The Upswing of Divorce

Essay by gatorjohn1College, UndergraduateA+, April 2009

download word file, 2 pages 0.0

Downloaded 7 times

The Upswing of Divorce

A radical change that has taken place in today's family is a surge in the rate of divorce. This change is supported plainly in census information. A result of this change has been a sizeable growth in the quantity of single parent families and the related difficulties that this brings (Kilmartin 34). It can be reasoned that the best explanations are to be found within a wide socioeconomic structure. One reason for the growing trend of divorce has focused on changes in laws relating to marriage. For example, Bilton, Bonnett, and Jones argue that increased rates of divorce do not necessarily suggest that families are now more unstable. Bilton and company therefore believe that changes in divorce rates can be better explained in terms of changes in the judicial system (Bilton 245). It could be argued that reforms to family law, as well as the increased rate of divorce that has accompanied them, are the result of more basic changes in society.

Another type of explanation is one that focuses strictly on these broad societal changes. For example, Nicky Hart argues that increases in divorce and marital breakdown are the result of financial changes that have affected the family. One example of these changes is the raised material aspirations of families, which Hart suggests has put stress on both spouses to become wage earners. It would appear that Hart's explanation cannot account for all cases of divorce - for example, marital breakdown is likely to happen in families where only the husband is working. Nevertheless, her approach, which is to communicate changes in family relations to broader social forces, would seem to be more probing than one that looks solely at legislative change (Haralambos 364-5). The two explanations described above have very different implications for social...