Examine the Reasons for Changes in the Patterns of Marriage, Cohabitation and Divorce.

2147 Words Nov 29th, 2012 9 Pages
“Examine the reasons for changes in the patterns of marriage, divorce and cohabitation over the past 40 years.”
The patterns of marriage, divorce and cohabitation over the past 40 years has varied considerably. In 1972, over 480,000 couples got married subsequently making this the highest amount of marriages within a year ever since the Second World War. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) this was down to the baby boom generation of the 1950’s reaching the age of marriage.
However, after this period, the number of marriages in England went into decline. Recently, marriages reached an all-time low in 2005 when only 244,701 couples got married. Less than half of what it was in 1972. Some people accuse society of rejecting
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In the terms of Divorce – the legal termination of marriage, this has increased immensely since 1971 due to the change in legislation that had liberalized divorce, made it cheaper and easier to obtain. The Divorce Reform Act of 1971 was the most important because prior to 1971, one partner had to provide ‘evidence’ that they had been wronged by the significant other (matrimonial offence). Due to the change of the law, it allowed people to divorce on the basis of “irretrievable breakdown”. In addition, since 1984, the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act reduced the time limit for divorce for a minimum of 3 years of marriage to only one year. After this act, the divorce rate shot up again, as it did in 1971. Now, people were finally able to legally to end all connections, as previously when divorce was either too expensive or difficult to obtain, separation was very common, which was when a couple decided to live away from each other.
To go into more detail of the trend of increased divorces, in 1993, the number of divorces peaked at 180,000. By 2000, this figure had fallen to 154,000, although the years 2001 – 2004 have seen a gradual rise to 167,100. There is now almost as many divorces as there is marriages and if recent trends continues, almost 40% of marriages will end in divorce. An adequate reason for this increased style of divorcing is that it is no longer linked with stigma and shame. The British culture is hugely based on Christian beliefs and one of these