Marriage and divorce trends (2)

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Information about Marriage and divorce trends (2)

Published on March 16, 2009

Author: markwjburke


Slide 1: Understand the difference between first marriage and remarriage. Examine the impact of trends such as later marriage, co habitation and creative singlehood on divorce statistics in the UK. marr iage AND D I V O R C E A sociological analysis of marriage and divorce trends in the UK, looking at underlying causes and its impact on changing family relationships. Slide 2: Our key issues will be examining How patterns of marriage, cohabitation, childbearing, separation and divorce have changed. We will analyse the explanations that have been put forward to explain these trends (and begin to formulate our own educated hypotheses which we will be able to back up using statistics or quotes.) Quick assessment of our notions prior to lesson- what trends do we expect to see in relation to marriage and divorce in the UK (give reasons for your answer). Slide 3: It is generally considered that the number of marriages per year in the UK increased steadily from 1838 (when we began recording marriages) up until the early 1970’s. Since 1970 there has been a significant decline in marriages 480,000 marriages – 1972 273,000 marriages – 2005 These figures account for all marriages (i.e. both 1st marriages and re marriages) These figures can be further broken down and in doing so we begin to build up a clearer picture of how society’s opinion toward divorce and remarriage has evolved i.e. In 1940 1st marriages accounted for 91% of all marriages, by 2005 this figure had fallen to 60% In the shorter period from 1961 remarriages increased from 14% to 40% by 2005 and of this figure the more significant amount involved divorced people rather than widow/wodowers. Slide 4: The largest amount of divorced people remarrying occurred between 1971 and 1972. This is significant because in 1969 the divorce reform act effectively made divorce easier and it came into effect in 1971. Patsy Kensit with Liam Gallagher-husband Number 3. the marriage is now over Joan Collins with Husband No. 5 Slide 5: So at this point it seems fair to say that divorced people were remarrying much more freely and more often than previous generations. Other trends were occurring too. Age of Marriage In 1971 the average age of 1st marriages was 25 for men and 23 for women By 2005 it was 32 for men and 29 for women – Discuss possible reasons. Co habitation has accounted for much of this increase. Many couples now see co habitation as a prelude to marriage. Civil partnerships The civil partnership act came into effect in the UK in December 2005. The act grants same sex couples identical rights and responsibilities as opposite sex married couples Slide 6: Patterns of Marriage Sue Sharpe studied working class girls in London schools in the 1970’s. their main concerns were listed in priority order Love Marriage Husbands Children Jobs careers In 1990 she went back……. Now she found that the girls priorities had changed to Job Career Being able to support themselves Slide 7: Turn to Pg 86 (Second edition) Activity 18 Patterns of Marriage Answer Q’s 1 a+b and 3 Why had young women’s priorities changed? What made young women wary of marriage? List the following in priority order for you-most important first. Love, Marriage Husbands/Wives Children Jobs careers Being able to support yourself independently. Slide 8: The trends indicating both a move away from marriage and the entry into later marriage Have uncovered social changes that prior to even 1950 would have been considered unusual (even unacceptable). Singlehood Some people never marry, either by choice or through failing to find a suitable partner. Singlehood previous was a status that always regarded with some degree of negativity and suspicion (particularly for women). Lets face it even Rose West could find a suitable partner Slide 9: Even the description of an unmarried woman didn’t sound too particularly appealing -Old maid -Spinster. (1946-1950) Only 7% of all women in UK remained unmarried (1961-1965) Had risen to 28% Now the terms used to describe creative singlehood are more likely to be MILF or even GILF- Does it seem more attractive than OLD maid. NOTE THE REASONS FOR THE INCREASE IN CREATIVE SINGLEHOOD Pg 87 (2nd ed) Answer Q2 Slide 10: Cohabitation The definition of cohabitation is as follows: Cohabitation is living together as a couple without being married. It involves a shared residence in which a couple set up home together. Love is the most common reason people give for cohabiting (McRae 1999) Previously known as living in sin Trends and statistics regarding cohabitation Between 1976 and 1998 the number of