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Unformatted text preview: Soc 120: Marriage and the Family
Lecture 20: Divorce II Prof. Elwert never been a time in American history when divorce wasn't considered a serious social problem Restricted divorce: Beginning of history-mid 19th century, fault principle(very few reasons a husband and wife can end marriage) Review Divorce I Mid 19th century to mid 20th century: divorce tolerance, History people come to terms with the Three periods reality of divorce as rates are Trends & group differences 1980s: divorce rates falling for college rising as the fault principle is educated but rising for everyone Explanations still in play but the reasons for else(no religious differences) Macro divorce are gradually expanded(restrictive in the No fault divorce legislation rise of divorce led to a Cultural change companionate to individualized conception of marriage south) normalization of divorce: Women's employment Opportunity effect: the idea that in the Unrestricted Divorce: begins in become really common, breadwinner homemaker, the woman Opportunity effect California, no fault divorce act, and we therefore accept relied highly on her husband, which Income effect fault principle is dead, all that as ok prevented divorce. if the woman works, Women in the workforce is needed is that husband and she is less dependent on her husband. Men's employment wife agree that the marriage is Having an independent income provides over opportunity for divorce mid 1960s: increase in divorce rate because it was easier to get divorced but a majority of increase would have happened even if law didn't change women in the labor force destabilize marriage because now men are on the prowl, and these men have more access to these women in the desegregated gender labor force market Middle class mens earnings have been falling for the last 10 years working class earnings have fallen since the 1970s low earning potential men has also been falling income effect: independent income should lower the threshold for divorce because the wife doesn't need to depend on her husband, but the husband becomes more dependent on the wife; contradicts the 1 opportunity effect Preview Divorce II Explanations Micro refer to changes that happen on the individual rather than the societal level Consequences for spouses Men Women reasons for divorce caused by young age marriage: -marry because of being knocked up(shotgun marriage) -young people still change(young people grow up more) YOUNG AGE AT MARRIAGE CANT EXPLAIN WHY THERE HAS BEEN AN INCREASE IN MARRIAGE SINCE THE 1960S DUE TO INCREASED AGE AT MARRIAGE Micro Explanations I Young age at marriage ages; before age 20 Strong risk factor Cannot explain macro trends
one of the strongest predictors of divorce; Intergenerational transmission of divorce: parental divorce is one of the strongest risk factor for divorce(the children of divorced parents have a larger chance of getting divorced) about 1/2 of the marriages formed at age 18 or younger will end in divorce within 15 years, compared with only 1/3 of the marriages formed after age 20 Lack of homogamy Homogamy: like marrys like the average husband is 2 years older than the average Weak but consistent risk factor wife, husbands tend to earn more than wives, women increasingly have more education than men: BIG Parental divorce DIFFERENCES BETWEEN COUPLES SHOW AN Strong risk factor INCREASED RISK OF DIVORCE(large age gap, Intergenerational transmission different religions, need large differences) explanations: 1.) in order to lead a successful relationship, one needs to know how that is done; divorces by definition have not been successful; if children of divorced parents enter their own marriage, they tend 2.) Not simply by absence of second parent (vis-vis death) 2 Micro Explanations II Cohabitation Strong predictor of divorce Likely pure selection, not causation Cohabitors more likely to divorce regardless of cohabitation But may actually decrease divorce (Elwert) Trial marriage: worse matches weeded out in cohabitation, better matches sort into marriage. Cohabitation prevents divorces by preventing formation of potentially doomed marriages No effect for cohabitors who do marry their partner Divorce as a Process
Distinguish between marital conflict, separation, and legal divorce (Amato 2000) Conflict/unhappiness often prolonged period Separation physically moving apart Divorce Legal separation of assets Legal and physical arrangements for child custody De facto custody still mostly goes to mothers Coordination of parental efforts Noncustodial parent (hopefully) pays child support Co-parenting (coordinate/cooperate) vs. parallel parenting (operate separately) 3 Consequences for Spouses Crisis period
~ 1-2 years of intense emotional upheaval, ambiguous attachment for both spouses Consequences for women Sharp decrease in average economic well-being
~30% decline in standard of living (composition adjusted) Coping strategies: residential moves,living with parents, reenter LF Stress and depression as adjust to being worker and primary parent. Alimony (increasingly rare) Child support 60% if divorced mothers supposed to receive support 49% of custodial mothers get anything ($4,650 in 2001 on average) (Sorenson 2003) Consequences for Spouses Consequences for men Average divorced man suffers economic hardship, too though less than average divorced woman (McManus & DiPrete 2001) Average male standard of living declines 15-20% Loss of wife s income, economies of scale, child support payments But men contributing >80% of pre-divorce income gain in relative standard of living Tight coupling of marriage and fatherhood for men Sharp decline in contact with children and change in nature of time spent together (`fun' activities outside the house rather tan daily interaction) However, increase in single father families (17% of single parent families in 2007), often coresident with other relatives 4 ...
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- Fall '09