One of these policies is the divorce act 1969; which has made it easier for couples to get divorced. Due to this, marriage has become less sacred which has made the family unit weaker. Couples may get a divorce instead of trying hard in the relationship to make it better. Another law affecting the family is the new deal 1998; which makes it easier for lone mothers to get back into paid work. This was introduced by the Labour party, who Lewis argues have taken on the idea of ‘social investment in children’ seriously and have realised family forms are changing.
For example, Bilton, Bonnett and Jones (1987) argue that increased rates of divorce do not necessarily indicate that families are now more unstable. It is possible, they claim, that there has always been a degree of marital instability. They suggest that changes in the law have been significant, because they have provided unhappily married couples with 'access to a legal solution to pre-existent marital problems' (p.301). Bilton et al. therefore believe that changes in divorce rates can be best explained in terms of changes in the legal system.
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.
People are also expecting more from marriage, and women especially are choosing to live alone due to feminist views. One reason for the growth in single hood could be the change in the law for divorce. In 1969 the Divorce Reform Act allowed people to divorce easier, as it meant they could put in place a no fault act. This meant that people didn't feel forced to stay in a marriage that made them unhappy. Furthermore, this would lead to a lot of people expecting more from relationships after getting divorced, as they wouldn't want to fall victim to what cause their last marriage to end again.
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.
This means children are now expensive to have and people do not have the money to have as many children as they used too. Medical advances have been a consequence to the changes in population. Due to improvements in midwifery and immunisation, the infant mortality rate has decreased significantly. This now means partners do not need to have as many children as it is more certain their child will live through their childhood. This was not the case at the beginning of the 20th century.
Secularisation means the decline of the importance / influence of religion in society. Due to science becoming more influential in a modern society, religion is no longer necessarily seen as such an important contributor. As marriage is a religious concept, it might also now be seen as somewhat less significant in society and many might not perceive it to be as valuable or important as it once was. Divorce could be the result of this as the decline of the value of marriage might lead people to believe it is not long term. A third reason for changes in the divorce rate is the changes in women’s expectations surrounding marriage.
Children are now living with one parents (a lone parent family), with another family member or are being adopted. Divorce was extremely hard to come across in the past, it was very sociallly unacceptable, and took around three years before the divorce was filed. However in the more recent years there have been laws passing in order to allow divoce to be easier and cheaper for families. In 1969 there was the introcution of the 'Divorce Reform Act', making it easier for married couples to get a divorce. It is notivable that religioin is becoming a decline, so more people are accepting divorce as they believe religioin is less important, whereas in the past religioin was highly important and the church would not accept people to remarry.
How much did social attitudes change in the years 1955-75? Between the years 1955-75 there were many changes regarding the law that seemed like it would have a positive change however did not make much of an impact on the social attitudes towards the issue. The main ones in my opinion are abortion, immigration, death penalty and homosexuality. The main change in the 60s in my opinion was the legalisation of abortion in 1967. In the view of the government this would have a good impact on society because it reduced the amount of children being put up for adoption, less people would go through back street abortion which was a very dangerous procedure and the government also believed it would reduce the amount of poverty.
If that happened in the US, the policies would not work to the advantage of the State for a number of reasons: the USA is not suffering from overpopulation, strategies to control the population have failed in a number of countries which have tried to impose it, and using birth control or abortion is unethical. This essay will discuss issue of population control and explain why the U.S. government should not limit the number of children a family should have. The total fertility rate (defined as the total number of children a woman is likely to have during her lifetime) in the USA in the last decade has been decreasing (Newman, B. & Newman, P., 2008). As many women concentrate on their educational goals and careers rather than on marriage and children, the growth rate of the American population has slowed significantly.