Mitchell and goody (1997) claim that important changes since the 1960's has rapidly declined stigma attached to divorce. This implys people attitudes towards is no longer the same and that people have more choice in their marriage. It also shows divorce would increase as in terms that your decision is valued by society and you may even get support.
The past 40 years have seen the views and opinions on marriage and cohabitation change significantly at a rapid pace. Culture has played a big part in these changes, and has given the outlook on marriage, what some would describe as a totally different meaning and outcome. Today it's felt by a considerable portion that the 'traditional family' that marriage forms, is under threat and that there is less of a emphasis on the family as an institution. Rather, marriage and family today, focuses on the emotional needs of two individuals – A statement taken from Philosopher Brenda Almond in 2006. The late 60's early 70's saw marriages in the UK grow, reaching the highest peak recorded in the history of the UK in 1972 at 480,000, however by 2001 this figure had dropped to 206,000.
Over the last forty years marriage and cohabitation patterns have drastically changed due to various reasons and changes in society. Firstly I will look at the changes in first marriages. In 1951 there were approximately 330,000 first marriages in the UK, whereas in 2009 there were only 190,000. This clearly shows the dramatic decline in first marriages. The reasons for this decrease are due to a change in social norms and a decline in social stigma.
In 1961 the number of divorces increased from 27,000 to 153,000 by 2006. The number doubled and doubled again by the 1970’s. By the time a child is 16, one in four of them will experience a parental divorce. The changes in the law take huge part for the changes in the divorce rate. We know that in the past, divorce was very hard to get as it was only legal for the men to file a divorce.
This paper seeks to provide an overview of some of the social science findings related to the effects of marital disruption on children. Divorce and life in a one-parent family are becoming increasingly common experiences in the lives of parents and children. Prior to the 1960s, divorce in Canada was rare. However, following the adoption of the new Divorce Act in 1968, which made divorces more accessible in all provinces/territories and allowed marriage breakdown as grounds for separation, the number of divorces increased dramatically. According to Dumas and Péron (1992), between the end of the 1960s and the mid 1980s, the divorce rate increased fivefold.
The patterns of marriage, divorce and cohabitation over the past 40 years has varied quite significantly. In 1972, the highest ever number of couples (480,000) since the Second World War got married. Now, obviously there is a reason for this. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), this was due to the baby boom generation of the 1950s reaching marriageable age and these people choosing to marry at a younger age compared with previous generations. However, after this period, the number of marriages in England and Wales then went into decline.
On the one hand, it can be said that legal changes are the main reason for the increase in divorce over the last forty years due to acts brought into force, such as the Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1984. This act allowed couples to divorce at least one year after marriage, instead of three years, which is what the law enforced before. This meant that people were divorcing sooner and therefore less issues within marriages were being resolved and more marriages were being ended. This is because before, when people had to wait three years before they could divorce, they would often work on the issues in those years, and sometimes move past them and fix the marriage, whereas after the act came into force they could possibly divorce as soon as an issue arose rather than having to deal with it. This is highlighted by the numbers of divorces over the past forty years – in 1974, ten years before the Matrimonial Proceedings Act, there were 113,500 divorces in England and Wales.
People are more comfortable and confident to call for a divorce or an annulment. Divorce rates have increased significantly, this is a big explanation for the increase in single parent families and household in the U.K One reason for this is that religious orders are not as respected as they were in the early nineteen hundreds. The “stigma” of divorce is greatly reduced in society today prior to how it was in the early nineteen hundreds, so people no longer feel ashamed to be divorced. Also people now demand more from marriage and if it does not live up to the ideal they hold then they will get divorced and try again - this explains the growing number of remarriages. In the nineteen hundreds, women couldn’t live and depend on themselves to make ends meet; therefore it was compulsory and essential for women to be married as they depended on the man incomes.
Identify and explain some of the changes that have taken place in family structure over the last 50 years. (20 marks) Over the past 50 years, there have been many increases and declines in types of family for several reasons. One of the biggest changes has been the rapid decline in the number of nuclear families. A nuclear family consists of a heterosexual couple and normally two children. In the 1970’s, the divorce laws changed meaning that a person could divorce their spouse for any reason, rather than only being able to divorce before if there was some type of wrongdoing before.
Over the past 100 years there has been a declining rate in family sizes in the UK, birth rate across the UK has also decreased. The birth rate is the number of live births per 1000 of the population per year. Since the 1900 the birth rate has been decreasing with the exception of the ‘baby booms’ after the wars and during the 1960’s, but still the overall birth rate has been decreasing with time. There are several social factors which contribute to these changes, Since the early 1900’s women were married and starting a family at an early age and if they weren’t they were frowned upon, however over time the position of women in society has changed and their status and power is much higher than it was before. The changes that occurred include greater equality, rights to vote, rights to divorce, work opportunities and the availability of contraception to control their fertility, due these factors women are no longer frowned upon on for having ambitions and goals to achieve before they settle down and start a family.