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Reasons for the change in divorce since 1969

By Malkanthie Oct 12, 2013 1300 Words
Examine the reasons for changes in the divorce rate since 1969 (24 MARKS)

An easy solution or a sweet escape, the trend continues to increase and has reached its peak point . It is proven 50 out of 100 people will retrieve this or go through this procedure ,divorce . This the legal ending to a marriage and has become more popular than marriage it self since 1969 . There are a variety of reasons people continue to get divorced , The most popular of these are the change in the law , secularisation ,declining stigma / change in attitudes ,rising expectations of marriage and changes in the position of women .

Firstly the most obvious reason for the upward trend in divorce is the changes in law . Law has become more lenient on this subject because in the 19th century women had to have extreme reasons to obtain a divorce and were under several observations before they were even allowed to petition and prior to 1857 could only be taken by the act of parliament .The grounds for divorce was low however as times changed as did matrimonial acts and in 1979 the government expanded the grounds of divorce by allowing the “irretrievable breakdown” a reason for divorce which then doubled the rate of divorce . Another legislation that increased the divorce rate is the equalising grounds act which was implemented in 1923 . This gave women an equal chance to petition for divorce and as soon as this legislation came to place women’s petitions boomed excessively .Also In 1985 the matrimonial and family proceedings act allowed couples to get a divorced minimum one year into there marriage rather than three therefore giving couples more leeway and allowing them to give up quicker . Cost of divorce is another factor that the government controlled to earn revenue and stop people from getting divorces however in 1949 government lowered cost of divorce and introduced the legal aid and advice act which then gave people who could not afford divorce accessible to divorce .Equalising grounds and widening grounds as well as reducing cost were all government doings and all these legislations and changes have influenced the increasing divorce rates since 1969 .

Law cannot take full blame for the increasing divorce rates as these laws do not encourage divorce but make it more easier therefore people’s attitudes should also be taken into account as they are the ones who take advantage of what the law indicates .In society today it has become a norm for a couple to get divorced , instead of finding solutions they resort to divorce not because they have the right to but because now it is socially accepted to get a divorce . stigma which is a negative label or shame which is attached to a person has reduced because as more and more people do It , it has become ‘okay’ to get divorced to support this in 1997 Jack Goody and Juliet Micthell ( sociologists )carry out research and discover that the bad name of divorce has changed and its more accepted . In the 19th century and before this it was actually a shame to become divorced and in certain cultures across the world it is still ashame however in the western society it has become not only a trend but just a misfortune rather than being a shame . Society tends to follow trends and stigma reduces as acceptance increases . therefore as you can see the increase of divorce since 1969 is due to the change of stigma and attitudes .

Stigma however is influenced by secularisation which is another reason for the increasing divorce rates . secularisation is the downfall in the influence of religion in society . Most people live lives based on how they are taught in their religion subsequently before making the decision of having a divorce religion will be taken into consideration however however sociologists say that society has become less secular . Now less than 50 % of marraiges involve a religious ceremony and in 2001 it was proven that more than 43 % of teenagers belonged to no religion . These statistics are some of many which prove that religion has dissolved and soon will no longer exist . Sociologist Wilson (1966) says that secularisation is the cause of reduction in stigma and the idea of a marriage which is lifelong blessed by God whichever God this might be is invalid as people do not participate in religious activity and do not believe anymore . due to this decrease divorce rates have changed as churches do not complain too much about divorce as they are scared to loose most of their community .

The ideal love story is what everyone wants . The happily ever after and the stereotypical ‘finding the one’. The belief of marriage is soley based on loved . Functionalist sociologist Ronald (1966 ) agrees and says that the rising expectation of marriage has pushed divorce rates . Another two sociologist who back up this argument are Graham Crow & Graham Allan (2001) . They input that love and personal commitment are the cornerstones of marriage . The rising expectation of marriage has led to divorces as people continue to seek for the perfect one who may or may not exist . In the past marriage was set by parents and in some cultures marriage is still arranged however arranged marriages now decrease as people now seek personal fulfilment and love dominates marriage . Dennie (1984) regards western style marriages based on romantic love as fragile because they are only held together by emotional ties. This change in expectations has pushed the divorce rates since 1969 upwards .

Finally the Position of women in society and the revolutionising of their role has had a major impact on the divorce rates . Through the eras women have been oppressed and bound to the house work and childcare however feminists have fought for women’s right and brought women to the society they are now . A society where women are paid now and in 1959 only 47% but in 2005 it increased by 23% to 70% . This increase shows just how far women have come ,however is their independence the reason for the boom and increase in the divorce rates . In 1969 and before this era women were not indepedant they depended on their husbands financially and therefore If they wanted a divorce they could not afford and would be homeless however now women can work and have rights to work also the introduction of welfare benefits for women who get divorced has therefore led women to substitute their husbands for the state . As women’s rights increase and more go out into the working world they may feel more valued at the work place and therefore conflict may occur at home . Arlie Hochschild backs up this argument with his research from 1997 where he states that love and value from work can create problems at home . Feminists also say that as women have become breadwinners , housewives and taken on emotional burden , they undertake something which is called the triple burden . By undertaking this women feel stressed and overwhelmed and thereby will resort to a divorce . Wendy sigle also says that working mothers have a higher divorce rate than household mothers . Overall all analysis and data shows that position of women changing has created conflict and aroused the divorce rate to increase .

In conclusion Divorce rates are escalating due to changes in the law and the freedom for people to go and get a divorce , by the change of attitudes and less shame of getting a divorce , secularisation and the reduction of faith in a God , by the expectation of a romantic novel as a pose to life and finally the change and revolution of where women were and where they are now . All these reasons have elaborated the divorce rates however we can see that each reason pushed one to another .and there are many other reasons however these are the key reasons and most popular reasons which can be identified in society today .

By Noeline Gunaratnam

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