Definitions and statistics
Divorce rate = the number of divorces per 1,000 married people
Divorce petition = Number of requests for divorce
Divorce absolut = Number of marriages fully terminated by divorce
Divorce statistics do not always give an accurate picture...
> Never fully up-to-date > Large number of divorces in progress
> Does not include empty-shell marriages > Does not include married people living separately
Marriages that are more likely to end in divorce...
> Pre-marital baby > Married young > With 4+ children > Low income > Empty-nest syndrome
> Until 1857 - had to be a private act of parliament - 1857 - divorce granted if one party found guilty of cruelty, adultery or desertion.
> Legal aid and advice Act 1949 - free legal advice & solicitor fees for those who could not afford it.
> Divroce reform Act 1969 - do not have to prove guilt - instead 'irretrievable breakdown'. Divorce became quicker, easier, cheaper.
> Matrimonial Family Proceedings Act 1984 - reduced time couple had to be married from 3yr to 1yr before they could petition for a divorce. Family Law Act 1999 - increased to 18months.
Consequences of divorce for children...
> Financial hardship > Family conflict > Parental anxiety > Difficult parent/child relationships
Study - Wade and Smart
> Aggregated family: break-up just one of a series of changes
> Divorced: relatively stable family until break down of adult relationship.
> Meshed: close emotional ties / children aware of parents' emotional state.
> Diasporic: good relationship between parents but cannot live together - parent lives away for work / legal reasons.
> Divorce may have been an added pressure for children already dealin with ill-health, poor housing, drug abuse etc. > Child's reaction depended on their relationship beforehand - child coped best if parents made supportive links with them.
> Children that didn't cope as well - believed one/both parents loved them less than before. > Some formed close ties with step parents - little need for missing biological parent
> Children developed coping strategies to cope with situations out of their control:
> Diversion - actively ignoring parents
> Emotional expression - displays of anger / crying / emotions diaries.