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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
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Throughout the 20th century divorce became more and more socially acceptable. Couple were less likely to stay together to avoid the stigma and the shame formerly associated with divorced. The rising rate of divorce has led to the 'normalisation' of divorce, making it more acceptable as a means of a failed marriage. The view of marriage as a 'union for life' has now less power than it did 30 years ago.

The change of 'economic position of women' has also contributed to the rise in divorce rates. Over the past 30 years, married women's chances of economic independence have improved significantly. This is due to more women entering the labour market so being able to live more independently; and improved welfare benefits for women with dependant children.

This rise in divorce rates has also contributed to the change in co-habitation. Couples in which one or both partners are divorced are the most likely to cohabit. For example, if there divorce has not gone through, cohabitation is an option if they want to live with someone else. For pre-martially cohabiting after divorce, the figure has rise from 20% in 1967 to 84% in 1996. Cohabitation before marriage has now increasingly been considered a norm of today's society. Many people now see it as part of the process for getting married, as a prelude to marriage not an
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