The Effect of Law Changes on the Growth of Divorce Rate Essay

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The Effect of Law Changes on the Growth of Divorce Rate

Divorce is the legal termination of a marriage. There is no doubt that divorce is much more common, becoming a norm almost. If present trends continue, it is estimated that 1 in 3 marriages will end in divorce, but is it the alteration in the legal grounds that is causing this trend? In this essay I will look at the other aspects that could be the foundation for the growth of divorce and state which I think is the most important factor.

Prior to 1857, divorce could only be obtained by a private Act of Parliament. The grounds for divorce were based on matrimonial offences such as adultery, cruelty and desertion. There was a social class
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It also altered the basis that financial settlements were determined by the court. The Family Law Act of 1999 ended the reliance upon showing that one of both partners were at fault, they just had to assert the marriage had broken down and undergo a period of reflection, of nine months, to “cool off” and consider whether reconciliation was possible. Counselling was encouraged and the courts accounted for children that were involved instead of automatically assuming that the children should live with the mother. This was an attempt to stem the rising number of divorces.

There could be many factors that will explain the rise of divorce, one being the change of social attitudes. There is now a considerably less social stigma and blame attached to divorce; it is becoming more socially acceptable. This reduction in stigma could be a result of secularisation, the decreasing influence of religion in contemporary society. Less than 50% of marriages now involve a religious ceremony, and even those that do might not be based on a religious institution for religious reasons. The idea of a lifelong marriage blessed by God is clearly less significant now than previously. Attitudes towards the effect of divorce on children may have shifted. It had been considered in the past that couples should remain together for
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