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Separation and Divorce

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1 Separation and Divorce
Michael Itagaki Sociology 275, Marriage and Family

2 America and Divorce Do we like/not like marriage?
One of the highest marriage rates One of highest divorce rates One of highest remarriage rates

3 America and Divorce Discussion
What are some reasons you personally might consider a divorce? Is falling out of love an appropriate reason for wanting a divorce? What were you taught growing up about the acceptability of divorce?

4 America and Divorce Idealization of marriage
By 1974, more marriages ended by divorce than by death. Divorce = deviance vs. part of family life cycle

5 Measuring Divorce Divorce rate = 50%...correct?
2.2 million marriages annually 1.1 million divorces annually Question: Divorced couples not from same group that got married in that same year?

6 Measuring Divorce All marriages and all divorces
60 million married couples in U.S. 1.25 million divorces annually Divorce rate = 2% Figure 12.11

7 Measuring Divorce Crude Divorce Rate
Number of divorces in a given year for every 1,000 people in the population. In 2002, there were 4.0 divorces for every 1,000 Americans.

8 Measuring Divorce Refined divorce rate.
Measures the number of divorces that occur in a given year for every 1,000 marriages. In 1998, the refined rate was 19 to 20 divorces per 1,000 married women, meaning 2% of marriages ended in divorce.

9 Divorce Trends in the U.S.
Both marriage and divorce rates have declined The marriage rate is at its lowest point since the 1930s. In more recent years the rate has declined.

10 Divorce Through the 20th Century and Beyond
Year Number Rate Per 1,000 Married women 1900 55,751 3 1920 170,506 8 1940 264,000 9 1960 393,000 9.2 1980 1,189,000 22.6 1995 1,169,000 19.8 2001 NA

11 Factors Affecting Divorce
Shift from agricultural to industrial society Social integration Individualistic American culture

12 Factors Affecting Divorce
Demographic factors: Employment status Income Educational level Ethnicity Religion.

13 Factors Affecting Divorce
Life Course Factors: Age Premarital pregnancy Remarriage

14 Factors Affecting Divorce
Life Course Factors: Intergenerational transmission (Amato, 1996) Parental divorce increases chance of child’s marriage ending within first five years by as much as 70%. Increased risk of divorce is especially great if both spouses experienced parental divorce. Effects are strongest when parents divorce early in child’s life (age 12 or younger)

15 Factors Affecting Divorce
Family Processes Marital happiness Children Marital Problems No Fault Divorce

16 Stations of Divorce (Bohannan) As people divorce, they undergo these “divorces” simultaneously. Emotional Legal Economic Co-parental Community Psychic

17 Marital Separation Uncoupling—The process by which couples drift apart in predictable stages. The initiator voices complaints. Eventually, the initiator ends the relationship. Uncoupling ends when both partners acknowledge the relationship cannot be saved.

18 Marital Separation Separation Distress
Ultimately, negative aspects of separation are balanced with the positive aspects Almost all attention centered on missing partner Euphoria can follow, but fall back into separation anxiety. Separation distress slowly gives way to loneliness.

19 Marital Separation Postdivorce Identity
Two phases of establishing new identity: Transition Recovery

20 Marital Separation Dating Again
Important for separated or divorced people. Formal statement of the end of a marriage Permits individuals to enhance their self-esteem.

21 Consequences of Divorce
No-Fault Divorce: Putting women and children at a disadvantage Economic consequences include: Impoverishment of women Changed female employment patterns Very limited child support and alimony

22 Consequences of Divorce
Non-economic consequences include: More psychological distress, lower levels of happiness, more social isolation, more health problems. Divorced people are three times as likely to commit suicide. Some divorced people experience higher levels of personal growth and greater autonomy.

23 Children and Divorce Children in happy two-parent families are the best adjusted Children in conflict-ridden two-parent families are the worst adjusted. Children from single-parent families are in the middle.

24 Children and Divorce Key to child’s adjustment: lack of conflict
Telling children about separation: It’s very difficult Relief or not, guilt accompanies feeling

25 Children and Divorce Three-Stage Process of divorce for children:
Initial stage—Turmoil is greatest. Transition stage—Adjusting to new family. Restabilization stage—Integration of changes.

26 Children and Divorce Developmental tasks of divorce:
Acknowledging parental separation Disengaging from parental conflicts Resolving loss Resolving anger and self-blame Accepting the finality of divorce Achieving realistic expectations for later relationship success

27 Children and Divorce Children’s responses to divorce: Varies by age
Younger children Adolescents

28 Children and Divorce Adjustment to divorce:
Open discussion prior to divorce Continued involvement with noncustodial parent Lack of hostility between divorced parents

29 Children and Divorce Adjustment to divorce:
Good psychological adjustment to divorce by custodial parent Stable living situation and good parenting skills. Continued involvement with the children by both parents

30 Children and Divorce Adjustment to divorce:
Children of divorce suffer: Reduction of income Weakening ties with fathers Loss of “residential stability” Problems in school Greater likelihood of becoming teen parents.

31 Children and Divorce Adjustment to divorce:
Not all children suffer negative consequences. 90% of children with divorced parents achieve same level well-being as children of continuously married parents (Amato, 2003).

32 Child Custody Generally based on one of 2 standards:
The best interests of the child The least detrimental of the available alternatives. The major types of custody are sole, joint, and split.

33 Child Custody Sole custody Accounts for 85% of all U.S. divorce cases
Women traditionally have been responsible for child rearing Many men do not feel competent

34 Child Custody Joint custody Accounts for 10% of cases.
Joint legal custody Children live primarily with one parent Both parents share in decisions regarding the children. Joint physical custody Requires parents to work out practical logistics …as well as feelings about each other.

35 Child Custody Split custody Splits the children between the parents
Usually girls live with mother, boys with father

36 Custody Disputes As a result of custody disputes, as many as 350,000 children are stolen from custodial parents each year. Most are returned home within a week.

37 What to Do About Divorce
Is divorce the problem or is it a solution to other problems? Cultural idea of divorce Legal matters of divorce Covenant marriages New family forms emerging

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