Examine the Reasons for Changes in the Divorce Rate Since 1969

1050 Words5 Pages
“Examine the reasons for changes in the divorce rate since 1969” In the past 30 or 40 years, there have been some major changes in the family and household patters. Since the 1960’s, there has been a great increase in the number of divorces in the UK. The number of divorces doubled between 1961 and 1969, and doubled again by 1972. The upward trend continued, peaking in 1993 at 189,000. Since then, numbers have fallen slightly, but where still pretty high at 157,000 in 2001 – about six times higher than in 1961. This rate means that about 40%of all marriages will end in divorce. About 7 out of 10 petitions for divorce come from woman. This is overwhelmingly high in contrast to the situation in the past. For example, in 1946, only 37% of petitions came from woman – barely half todays figure. The most common reason for a woman to be granted a divorce is the unreasonable behaviour of her husband. Some couples are more likely than others to divorce, those couples whose marriages are at greatest risk include those who marry young, have children before they marry or cohabit before marriage, and those where one or both partners have been married before. Divorce was very difficult to obtain in 19th-century Britain, especially for woman. Gradually, changes in the law had made divorce easier. The broadening of the grounds in 1971 to ‘irretrievable breakdown’ made divorce easier to obtain and produced a doubling of the divorce rate almost overnight. The introduction of legal aid for divorce cases in 1949 lowered the cost of divorcing which meant that divorce rates rose with each change in the law. However, although changes in the law have given people the freedom to divorce more easily, this does not in itself explain why more people should choose to take advantage of this freedom. To explain the rise in divorce rates we must therefore look at other changes too. These
Open Document