The Reasons for Changes in the Patterns of Marriage, Cohabitation and Divorce in the last 30 Years

The Reasons for Changes in the Patterns of Marriage, Cohabitation and Divorce in the last 30 Years

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The Reasons for Changes in the Patterns of Marriage, Cohabitation and Divorce in the last 30 Years


Over the last 30 years there has been a significant change in the
pattern for marriage, co-habitation and divorce. There are many
reasons for these changes that have taken place. For example, since
1971, when a divorce act was introduced, divorce has been more
acceptable in today's society. This has slowly increased the figures
of divorce at a steady rate. A downfall in religion has also
contributed to more people co-habiting before marriage or even instead
of marriage all together. There has also been a change in the average
marriage age due to factors like women striving more for careers
instead of families. The increase of divorce rates and co-habitation
has resulted in the two-parent nuclear family (headed by a married
couple), to steadily decrease as a proportion of all families. This
essay will look at these factors and examine how and why the pattern
of them is changing.

The divorce rate has rapidly increased over the past 30 years. Changes
in the law have added to this increase. Before 30 years ago a
'matrimonial offence' had to be proven and a 'guilty party' had to be
found for a divorce to be accepted. However The Divorce Reform Act
introduced in 1971 meant it was no longer necessary to prove guilt but
simply to show that the marriage was beyond repair. Also in 1984, the
Matrimonial Family Proceedings Act came into effect. This act reduced
the time a couple had to be married from 3 years to 1 year before they
could petition for divorce. These changes in the law have made divorce
a lot easier and have provided greater opport...


... middle of paper ...


...escribe a
positive view of singlehood whereby people choose to remain single as
a lifestyle option. Women striving for careers and leaving marriage
till later in life or not at all is an example of this.

In conclusion I have examined many different reasons for why there is
an increase in divorce and cohabitation and a decline in marriage.
They all intertwine within each other for example, the increase of
divorce rates and co-habitation has resulted in the two-parent nuclear
family (headed by a married couple), to steadily decrease as a
proportion of all families. The changes in attitudes in today's
society have changed the appearance of divorce and cohabitation that
what use to be unacceptable into a 'norm' of today's lifestyle.
Marriage also seems to be far less important to many people than it
was 30 years ago.

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