women under 50 who were cohabiting more than trebled (from 9% to over 27%) The picture was similar for men In a very short period of time cohabitation has gone from being a status that would have made you socially marginalised to one that is the norm. WHY? Slide 11: Cited reasons for cohabitation (from 1998 British household survey) For most people cohabitation is now seen as part of the process of marriage- it is a prelude to marriage, not an alternative to it. Over half surveyed saw it as a trial marriage, before making it legally binding Around 40% saw it as an alternative to marriage with advantages over marriage Some mentioned the freedom (both social and from legal ties) Turn to Pg 88(2nd ed) for some class reading time ? Slide 12: Therefore we can see that over the past 50 years the causes of cohabitation have increased rapidly. Reasons could be cited as follows: Changing attitudes Attitudes towards sexual relationships and living arrangements outside marriage have changed.-No longer seen as ‘living in sin’ For the 1st time in 1967 contraception became readily available to unmarried women-effectively allowing couples to cohabit without fear of resulting pregnancy. Changes in Parental control, education and housing There is some evidence that the influence of parental control has decreased over the past 50 years, this combined with the expansion of education-children leave home to go to university now and banks will lend to an unmarried couple- unheard of 50 years ago Changes in divorce The divorce rate has increased and many that have been divorced once are happer when they find new love to cohabit These causes are on Pg 88 (2nd ed)- summarise them please in your own words. Effective contraception Slide 13: This leads us neatly to what happens if a marriage breaks down. Slide 14: This is what Encarta the online encyclopaedia said about the topic The number of divorces in the United Kingdom doubled between 1961 and 1969 and by 1972 the number had doubled again, partly as a result of the Divorce Reform Act 1969 in England and Wales, which came into effect in 1971. The divorce reform movement was originally initiated by a group, assembled by the Archbishop of Canterbury, which proposed a single, no-fault ground that requires a judge to grant a divorce if he or she finds that the marriage has “irretrievably broken down”. The phrasing of the no-fault principle produced much controversy. Many critics, pointing out that irretrievable breakdown is a vague concept giving judges substantial discretion, argued that enactment of this standard would perpetuate sluggish divorce administration by conservative courts, often at the expense of poorer people and those spouses whose behaviour is not consistent with the values of the judiciary. Others complained that this standard allows “divorce by consent” and that formal recognition of such easy divorce would eventually undermine the stability of the nuclear family. Grounds for divorce, such as adultery, unreasonable behaviour, or a lengthy time apart, were, however, still required. Slide 15: See table 1. Pg88 2nd ed. Divorce figures in the UK Slide 16: Are there any notable trends that you can identify? What happened between 1969 and 1971. What has been happening since 1996 – propose a reason for this? Interpreting divorce statistics Divorce statistics provide an accurate measure of one type of marital breakdown-the legal termination of a marriage………..However marriages can end in other ways Slide 17: Separation The couple end their marriage by separating, living in separate residences but remaining legally married- though some obtain a separation order. Empty shell marriages The couple live together, remain legally married but their marriage exists in name only. Love, sex and companionship are things of the past. As the divorce rate increased, it is fair to say that there may have been a decrease in separations and empty shell marriages. Figures on empty shell marriages and separations are difficult to estimate as quite often the couple kept quite due to shame attached to the failure of the marriage See the passion of St. Tibullus 16.29 Slide 18: People who cohabit for years may also end up getting ‘divorced’ but obviously there are no legalities to be dealt with however available evidence suggests that in any given period a significantly higher number of cohabitations are terminated than marriages. (Allan and Crow 2001). Conclusion Are partnerships becoming more unstable, more likely to break up? The sociologist Robert Chester (1984) believes that the increase in divorce rates probably reflects an increase in marital breakdown Though he admits this cannot be proved. Well He’s no Sherlock Holmes then is he?

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