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Assess the claim that the increase in divorce over the past 50 years is due to changes in legislation

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Introduction

Assess the claim that the increase in divorce over the last 50 years has been due to changes in Legislation An example of changes in divorce legislation is the 1969 divorce reform act. This made divorce easier by allowing divorce after a 2-year separation if both people consented to it, and after 5 years it would be granted if only one person wanted it. It also allowed divorcing to occur on the grounds of irreparable marriage breakdown, unreasonable behaviour or adultery. Divorce being made easier would lead to increase, which in turn would lead to the gradual breakdown of the Nuclear family, which according to Murdock is the structure to our modern day society. In 1984 Matrimonial and Family proceedings act was passed allowing couples to divorce after only 12 months of marriage instead of 3, this making marriage seem easier to get out of than ever before. Because of this some people were marrying just to con people out of money by divorcing after 12 months. ...read more.

Middle

It gives people more of a chance to truly find what they want in life, but at the same time it is destroying the Nuclear Family, the structure to society, and without this we will have a society of drug abusing, vandalising, criminals, according to Murdock. However an alternative explanation for the increase in divorce is the changed attitudes in society. We have changed our attitudes towards women, religion, and marriage. The decline in religion is due to many things, however Brian Wilson states that Religion is declining as people are becoming too self-involved and they no longer know the meaning of their own religion. Many people confuse being a Christian with just believing in God. This shows that many people do not know that being a Christian involves having a Husband/Wife and Children, which have made divorce, increase from people no longer believing in the holy union of marriage. Also divorce has become more of a common thing, thus society has become more de-sensitivised making it less frowned upon by the common man/woman. ...read more.

Conclusion

This argument is in contrast to the idea that it is legislation that is purely to blame for the increase in divorce because the legislation changes of the equal rights act had a major impact on women's thoughts towards marriage, and from the other legislation changes of easier divorce, women would just think, why not? As another key aspect of the decline in divorce rates, is that people easily fall out of love, as there is no longer arranged marriages people have choice, and if they make a wrong choice from falling in puppy love then the marriage isn't as likely to last. Hence increasing divorce rates. I think that the main reason for divorce changes of the past 50 years is the changes in legislations. Making divorce easier made it available to a wider group of people, and the equal rights act and sex discrimination act would make it seem appealing to women. But I think that the only reason legislation changed was because of the changes in attitudes, like feminism's impact and the slow decline in religion that has occurred over the past 50 years. ...read more.

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