Evaluate the effect easy availability of divorce has on the increasing divorce rate

Topics: Marriage, Divorce, Family law Pages: 2 (576 words) Published: November 3, 2014
Evaluate the effect easy availability of divorce has on the increasing divorce rate

Divorce is the legal ending of a marriage. Debatably, the most influential factor in the increasing divorce rates is the easy availability of it.

Up until the 1920’s Divorce was largely unheard of and hard to obtain; only males were allowed to file for one, it was also incredibly expensive. However in 1923 thanks to changes in the law, the grounds were equalised for both genders and later widened to include desertion and cruelty, causing a resultant spike in the number of divorces to 6000 in 1936. In 1949 laws were again changed to provide legal aid, reducing the costs significantly making it far more accessible to the wider population not just the rich. By the Divorce reform Act of 1969 in which the grounds were widened significantly to include things such as ‘irretrievable breakdown’ the divorce rate had increased to over 30,000, and increased a further two-fold once the law came into effect. Now the number of divorces has reached approximately 40% of marriages.

As can be seen with the statistics, each change in law has made divorce more available and has led to a spike in divorce rates suggesting a correlation, between the two. However, sociologists would not all agree that this is the primary reason for the trends. Feminists would argue that changes in the position of women, for example improvements in their economic situation have had a large impact. Now, 70% of women are in paid work, compared to 49% in 1965. Subsequently, women are less likely to be financially dependent on their husbands and thus freer to end an unhappy marriage. Feminists also argue that women work triple-shifts within households, leading to conflict and leading to more divorces. Seventy percent of divorces are instigated by women, perhaps a reflection of the changing position of women in society and them no longer feeling the ‘need’ to be married, and perhaps a great influence in the increasing...
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