Separation and Divorce
March 10/17, 2014
* Divorce Law and Trends
* Divorce/Separation and its Effects on Families
1. Divorce Law and Trends
* 19 century: marriage was an indissoluble contract governed by English law
* Dissolution infrequent, difficult, time consuming
* 1968 DivorceAct: No Fault divorce laws were introduced in the ‘60s and ‘70s in Canada
and some areas of the U.S
* In 1986, Canada implemented the DivorceAct which considered marital breakdown as
grounds for divorce
* Divorce redefines ex-partners’obligations to one another and/or children
* Common-law relationship over at time of separation
* More than 1/3 of marriages end in divorce
* The likelihood of divorce increases in the second-fourth years of marriage
Theoretical reflections on why people divorce….
* Micro level explanations, Top Five Reasons for Divorce (Bibby 2004)
* Different values and interests
* Abuse – physical and emotional – mostly the wife
* Alcohol and drugs – addiction (first or secondhand) transforms lives, ripple effect onto relations and families
* Infidelity- sometimes tolerated for the sick of children
* Career-related conflict – the case of someone who has a career who will move them
abroad, or someone who is a lawyer and focused on law etc etc
* Meso demographic explanations – correlated with higher divorce (age of marriage,
cohabitation before marriage (there is a way out vs there is not),
* Macro explanations – gender level expectations (changing gender ideologies/expectations), a
woman doesn’t need a man to survive, the stigma of divorce has changed, changing cultural
values (ethnic, individualism, more tolerance and respect for individuals), the economy
(economic difficulties, labor market).
Flip side: Why might you stay together?
- In a panic market, people might stay together, not because they have kids, but because they
are better of together than apart.
* Average divorce rates increased between 1970 and 2001; stabilized in Canada between 1980
and 1990 but the “peak” was 1987
* The number of divorces has held steady in recent years
* Custody of children after divorce is expected to be decided in the “best interests of the child”
What are some macro social changes that could explain divorce?
The Squid and the Whale (Movie)
How do family relationships appear to be affected by the separation?
Thinking sociologically, what effects do you think the separation will have on the children?
- Morality, alimony payments, emotional labour (managing emotions),
- Dad has motive to hate mother because she works, had affair, etc - Older