic Church and the Church of England. The Catholic Church did not allow divorce but did allow annulment if a marriage was conducted illegally. The Church of England was established by Henry VIII when he was denied annulment by Pope Clement. Divorce remained illegal in Europe until 1857. The colonist followed the thoughts and writings of Martin Luther who wrote that divorce should only be allowed under two conditions: desertion or adultery. Overtime divorce laws kept becoming more and more relaxed despite the efforts of President Roosevelt insisting that these laws had to be tightened, due to the fact that not many states took action. Divorce overtime has become more and more common and has become more socially acceptable. Americans views on family life even began to change overtime and divorce was becoming the most popular decision if you faced any relationship trouble. In Athwal 2

the 1970s only one in twenty couples were getting divorced and today almost one in every four couples get divorced. Divorce should be controlled to some extent because overtime marriage is going to lose significance. Non-marital childbearing used to be substandard to say the least. The colonies as well as England considered children born outside of marriage to be “illegitimate”. These children barley had any legal rights. Children in the 1800’s were mainly valued for there labor. Men were in control of both their wives and their children. If a marriage was ever annulled the...
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