4. What is the definition of a divorce?
‘A divorce is the legal
termination of a marriage’.
Wilson and Kidd, 1998.
5. How do we measure how many divorces occur each
We use something called the divorce
Divorce rate means how many
people are divorcing per 1,000 of
the married population
Separation and Empty Shell marriage
6. Divorce has increased over the last century, although not at a steady rate.
There was a marked peak immediately after 1945, this was partly to
do with backlog of divorces which was built up due to the delay of
the Second World War.
The Divorce Reform Act was
introduced in 1971 . This act allowed
an individual to petition for a divorce on
the grounds of ‘irretrievable
breakdown of marriage’.
As you can see, after the introduction of
the Divorce Reform Act (1969) in 1971
there was an upsurge in the number of
people filing for a divorce.
7. There are two broad reasons for the increase in the
1. Changes in society which has made divorce
easier and cheaper.
Its easier to get a divorce than a
driving licence’ Sir Paul Coleridge.
1857 – divorce was largely open to men and had to be granted by
an Act of Parliament, hugely expensive therefore only the rich
could afford it. Remained in place till 1971.
1949 -The Legal Aid and Advice Act provided financial help to
those unable to meet the cost of divorce.
8. 1971 – Divorce Reform Act of 1969 grounds for divorce was
extended, couple could get divorced after they had been
separated for 2 years, and neither partner had to prove ‘fault’.
1977 – the rule that every divorce had to go through the courts was
1984 –Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act the amount of
time before application for divorce was reduced from 3 to 1 year.
1999 – divorce by filling in a form came in.
9. 2. Changes in society which has made divorce more
practical and socially acceptable.
You have 15 minutes to create a short explanation for why
each factor has led to an increase in divorce.
1. The changing role of women
2. Rising expectations of marriage
3. Growing secularization
4. Changing social attitude
5. The greater availability of, and more effective contraception
6. The growth of the privatised nuclear family
7. The reduced functions of the family
8. Increase life expectancy
10. Approximately 40% of all couples that marry will in the U.K will
In 1931, less than 4,000 people got divorced.
In 2004 the number of divorces reached their peak at 165,000.
In 2009 the rate fell to 113,949 but rose to 119,589 in 2010 a
rise of 4.9%.
11. Although divorce rates are rising there are many divorcees who are
Official statistics show men are more likely to remarry than women.
So why is remarriage popular?
So why is remarriage popular?
Those who seek divorce are not rejecting marriage but one particular
partner – and they hope by remarrying they can find happiness.
Divorcees with young children may want another partner to
assist in bringing up heir children.
Some people remarry for companionship.
In some society marriage is still seen as a norm and a
conventional thing to do.
12. Divorce can have consequences relating to the alteration
of family forms and the affects divorce can have on the
family members, especially children.
13. Draw out this chart below. In pairs think about the positive and
negative consequences of divorce on the different groups.
For the husband and For the family For the children
Grow up in a happier
Single parenthood Financial difficulties.
can be difficult.