Martial Breakdown - Divorce.

The termination of a marriage due to "irretrievable breakdown"

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  • Created by: Em
  • Created on: 10-11-11 11:18



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What is Divorce?
Divorce is the "irretrievable breakdown" of a marriage. When a couple, separate permanently, through a point of law which allows them to remarry. 

What is Divorce rate?
Number of divorcing per 1,000 married population in a given year.


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Why has the Genderquake had an effect on Divorce?                                                     (

The changes in position in women have had a serious effect on divorce rates, as women have become more educated. This education has taught them, that they no longer need to depend on men for financial support. Women will no longer be oppressed and exploited therefore, this has increased the divorce rate as marriage is not a necessary evil.

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Goode 1971 - Secularization
Why has this caused a increase in divorce?

Secularization is the decrease in religious beliefs. Many religions did not allow divorce, but as religious beliefs have declined more and more feel it acceptable to divorce.

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What is 'Confluent love' and what effect has it had?
Confluent Love:- This is when both partners feel fulfillment and satisfaction within a relationship.

The idea of couples needing Confluent love was proposed by a sociologist called Giddens

Couples feel they must find 'confluent love' and therefore this has caused an increase in Divorce as people are not SATISFIED.


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Changes in the law.

Pre 1857 - Divorce could only happen through an act of parliament. (This was difficult and took a lot of time)

Matrimonial Causes Act 1857 - this allowed Divorce if the male partner could prove a matrimonial offence. However a female must prove ADULTERY plus a 2nd matrimonial offence.

Matrimonial offenses were;
- **********  - Incest  - Desertion

Equality introduced in 1923. 

Matrimonial Offenses Act 1937 - this act extended the matrimonial offenses. They now included;
  - Insanity  Cruelty

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Further Changes in the Law...

The Legal Aid and Advice Act 1949. - This made divorce financially easier as legal aid was provided. This means that Divorce was unrestricted now as it used to only be accessible to those with money.

The Divorce Reform Act 1969 & 1984. - This reform act removed the need to prove matrimonial offenses. It introduced the notion of "Irretrievable breakdown". Divorce could now be obtained after 3 years of marriage if any of the following could be shown.

- Adultery, - Unreasonable behavior, - Desertion, or if the couple had been separated for a consented 2 years or an disagreed 5 years.

1984 - this allowed Divorce after ONLY ONE YEAR OF MARRIAGE.

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Who Divorces?       (

Age:- this will always be a major factor, 1/4 of the women who were under 20 when married in the 80's got divorced.

Social class:- this can also effect divorce rates as their can be mismatches. This has been shown to have more effect if the males are have a higher social class.

Marital status of family:- Children who's parents have divorced may become 'Divorce Prone Children' or this could have the total opposite effect.

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Divorce Statistics (

69% of divorces in 2008 were to couples where the marriage was the first for both parties.                            

67% of Divorces in 2008, the wife was granted the divorce.                                                                                                                     

In 2008 UNREASONABLE BEHAVIOR was the most common reason for divorce.                                                              
The UK has one of the highest divorce rates, e.g. approx 11 marriages in 1000 end in divorce.

25% of women who married under the age of 20 in 1980 ended in divorce.

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Divorce rates on a 30 year low???

Divorce rates are on a low because less people are getting married. With fewer marriages there are fewer divorces.

The reason for fewer marriages is due to more socially acceptable alternatives to marriage becoming available; such as cohabitation. See Marriage Revision Cards.

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