Examine the reasons for the changes in divorces rates since 1969?

Examine the reasons for the changes in divorces rates since 1969? There are many reasons for the changes in divorce rates since the 1969 such as the legal changes, the changing role and position of women, also how the expectations for marriage is different. We will also compare the difference between the past and the present in order to see why these changes have occurred. We know that in the past, divorce was very hard to get as it was only legal for the men to file a divorce. Also it was socially unacceptable, however during the years government has been passing laws in order to make divorce easier and cheaper. We know that in 1969, the Divorce Reform Act was introduced which made it much easier to get a divorce. Also due to the law that was passed out in 1984 which allowed couples to only stay in a marriage for one year before filing a divorce as we know that before the couples had to wait at least three years. Statistics have shown that due to these legal changes more women are filing divorces as 7/10 women have filed a divorce compared to men. Although, people are given more freedom to file a divorce, it doesn’t actually show why these changes have occurred. Another reason is that, people are becoming more secularised, which means religion is in decline; due to this more couples are getting a divorce as religion is seen as less important. We know that in the past, divorce was seen as a negative thing, as society at the time was more religious and also churches never allowed people to remarry. Sociologist Juliet Mitchell and Jack Goody found out in 1997 that there was a rapid decline in the stigma attached to divorce, as today divorce is seen as more acceptable and it’s beginning to “ normalise” and reduce the stigma attached. Today we live in a more secular society where people don’t view divorce in a negative way as it is more common, even churches are becoming more acceptable now. Expectations of marriage are changing throughout the years. In the past, people used to have little choice of whom they married as at the time it used to be the families decision, the couple hardly had a say. However, today we live in a more privatised society, where people spend more time together which leads them to “ hating each other” and also people have high expectations of marriage. A functionalist called Ronal Fletcher says that people are less tolerant in a relationship that may not be working; they might get a divorce in order to find “ Mr Right and Mrs Right”. However, marriage is an institution that is still alive today as people are still remarrying in the future. Today more people have the ideology of a romantic marriage, where both couples love each other and are willing to spend the rest of their lives together, as they are willing to leave a relationship is “ love dies” in order to find the perfect soul mate. Due to the changes in the position of women, such as they are doing better educationally and they are more likely to be in paid work, and also women are less dependent on their husbands. ¾ of divorce petitions are initiated by women, showing us that women are unhappy in their marriages as they now have higher exceptions of marriage compared to the past. We know that in the past the main priorities of girls were to get married and have a husband, a study by Sue Sharpe in the 1970’s showed this. However today, due to better educational and employment opportunities women are doing better as they no longer feel the need to rely on men as they can provide for themselves. Due to education chances, women are having fewer children and focusing more on getting a job. There has been a massive change in divorce from the past, as in the past it was socially unacceptable, however in the 1960’s there was a rise in divorce rates and by 2003 it was 180, 000 divorces filed. Also statistics show that women are more likely to file for a divorce as 7/10 women do file for a divorce. Many believe that half of the marriages will end in divorce in the future. Sociologists have different views on the rise of divorce rates. The New Right believe that divorce is undesirable as it goes against the idea of the typical nuclear family. They believe that divorce leads to a high percentage of female lone parent family which will lead the boys having no male figure in life. However the feminists disagree with the New Right as they believe that divorce is desirable as it shows that women are finally leaving the idea of the patriarchal nuclear family, which means they are more independent and don’t have to rely on the male. Postmodernists say that divorce allows a person to end a relationship when they believe it won’t work, and also it creates more family diversity. functionalist argues that the rise of divorce rates doesn’t prove that the institution of marriage is under threat is just shows that people have high expectations of marriage and also the rates for remarriage show that people are still getting married. Overall, there are many reasons to explain the reasons for the changes in divorce rates in the 1969. It may be because of the legal changes, as it is made easier and cheaper to file a divorce, also because society is less religious; people are getting divorced as it is not seen as a crime, society today is more secular people as they are more acceptable about divorce even the churches. Even though people are getting divorced the idea of marriage still remains as people are getting remarried later.