Assess the View That Changes in Divorce Rates Are the Result Only of Changes in Attitudes Towards Marriage and Divorce Essay

688 WordsApr 18, 20143 Pages
Assess the view that changes in divorce rates are the result only of changes in attitudes towards marriage and divorce One reason for the increase in divorce rates was the declining stigma and changing attitudes of divorce. Stigma refers to the negative label, social disapproval or shame attached to a person, action or relationship. In the past, divorce and divorcees have been stigmatised. Over time the stigma attached to divorce declined. Mitchell and Goody note that an important change since the 1960s has been the rapid decline in the stigma attached to divorce. As stigma declines and divorce becomes more socially acceptable, couples become more willing to resort to divorce as a means of solving their marital problems. This has lead to a sharp increase in divorce rates over recent years. In turn, the fact that divorce is now more common begins to ‘normalise’ it and reduces the stigma attached it. Important and influential celebrities also went through divorce during this time and so made it seem to the public that it was even more acceptable. Rather than being seen as shameful, today it is more likely to be regarded simply as a misfortune. However, there are also other factors that must be considered in having an affect on the rising divorce rates. Firstly, changes in the law meant a sharp increase in divorce rates. The changes made divorce much easier and more universal. They did this in three different ways; equalising the grounds for divorce between sexes, widening the grounds for divorce, making divorce cheaper. A key change in the law was the ‘Divorce Law Reform Act’. This act was passed in 1969, however came into effect in 1971. It made ‘irretrievable breakdown’ of marriage the sole ground for divorce, established by proving unreasonable behaviour, adultery, desertation, or separation either with or without consent. Divorce available after two

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