Marriage and Divorce - Women and the High Cost of Divorce

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Women and the High Cost of Divorce

Divorce is commonly recognized as a major problem in our society. Every year there are more divorces in our country and many studies have been dedicated to finding out why. Much media attention has been paid to the court proceedings or the causes leading up to the divorce, but once the matter has lost public appeal, all coverage is dropped. Because of this, there is much that the average citizen does not know about the short-term and long-term effects of divorce. This paper examines the economic effects on all the parties involved and the discrimination in the process of divorce.

While divorce was once a relatively rare event, and one to which negative stereotype was attached, it has now become almost as regular as cloudy skies in Binghamton, NY. For the past two decades there have been more than one million divorces per year in the United States and this number is steadily rising (Arendell, 1986). There are several historical factors contributing to this trend. After WWII the service sector of the economy underwent a huge expansion, increasing the demand for women workers. As wages rose, more and more women joined the work force. This increase was often motivated by the fact that it was becoming increasingly more difficult to maintain a household on the strength of only one income. While in 1940 just under 15% of women worked outside the home, workforce participation by females increased to the point by 1960 that 32% of the workers were female. This number soared to 47% by 1992 (Kurz, 1995). This increasing labor force participation led to greater chances for self-sufficiency and made it more feasible for women to contemplate divorce. Also, these same incr...

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...ionships. Either increased public assistance must be provided, or the father, or absentee parent, must be forced to take a more vested interest in the welfare of their children.

Works Cited

Arendell, Terry. Mothers and Divorce, Legal Economic and Social Dilemmas. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986.

Kurz, Demie. For Richer, For Poorer, Mothers Confront Divorce. London: Routledge, 1995.

Mason, Mary Ann. The Equality Trap. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988.

Morgan, Leslie A. After Marriage Ends, Economic Consequences for Midlife Women. Newbury Park: Sage Publications, 1991.

Peterson, Richard R. Women, Work, and Divorce. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989.

Weitzman, Lenore J. The Divorce Revolution, The Unexpected Social and Economic Consequences for Women and Children in America. New York: The Free Press, 1985.
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