- Since 1960s, great increase in amount of divorces in UK. Doubled between 1961 & 9169 & again by 1972. 1993 - peaking at 180,000. fallen to 157,000 in 2001.
- 40% of all marriages will end in divorce.
- 7/10 divorce applications come from women.
- Marriages at higher risk include those who marry young, have a child before they marry, cohabit before marriage & those where one or both partners have been married before.
- Reasons for divorce increase:
- Changes in the law - Divorce cheaper, grounds for divorce widened. Desertation, legal separation and empty shell marriages.
- Declining Stigma & Changing Attitudes - divorce is more socially acceptable than in the past.
- Secularisation - tradition and religion is playing less of a role in marriage.
- Rising Expectations of Marriage - that love is only reason for marriage. No love = marriage pointless
- Changes in the Position of Women - women less dependent on husbands, paid work, equality in pay, girls have better success in education.
New Right: high divorce is undesirable because it undermines the traditional nuclear family. Creates an underclass and boys do not have an adult male role model.
Feminists: high divorce rate desirable because it shows that women are breaking free from oppression.
Postmodernists: high divorce rate is giving individuals freedom. Cause of family diversity.
Functionalists: high divorce rate does not prove that marriage institution is under threat. High rates of re-marriage show peoples commitment to idea of marriage.
Interactionists: everyones interpretation of divorce is different.