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Divorce: A Social Phenomenon - With A Free Essay Review

Divorce rates in the US are higher in the last 30 years than they have ever been. Marriages don’t seem to be “forever” like they used to be in earlier centuries, but a temporary thing to do when the mood strikes people. When people get married now a days and things don’t work out they often quickly end the marriage in divorce without even giving a second thought. As Dennis E. Powell put it in his article entitled “No-fault Divorce Policies Cheapen the Marriage Commitment, he states that “it carries about the same moral weight as a contract for a cellular phone service. (28) It’s comical that a marriage is more easy to dissolve than a cell phone contract. Marriage is not nearly as sacred as it once was nor do we think of it as permanent as we once did.

Divorce use to be a dirty word and the thing that no one wanted to do because it use to mean that someone was unfaithful in the married, but now we have what is called a no-fault divorce where no one has to take the blame for the divorce and it’s as quick and easy as writing a check and singing the papers. Divorce hit an all-time high in the 1970’s when most states begin allowing no fault divorces. Laws providing for no-fault divorce allow a family court to grant a divorce in response to a petition by either party to the marriage, without requiring the petitioner to provide evidence that the someone in the marriage has committed a some immoral act to the union of the marital contract. Laws allowing one to receive a no-fault divorce also limit the potential legal defenses of the party who would prefer to remain married. This made it extremely easy to get divorced with little or no “red-tape” and both parties do not have to want the divorce. Previous to the no-fault divorce it was almost impossible to get a divorce. Both parties had to agree that they wanted the divorce and someone had to be “at- fault for the divorce and it usually required proof. Somebody has to have been an adulterer, alcoholic or abusive for a marriage to be dissolved. Previous to the 1880’s only one in twenty-one marriages ended in divorce with means fewer than 5% of marriages failed, but due to the no-fault divorce you can now get divorce as long as one party in the marriage wants the divorce. Nearly Eighty Percent of divorces are not joint decisions but they are led by one party. The other party doesn’t even have to agree now, which has really made women a victim to the no fault divorce in many cases.

As women have become more independent the divorce rate peaked. Women’s liberation was at its peak in the 1970’s with women having the equal rights amendment being passed in 1971. (Women’s liberation movement.) Women began to be more independent and join to work force. Previous to this revolution women were more dependent on their husbands but since the movement gave them the right to go to work and have equal rights as they pursued careers and educations many of them did so. This financially independence gave women the means to survive on their own and to be able to end bad relationships if need be. Woman could do this and still survive on their own, which therefore heavily increased divorce rates. Women now don’t need men in order to have benefits and support their households. They are now able to go out earn college degrees, gain employment and take care of themselves. Women quickly began to start taking care of themselves and getting divorced as they no longer needed their husband for that support system. They could get it elsewhere!

One social class that tends to suffer the most from divorce is the lower class. Due to the high friction level in their marriages and the tension that comes from being poor many lower class marriages end in divorce but that doesn't make the higher class exempt? Wealthy couples get their fair share of divorces too. According to Amato and Hohmann-marriot writers in the journal of marriage and family concluded that “spouses in low-distress marriages end their relationships because they have low levels of commitment and thus fewer barriers to leaving the marriage.” (2007) this accounts for a lot of the high class because they don't need each other financially so they don't worry about leaving their spouse and can just do it on a whim.

Although more than half of the u.s. marriages are ending in divorce there is one group of people in the u.s. that have not shied away from the old fashion union of marriage and all that it stands for and that’s the “Amish.” One won’t even find any research on the Amish divorce rate as it is so uncommon there isn’t must research to back it up. An Amish family getting a divorce is grounds for ex-communication from the community as they take their wedding vows very seriously and their family runs as a unit that depends on each other to survive. It a definite display of the functionalist perspective and since the Amish live by this perspective they are way less likely to get divorced. Amish families now their role and how they are to support their families in order to survive, which is the difference between a suburbia American family in the Amish. A family unit use to depend on each other to do certain things for the household in order to survive. Especially when farming was the main form of work and it took every family member to get it down. Now with the industrial revolution and people working outside their homes and not needing it to be a family effort the family unit as a whole has a new meaning and not one that most people need anymore. Many things can now be done outside that family unit which is why most people if they are married and unhappy are quick to get a divorce or not marry to begin with.

