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Family Relations and Human Development
FRHD 1020
Robyn Pitman

CH.4 COHABITATION • Late adolescence and early adulthood increased responsibilities and life course decisions • Form intimate relationship and want to create a stable environment in which physical and emotional experiences continue  historically next step would be marriage • Rise in non-marital cohabitation  cohabitating unions outside of marriage • Over past 40 years cohabitation has moved from being viewed as a deviant union formation to the preferred social norm that precedes marriage  acts as trial marriage Historical Context • Western civilization has given preference to monogamous, heterosexual relationships legitimized by religious edicts or state laws in the form of marriage • The change in the establishment of unions can be linked with other social institutional changes such as changes in labour markets, educational norms, and welfare state policies • The secularization of society, the feminist movement, availability of reliable birth control, the sexual revolution, female labour force participation and the rapid rise in divorce rate are additional factors connected to change in the union formation patterns • Historically marriage is an institution formed out of economic necessity • Not only sensual and emotional appeal had drove people to marry but also for survival and function • Women relied on men to provide protection and provisions • Men relied on women for child care and meal preparation • Both men and women relied on children as economic assets to provide additional labour • Today children are seen as economic liabilities • Because of longer life expectancy and greatly reduced infant mortality – few children are born • Industrial revolution broke the economic dependency of the family as it removed the father as being the sole provider • Social norms regarding sexuality began to adjust to the rapidly changing culture created by changes such as universal education for children and adolescent and technological changes Technological Context • The automobile in the 1920’s provided freedom and autonomy  changed the way young people courted one another CH.4 COHABITATION • Social media sites and cellphones marketed to children has provided greater autonomy and freedom from parental monitoring • With individual phones capable of text and video messaging the ability to send sexual content directly to another person has created an entirely new level of personal communication • Sexting is growing • Technological advancements including easy access to birth control, greatly influenced the dating and sexual patterns of young adults • Created freedom and independence for greater sexual exploration and expression outside adult supervision • Rise of sexuality as a recreational activity in contrast to an activity within a relationship b/c easier access to consenting sexual partners combined with the decline in social stigma for the sexually active outside of marriage appealed to some and but not others • Goal of finding one’s soul mate is viewed with skepticism • Twenties is a time for sex without strings and relationships without rings International Context • Diversity among nations and nationalities regarding union formation patterns and later outcomes • Cohabitation is much more socially acceptable in Quebec • Non-marital cohabitation has existed through time, but the connection of births to unmarried mothers has attracted attention of public • Negative effects on children who grow up in single headed household • The more cohabitation is accompanied by fertility, the more it will resemble and compete with marriage as a preferred form of family union • Typologies of cohabitation: 1. Prelude to marriage typology – higher incidence of cohabitations that last for a shorter time, end in marriage, and precede the birth of children (Belgium, hungary, Switzerland) 2. Stage in marriage process - treat cohabitation as a transition stage that tends to last longer. More likely to have children in the union but marriage falls shortly after birth (Austria, finland, Germany, Latvia, Slovenia) 3. Alternative to being single typology – cohabiting unions that are brief, non- reproductive, and end in separation rather than marriage (US, New Zealand) CH.4 COHABITATION 4. Alternative to marriage typology – cohabiting couples who remain in their relationship for longer periods, are less likely to get married, and expose children to the cohabiting union for longer periods (Canada, France) 5. Indistinguishable from marriage – similar to alternative but lasts for longer periods. Children are frequently exposed to union but for shorter time (Sweden) 6. Low incidence of cohabitation (Italy, Poland, Spain) • Women in cohabiting relationships are much more likely to face a union breakup than women who married right away • Religiosity is a barrier to acceptance and participation in cohabitation • Variables that influence cohabitation – birth cohort, parental divorce, place of residence during childhood, age at the start of the union, educational attainment, activity status, parenthood • Asia and north Africa cohabitation is often not practices • Eastern Europe cohabitation is rare • Widespread poverty is a known structural factor influencing the adoption of non-marital cohabitation • African countries that have significant Muslim and Christian populations have much lower levels of cohabitation • Aboriginal and indigenous groups have high adoption of non-marital unions because aboriginals leave home at an earlier age • Almost all nations have domestic partners or registered partnership legislation that provides marriage-equivalent status and protections  Only France, Belgium, and Netherlands make the status available to same-sex couples • Divorce laws for these partnerships mirror those for their marriage counterparts • Additional benefits extended to cohabiting couples vary, such as partner coverage in health insurance, transfer of a partners property upon death • What constitutes cohabitation varies Definitions and Legal Issues • Common-law marriage the union of a couple who consider themselves to be husband and wife but who have not solemnized the relationship with a formal ceremony • Common-law has roots in medieval Europe where partners were able to marry formally without any witnesses CH.4 COHABITATION • Later religious and constitutional bodies began to demand that marriages be performed by a representative of the church or state and witnessed by additional parties • Many believe that after a certain period of residence cohabitants were granted same rights as married couples – common law is only in a few states • Cohabitation ≠ common law Do Legal Incentives Help? • Does not harm the institution of marriage • Offering legal recognition and support for cohabitation does not discourage marriage, but may encourage it Property and Child Custody • The lack of standardized legal treatment of cohabitation leaves the distribution of assets and assignment of child custody unclear • Without specific laws in place one party may be at a disadvantage when the union dissolves • Women are usually at disadvantage • Approaches to the legal rights regarding both property rights of individuals and child custody rights are divided into 2 categories: proactive and reactive • Proactive approaches include strategies that an individual may take advantage of prior to dissolving the union • Reactive are strategies available to individuals after they have ended the union • DOMA (defense of marriage act) in US recognizes marriage as the legal union of a man and women  prevent states from recognizing same-sex couples and establish who was entitled to federal spousal and tax benefits • Civil union the relationship status granted to same-sex couples when same-sex marriages are not legal in a jurisdiction. The purpose is to grant the couple the same legal rights as married couples but without married status • Cohabitation agreements legal agreements drawn up between cohabiting couples to define the limitations and boundaries of responsibilities to one another should the cohabiting union dissolve. Property rights, pension distribution, and child support are some of the relevant areas usually contained in an agreement. Family relationships are not established by cohabitation agreements • Domestic partnership; registered partnership terms used to apply to couples sharing a common domestic life without marital or civil union status. These terms may be used for same-sex unions in some jurisdictions, but can also be applied to heterosexual couples. The partnerships are formalized by law CH.4 COHABITATION • Many jurisdictions do not recognize cohabitation agreements since they seem to circumvent laws designe
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