Changing Family patterns

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Causes family diversity. 
Since 60's, great increase. 1993> 180,000 
40% of marriages fail.
7/10 divorce applications are from women.
Those who : marry young, have a child before marriage, cohabit before marriage, one or both have been married before .... - are more likely to divorce.

Explanations of increase 
1) changes in the law
2) declining stigma + changing attitudes.
3) secularisation
4) rising expectations of marriage
5) changes in position of women.

Before 1850, divorce was almost non existant.  

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1)Changes in the law

Divorce is easier to obtain. 3 Grounds : 
1) equalising grounds for divorce
2) widening grounds
3) making divorce cheaper (legal aid)

3 ways to solve unhappy marriages.
1) desertion > one leaves but remain married.
2) legal separation > financial + legal affairs separate ( remain married so cant remarry)
3) 'Empty Shell'- Marriage couple live under save roof but remain married in name only. 

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2) Declining stigma + changing attitude

people are more willing to result to divorce to settle a dispute. 

3) secularisation - decline in influence of religion.
Census 43% of youths cohabiting with no religion

4) rising expectation of marriage - people are unwilling to tolerate unhappy marriage.
Marriages were often little choice.
Feminists say oppression is cause of divorce.

5) Changes in position of women
Economic dependance means less dependance on men.
70% of women in paid work in 2005.
Equal pay laws/ women better performances in education/ availibility of benifits.
Conflict with me >> threat or percieved threat of domestic violence.
Feminists say women are concious of patriarchal control and confident about rejecting it.  

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The meaning of high divorce rates

The new right - High divorce undermines nuclear family./ divorce creats welfare dependant women/ boys dont have adult role model. 

Feminist- High divorce is good as women are breaking free from oppression

Postmodernists- high divorce gives individuals freedon/ causes family diversity.

Functionalists- Simply result of high expectations/ high re-marriage rate shows commitment to marriage as ideology. 

Interactionalist-  Doesnt mean we can generalise meaning because each individual is different. 

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Marriage- Fewer people are marrying. But many more remarriages.
4/10 marriages were remarrys.- this is leading to serial monogomy 
(marry- divorce- remarry)

people marry later 32 men 30 women- weddings less likely to be in a church.

Reasons for changing marriages patterns : 
changing attitudes / less pressure/ secularisation/ stigma to alternatives ( cohabitation/ single) changes in position of women- better educated/ less economically dependant / fear of divorce. average cost of a wedding is £17000.  
' quality is more important than legal status'  

Rising age as people are in education for longer. 
Churches often refuse to remarry divorcees.  

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Unmarried couples in sexual relatioship living together. 
over 2 million in UK.

Reflects the decline of stigma to sex outside marriage.
88% of youths see it as acceptable. 40% over 60's agreed.
- Increase career prospects for women > less financial need (secularisation)

Chester - cohabitation is seen as a first stage to marriage. (trial) 
75% say they expect to marry eachother. 
Women who cohabit do less housework.

Same sex relationships.
Stonewell> 7% of adults are in same sex relationships
- hard to see improvement as stigma and legality meant relationships were hidden.
- increased acceptance - social policy treats equally.  

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one person households

3/10 households are single persons living.
Half of these are pensioners.  
Reasons ... - Divorce has created more single households- children likley to live with mum

Living apart together - 1/10 people live apart but are in a relationship. 
20% of people see this as the ideal relationship. 

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Parents and children

Over 4/10/babies are born outside marriage!!
Average age of mother = 27. Having children later.
More childless women!  - establishing a career is more important before family.

Lone parent families 
24% of all families are lone. 
90% mothers >> single never married most common.
Reasons ... > Divorce / separation
Declined stigma of birth before marriage
was War main cause of death? Men less willing to give up work to car for children.
The new right - * The state rewards irresponsible behaviour.
* Welfare creates a dependancy culture.  

Murray >> the solution is to abolish welfare benifits. > reducing dependancy culture encouraging births outside marriage. 
Lack of affordable childcare.
Most lone parents are women >> generally earn less.  

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Ethnic differences in family patterns.

8% of UK population is ethnic minority. 
Black famillies = higher lone parent families. - slavery/ High black males unemployment leads to marrigal break down due to stress/ conflict.

Mirza- High value on Black womans independance.

Asian Families - often contain 3 generation.
But most are nuclear.  

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