Using material from Item 2B and elsewhere assess the view that the main reason for the increase in the divorce rate is changes to divorce laws (24 Marks)
According to the item the proportion of marriages ending in divorce has increased from 27,000 to almost 55,000 between 1961 and 1969. Although the changes in law might have an impact on the divorce rate of couples, I think that other factors are just as important or maybe even more important than changes to the law.
The divorce reform act was introduced in 1969 and so couples were able to get a divorce without needing to prove adultery, cruelty or desertion. But to decrease the divorce rates, the government only accepted divorce requests from partners that have been living separate for at least 2 years. This law only increased the divorce rate as the item suggests that from 1969 to 1973 divorce rates doubled again.
Another factor that could have an impact on change in divorce years is changes in position of women. From 1959 to 2005 the proportion of working women increased from 45% to 70%. This shows that women are now more independent due to changes in their economic position so it is correct to say that availability of welfare benefits means women no longer have to be financially supported by their husband. Feminists rightly argue that the more independency of women creates a new source of conflict between couples, leading to more divorces. This argument is logical, because women tend to get divorced because they know that they can earn money and live independently in society.
Also, Decline in stigma and changing attitudes could be causing divorce rates to increase. According to Since 1960s stigma has declined and divorce has become more socially accepted. Wilson (1966) argues that this reduction in stigma is a result of secularisation, the decline of religion in modern society. less than half of today's marriages involve religious ceremonies. He also believes that the attitudes towards the effect...
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