Divorce Failed to Deliver

In earlier times, the divorce laws were such that the spouse who wanted divorce had to present evidence of a valid cause like adultery, abuse and\or desertion in support of the demand for divorce. Now, with the no-fault divorce law, it is there for anyone to ask. The introduction of no-fault divorce can be described as the most important manifestation of the divorce revolution. The Divorce Revolution is the steady displacement of the marriage culture by a culture of divorce where more than half of the marriages today are ending in divorce.

Unwed parenthood has become a popular trend. The divorce revolution was the brainchild of a few who sought freedom and release from an exploitative and oppressive relationship. It found strong supporters in feminists who believed it would bring women equality and will be the end of all their problems. The Divorce Revolution, however, has failed.

There is enough evidence around us to prove it. From a sacrament, a marriage got transformed to a contract, to the present day simple arrangement. The vows of "till death do us part" have been taken over by "till one of us gets bored or till we decide otherwise". It has lead to a steady and rapid decline of the traditional family structure and generated poverty within families.

It has burdened the society with unsupportable social costs and failed to deliver the promise of greater adult happiness and better relationships between men and women. One of its worst repercussions has been the terrible hardships it has created for the children. The ease with which divorce can be obtained has led to a rapid increase in the divorce rate. The liberal divorce laws were supposedly in favour of women.

Research, however proves that more women have been left destitute and are below the poverty line due to divorce. Financially, women get more affected after divorce. Research shows their financial status falls by 27% after divorce, while men see an increase of at least 10% in their financial stability. Women are also the ones who have child custody in majority of cases. So, it is a double blow of reduced income and increased responsibility.

Also, women are more likely to have sacrificed their careers and education during marriage. This loss cannot be compensated in any monetary terms after divorce. Along with women, it has become easier for men to seek divorce too. The research data on children of divorce is heartbreaking. There has been a sharp increase in the number of violent juvenile crimes, child abuse, teen suicides, childhood poverty, psychological problems and substance abuse in children.

Also, these factors are associated mainly with children who have not come from double parent families or intact homes. Younger children become dependent, unaffectionate, demanding and disobedient and as they grow into adults there are visible symptoms of stress. They are more likely to see their own marriages fail. The statistics are worrisome but make sense.

Marriage is the keystone to how the family functions and the family provides emotional security and love to the children. If the trend continues at this rate, with 50 percent of children expected to experience the divorce of their parents and 30 percent born out-of-wedlock, ours is a society in trouble. Divorce revolution has also not delivered its promise of greater adult happiness. Divorce is devastating for everyone and a rising divorce rate makes people less willing to invest themselves fully in their marriages. This increases the chances of divorce in any case.

Thus it is a catch twenty two situation to be in. People who enter marriages expecting to get divorced, actually get divorced and people who have been through one divorce are more likely to fail in subsequent marriages too. This, by no means implies that all divorces are bad. There are some divorces which are necessary and healthier for parents and their offspring. Some marriages like those which involve adultery, abuse, chronic addictions and so on, do qualify for divorce. We do not want to be a culture that allows or excuses adultery, abuse or desertion and then denies a spouse the ability to sue for divorce.

But overall, as a society, we should take steps to strengthen marriages and prevent divorce. It should be our goal to increase the proportion of children who grow up with two married parents. Many of the social ills like poverty, drug abuse and violence which can be attributed to the breakdown of marriages can be tackled by reducing the instances of divorce. A change of attitude towards divorce is essential for the overall welfare of our society.

James Walsh is a freelance writer and copy editor. If you would like more information on how to get a quickie Divorce see


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