Textbook Notes (363,140)
Canada (158,217)
Sociology (1,479)
SOC101Y1 (470)
Chapter 4

Chapter Four

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University of Toronto St. George
Bonnie Fox

Chapter Four: Cohabitation – rise of non-marital cohabitation one of most important recent trends in study of life course of family – influence that various types of union formation patterns The Rise in Non-Marital Cohabitation: – over past 40 years, cohabitation moved from being viewed as deviant form of union formation to the preferred social norm that precedes marriage, acting for many as a trial marriage Cohabitation in Context Historical Context: – intimate union formation been centrepiece of human behavior over time + without some form of intimacy, humanity would not reproduce itself + customs, patterns, and traditions regarding union formation varied over time and across cultures – marriage as a significant life event gained privileged status over other forms of union formation + establishment of unions with other social institutional changes that affected life course (ie: labor markets, educational norms, & welfare state policies) + secularization of society, feminist movement, availability of reliable birth control, sexual revolution, female labor force participation, and raid rise in divorce rate all cited as additional factors connected to the change in union formation patterns over the life course – marriage is an institution that formed out of economic necessity + men and women have always been attracted to each other, but attraction alone has seldom provided a solid rationale for establishing a permanent relationship + contrast: survival and function have driven most people to marry + women relied on men to provide protection and provisions for themselves and their children while men relied on women for child care and meal preparation + both men and women relied on children as economic assets who could provide additional labor to meet household needs – today, in most Western cultures, women don't need men to provide/protect them and their children, and men no longer see need for women as economic partners + children viewed as economic liabilities and because of longer life expectancy and greatly reduced infant mortality – few children were born – Industrial Revolution removed father from household while mother adapted to growing middle- class lifestyle focused on domestic responsibilities + broke economic dependency that men and women had with marriage – social norms regarding sexuality began to adjust to the rapidly changing culture created by changes such as universal education for children and adolescents, not to mention technological changes such as the automobile, the telephone, and eventually internet and cell phones Technological Context: – automobile in 1920's, changing the way young people courted one another – provided freedom and autonomy from watchful guardians – introduction of low-cost cell phones marketed to children provided greater autonomy and freedom from parental monitoring almost 100 years after automobile was introduced + has implications – capable of text and video messaging, ability to send sexual content directly to another person created an entirely new level of communication. + Sexting: text messaging of sexual content via cell phones and is growing in prevalence – technological advancements, including easy access to reliable birth control, greatly influenced the dating and sexual patterns of young adults + newfound independence and freedom facilitated greater sexual exploration and expression outside adult supervision – rapid change in norms and values surrounding non-marital sexuality and the resultant rise in cohabitation led to a serious generation gap between cohabitation's early adherents and their parents +gap may be diminishing as current cohorts of parents grew up in a time when cohabitation and sexual freedom were more normative than when their parents grew up International Context: – cohabitation patterns highly influenced by contextual factors – as cohabitation becomes more normative, that connection has become less consistent + research: little or no negative impact of cohabitation on later marital stability – increase in fertility among cohabiting couples … – the more cohabitation is accompanied by fertility, the more it will resemble and complete with marriage as a preferred for of family union – religiosity defined as a barrier to acceptance and participation in cohabitation + people with fewer relationship skills/less relationship commitment tend to be more likely to cohabit – variables known to influence cohabitation in an attempt to control for their effect + ie: birth cohort, parental divorce, place of residence during childhood, age at the start of union, educational attainment, activity status, and parenthood – domestic/registered partnership legislation provide marriage-equivalent status and protections Definitions and Legal Issues: – common-law marriage: union of a couple who consider themselves to be husband and wife but who have not solemnized the relationship with a formal ceremony Property and Child Custody: – lack of standardized legal treatment of cohabitation leaves distribution of assets and assignment of child custody to local magistrates, should the union cease – no specific laws in place to ensure equitable distribution of assets – one party may be at a disadvantage when union dissolves. Usually women. Asset Protection: – approaches to legal rights regarding both property rights of individuals and child custody rights are divided into two categories: proactive and reactive + proactive approaches include strategies that an individual may take advantage to dissolving the union + reactive strategies are those strategies available to individuals after they have ended the union – regard to asset protection & estate planning,a cohabiting couple must realize their rights as a couple apart from marriage law + include special state or provincial protections for registered partnerships or for couples who meet the types of criteria associated with a recognized cohabiting union – Defense of MarriageAct (DOMA) – establish the definition of marriage as the legal union of a man and a woman + primarily introduced to prevent states from having to recognize same-sex couples married in other states, the law also established who was entitled to federal spousal and tax benefits – because each legal jurisdiction may have its own laws concerning cohabitation, it's difficult to summarize them + cohabitation agreements, civil unions, and domestic partnerships – they're not identical concepts and don't provide the same rights as marriage + may jurisdictions don't recognize cohabitation agreements since they attempt to circumvent laws (ie: DOMA) designed to protect the distinctiveness marriage. + domestic partnerships have more legal recognition but it's not universal across USA – Death of a partner... without formal arrangement, the assets will not automatically go to the surviving partner + designating one's partner in a will makes it easier to transfer assets, but it's also possible to look at specific financial accounts and designate a beneficiary who is different from that in the will and will actually supersede what is in the will + financial assets such as life insurance, retirement accounts, bank accounts, annuities, and trust accounts can all be designated to one's partner rather than to a legally recognized family number Child Custody: – issues for couples who don't have legislation protection + custodial concerns for cohabiting couples don't focus on children born within the union, for which both parents would be legally granted parental rights, but on a non-biological partner's rights to parental authority and visitation – if the union dissolves, importance by... + 1. the couple has resided together for a significant period of time + 2. a parental relationship has been established between the child and the individual with no parental rights + 3. the parties have ended the relationship + 4. there is no traditional second legal parent + 5. the parent without parental rights have been alienated from the child – proactive strategies include second-parent adoption, co-guardianship, and a cohabitation agreement + second-parent adoption s
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