A lot of states are trying to remedy this epidemic by adding a clause that you must obtain counseling or muse stay married for an additional 6 months after you apply for divorce trying to make it work. Some say that even if you tighten up the divorce laws that many will still find the loop hole to get divorce or will pursue other options to get divorced.

Divorce is an epidemic with lots of consequences. The more people that are getting divorce the more court and judicial officials we will need to have as they need to court to referee these divorces as they are not able to resolve these issues most of the time without legal help. Also many need to think about the children who live in these scenarios. How do their parents getting divorce affect them now and in the long run? Marriage is a serious union and needs to be taken seriously. There are more benefits to people doing it the old fashion way and getting married and staying married then people being divorced. Who do you think supports all those single moms and their children... The taxpayers.


Amato, P.R., & Hohmann-Marriott, B. (2007). A comparison of high-and low dis-tress marriages that end in divorce. Journal of Marriage and Family, 69, 621-638.

Henslin, James M. Pearson. Boston: Pearson Education, 2009. Print. Custom Hacc Edition.

Powell, Dennis E. "No-Fault Divorce Policies Cheapen the Marriage Commitment." Divorce. Farmington Hills: Thomson Gale, 2007. 28-35. Print.

Unknown. "Divorce Statistics." Http:// Monthly Vital Statistic Reports, 9 Aug. 2011. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. .



Let's begin with your claim that before 1880 "only one in twenty-one marriages ended in divorce with means fewer than 5% of marriages failed." That claim assumes that all failed marriages end in divorce. Perhaps you want to define "failed" to mean "ended in divorce," but your point would be clearer if you didn't presuppose the two phrases meant the same thing. In any case, the real reason I began with that claim is to stress that you should probably take account in your essay of the fact that, in the absence of divorce, you still have things like failed or broken or unsuccessful marriages. If they don't end in divorce, they can end in separation, or misery, or (rarely, one hopes) murder. If you want to make a strong case in favor of stricter divorce laws, then you ought to anticipate what someone opposed to your suggestion would argue. Someone might argue, for instance, that your suggestion won't solve the problem of failed marriages, in the broader sense of "failed."

What case you do want to make, the argument of your essay, is not entirely clear, however. If you want specifically to argue against "no-fault divorce," then you need to explain why you think it should be difficult to get a divorce, or why there ought to be some "fault," or why it should be required that both parties want divorce. You do claim that women are made into the victims by the existence of no-fault divorce, but you don't explain why you think that, and the paragraph following the claim seems intended to disprove it: if women have greater equality in society now, why are they peculiarly victimised by the current divorce laws? If that is not the intended purpose of the paragraph about women's liberation and divorce, what is the purpose? What, too, is the purpose of the paragraph about poor people getting divorced, and wealthy people also getting divorced; and what, by the way, are you talking about when you mention "the high friction level" in the marriages of the so-called "lower class"? These are not rhetorical questions. They’re questions whose answers ought to be clear from your essay.

Again, is the point of your essay to demonstrate that divorce happens a lot, or that no-fault divorce shouldn't exist? I assume that you actually want to make an argument like that, but you devote most of your effort in this essay just to talking about the history and prevalence of divorce. You don't really get to an argument until your final paragraph. Even then, it is not an argument specifically against no-fault divorce, but rather an argument against divorce generally. And that argument is really just a number of unsupported and underdeveloped claims about the negative consequences of divorce. The first of these claims is banal: more divorce means more court officials. Unless you want to argue that there is something specifically wrong with having more court officials, I don't see the point; and it also seems to be the weakest argument one could make against divorce, so it might just be a distraction. You then say that we need to think about the children, but don't make any explicit argument about why consideration of the children might lead one to conclude that we should not have divorce or not have no-fault divorce. You then say marriage is serious, but don't explain why you think that. You also don't explain why you think there are more benefits to staying married. So in what way is marriage serious?


1. Choose an argument, a thesis, that you can focus on, and clarify that thesis early on, preferably in the first paragraph.

2. Make sure your claims are supported by reasons and evidence and that they are linked explicitly to that thesis.

3. Defend your position against possible objections.

Best, EJ
Submitted by: lilmitchell9283

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