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Sociology Research Paper
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Divorce is a process of legally dissolving a marriage either through a court process or by other legally allowed means. This research paper focuses on the causes and consequences of divorce to the society at large. Divorce has been the subject of debate in the last few years because the cases of divorce are increasing on a daily basis. It’s a decision made by couples to separate legally but the implications to the children and also the society are enormous. Divorce subjects the family to many threats especially to the children who have no contribution in the decision making. The purpose of this research is to identify the causes and consequences of divorce as it serves to sensitize the public more about the topic. Before couples make the decision of divorcing, they will have prior information about the consequences.
Literature review and discussion
Many researchers have dealt much about the issue and come up with varied information. Divorce is a social issue and it affects the children and also the society. The normal status and figure of the family seem to have changed due to the rising cases of divorce in the current generation
According to an article by Catherine Heffernan (2000), she has discussed much about the sociology of divorce. She researched on the causes of separation and divorce as rising cases of cohabitation, ages of first marriage and the extent of marital duration, diversification of women’s roles and the expectations of marriage. Cohabitation has been seen as an alternative to marriage (Kiernan, 2001). Some other researchers have argued that, cohabitation delayed marriage other than replacing it (Coleman, 2000; Buck & Scott, 1994). There are many types of cohabitation including pre-marital, post-marital, first-time and subsequent cohabitation (Haskey, 2001). People who practice cohabitation have different traits to those who do not and are more likely to be involved in a divorce after marriage. People claim that cohabitation gives them a chance to learn about intimacy outside marriage and acts like eroding the belief in the permanency in marriage (Teachman, 2003).
Divorce is also associated with the age of the partners when getting married, and also the duration of the marriage. According to a finding by Heaton and Call (1995), marriage stability increases with the age of the wife at marriage. In contrast, it’s not the case for men. Women who enter in marriage early are less prepared for it than those who spend more time before marriage. Marriages done at a later age are likely to have been researched on more about the partners and are more realistic about marriage life unlike those who enter into it at an early age. The purpose of marriage has changed from enhancing tribal warfare to perpetuating property and continuing with the family alliances and to the romanticized view of the “love issue”. It has been observed that, there has been a rise in the age at marriage. The causes to this are; third level education that delays people’s financial and emotional preparedness for marriage, career pursuits and the rise in the cost of living and wedding costs. These factors hinder many people from starting a family at an early age. Couples get to know each other over time and this reduces the chances of divorce. Parenthood increases the amount of responsibilities and attachments to children and to each other. This creates an emotional, legal and financial barrier to divorce (Morgan & Condran, 1988). There are high chances of divorce in early years of marriage because of absence of children, but in the latter days, couples tend to wait until the children are grown up.
Women do not depend on their husbands financially or socially (Willians, 2003) at date. They have acquired education and also securing jobs like men. Women feel better placed in a marriage when they already are in the workforce. It’s because; they can afford to live independently even without a husband figure. This leads to risks of divorce in marriage because no one is answerable to the other in marriage. However, it’s not the case to all women in the workforce.
Davis and Greenstein (2004) realized that marriage dissolution was much affected by women’s ideology of marriage. The view that the mother is a housewife and a mother according to the traditional beliefs is likely to cause divorce. The pressure for marriage to meet all the personal needs has a greater effect together with the consequences of age at the time of marriage and the duration of the courting period. The society has placed so many expectations to the marriage issue such that those who fail to attain them find themselves at the verge of divorce.
According to an article by Steffen Reihold (2012), there are many consequences of unilateral divorce laws on children. There is a negative relationship between parental divorce and the outcomes of children as their well-being and education (Keith, 1991). Divorce is associated with the deterioration of physical and mental health and the health behavior of children (Dawson, 1991). When one parent leaves the home, there is less contact between them and the children. Divorces are linked to financial problems and economic hardships; hence leading to low investments to children. Children claim that, what hurt them most are the continuous conflicts that later lead to marital disruption.
From the journal of Divorce and Remarriage (2013), a case study was carried out at Texas on the economic costs and policy implications associated with divorce. Divorce usually forms the basis for transitions and adaptations for adults and children. It also leads to emotional and structural challenges that are experienced in many families after divorce. Divorce is associated to financial challenges to individual and to the taxpayers as well. This seems shocking but the fact is that; even though divorce is a personal decision, it leaves a burden to the government to assist the affected families. According to the U.S census in 2007, 43 % of the female householder families were associated with poverty compared to only 9 % in the married couples. The case study strongly pointed out that, many divorced families are likely to live in poverty and depend on the government for reliefs. This is a burden to the taxpayers.
According to the conflict theory (Karl Marx), power is at the center of all relationships. The social structures are created through conflict between people with different interests and resources. From the book, “A guide to Theoretical Thinking” (Alan Sears, 2008), societies are defined by inequality that produces conflict, rather than that which gives order and consensus. From this theory, divorce can be likened to a process which arises from conflicts between couples; and those who suffer to a large extent, are the children. Marriage being a social structure is built on a course of intimacy, but along the way, conflicts occur that lead to divorce. One partner may feel undermined or treated unfairly, and hence opt to divorce from the marriage.
Divorce can be viewed as an option for couples upon disagreements, but this has adverse consequences to those involved. There are many causes of divorce and each depends on the choice of the partners. In contrast to this, there can still be other avenues to deal with divorce other that subjecting children to issues that they have no choices to make. In most cases, the causes of divorce if well thought of can be avoided through developing a personal culture of making marriage vows permanent. This can go a long way into dealing with this issue.
Balestrino, A., Ciardi, C. & Mammini, C. (2013) On the causes and consequences of divorce Journal of Socio-Economics
Davis, S. & Greenstein T. (2004) Interactive effects of gender ideology and age at first marriage on women’s marital disruption
Haskey, J. (2001) Demographic aspects of cohabitation in Great Britain, International journal of law
Reinhold, S., Kneip, T., & Bauer, G. (2013) The long run consequences of unilateral divorce laws on children-evidence from Sharelife: Journal of Population Economics
Schramm, D. G., Harris, S. M., Whiting, J. B., Hawkins, A. J., Brown, M., & Porter, R. (2013) Economic Costs and Policy Implications Associated With Divorce: Texas as a Case Study. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage
Wiliams, K (2003) ‘Has the future of marriage arrived?’ A contemporary examination of gender, marriage and psychological wee-being: Journal of Health and Social Behavior.
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