Divorce is the legal ending of a marriage. Divorce is fairly easy to have and people have a d voice petition which is a legal request for divorce. Britain’s divorce rate is very high compared with other industrial societies. In the Uk in 1936 6000 divorces were granted, this figure increased a tenfold in the 1970 and then in 1993 it peaked at 165000 but fell and then rose again in 2002 to 14800. People who had been divorced constituted about 20% of this. There are many reasons that increase in divorce is not due to easy availability: New right sociologists argue that such divorce statistics are symptoms of serious crisis in families.
This might suggest that because of the easy availability of divorce people are not as committed to their families as they would have been in the past. This view comes into the mind because the government abandoned the Family Law Act in 1996 that proposed to replace existing divorce procedures with a single ground for divorce and divorce would have been granted to couples after a cooling off period of 18 months and if both parties agree after counselling that their marriage has ended. Divorce is too expensive so people just choose to live separate rather than signing the divorce petition.
Eg. A couple that want a divorce can’t financially afford one therefore they choose to live separate. This helps financially divorced couples to go their own ways and provide financially for their children even if this means not legally getting divorced. It is much cheaper to do it this way and saves the couple from tensions arising from the money matters of divorce a reason for this, Thrones and Collard’s 1979 view that women expect far more from marriage than men and in particular they value friendship and emotional gratification more than men do.
If husbands fail to live up to the standards women may feel the need to look elsewhere. Some might not completely separate as it involves too much money and don’t do it for their kids sake. Divorce will affect the child and they will be broken up from inside as they do not know what is going on. Eg. Parents are fighting to get a divorce and the child is finding it hard to cope with life and break up inside. What will the child say if he/she gets bullied at school? How will he/ she cope with this stress that his parents have put him under? The child will be distressed and they may find it hard to cope with at school.
If the parents just separate and organize days in which both the parents can see the child, it will make him or her happier making him or her start back to normal again as women’s expectations have grown and changed as a result of the improved educational and career opportunities they have experienced since the 1980’s Women no longer have unhappily married because they are financially dependant upon their husbands. Moreover Hart 1967 notes that divorce may be a reaction to the frustration that many working wives may feel if they are responsible for the bulk of housework and childcare.
The tension of the crisis of masculinity may play a role here. It affects all relations outside the nuclear family into the extended family therefore they just choose to live together but not with the name. Eg. A couple has a lot of extended family which they do not want to lose after divorce chooses to stay together and tried to work things out. This makes relationships closer and prevents and divorce from happening whilst looking out all the relationships they’re going to break off having a divorce will cause.
It may also cause fights in the extended family and lead to family breaking even more relations in the close knit community where there are close relations between people who know each other as Beck and Gernsheim 1995 argue that rising divorces rates are the product of a rapidly changing world in which the traditional rules, rituals of love, romance and relationships no longer apply. The world is characterised by individualisation, choice and conflict. They argue that these characteristics make a chaos of love. As evidence by rising divorce rates.
If they are very old they just live together for their children’s sake even if they are not in love. This is called an empty shell manage a marriage in which the partners No longer love each other but stayed together usually for the sake of their children. Eg. A partner no longer in love them in same household with their children and maybe daughter or a son in law. They might be getting old so there is no point off paying so much money for a divorce and leaving their kids to pick up the pieces as they will have to have support from their partner and if they are going to stay together as it benefits them and their family in the long term.
Eg. If one of the couple are disabled mentally or physically. The couple a better off staying together getting as much support and they can from each other to live as much as they have left. There is no harm in doing this as it promotes the most happiness and it may be so that they start falling in love and once again. Only 4 out of 10 marriages end in divorce which shows that 6 divorces do not happen. This might be that partners choose to have empty shell marriages, just separate and drop their partners surname, do not divorce because it is too expensive for them to afford therefore the increase in divorce is not due to easy availability.