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Divorce Essay, Research Paper

Divorce is a problem! Not only for the children and families living through one?or two or three, But for the people growing up in America. The problem is that the message being sent, through Americas increase in divorce rates, is that it is O.K. to make a mistake (which is true for most cases). But when it comes to marriage people should not wait until they are married to realize that mistake. The main reason for this misconception and increase in divorces has a lot to do with the laws, and the changes made to them.

If you look back thirty years ago you would see that every state had a Fault based system of divorce. Which basically means you could only get divorced on grounds of adultery, physical abuse, mental cruelty, desertion, imprisonment, alcohol & drug addiction or insanity (which are all very good reasons to get divorced). You would also see that every state had a much lower divorce rate. But in 1969 when James Hayes of California drafted the No-Fault divorce law, which was then signed into law by Gov. Ronald Reagan. Five years later 45 states did the same, and by 1985 every state had either switched to the No-Fault law or changed their existing laws in some way. The result was a 250% increase in divorce rates from 1960 to 1980 (according to a fifty state survey conducted by the Journal of Marriage and the Family). Also, younger people in the U.S. who are marrying for the first time face roughly a 40-50% chance of divorcing in their lifetime under current trends (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1992, P.5). And of those marriages that end in divorce, many will end in the first 3 to 5 years (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1992, P.4).

Although much of this increase is to blame on the divorce laws themselves the media plays a big part to, especially with the increasing amount of people who own and watch T.V. I mean that when adults and children see movie stars, sports players and wealthy people, whom most children see as role models, going through large publicized divorces, it sends a message that it’s O.K. to divorce. For example, when the famous Donald Trump got divorced or when Dennis Rodman & Carmen Electra got drunk one Saturday night in Las Vegas and decided to have a quick secret wedding, but eventually sobered up and got a divorce. Then there’s the more recent “Who Wants To Marry A Multi-Millionaire.” Where it took Darva Conger 48 hours to realize that she used to have good family values and that she made a huge mistake. But it seems she lost them values again once she was offered (and accepted) $400,000 dollars to pose nude for Playboy’s upcoming issue. All these are just some of the media’s ways of portraying a divorce happy society.

Although divorce is generally not a good thing, it is necessary for many situations. If there is an abusive relationship or a parent has been sent to prison, exc. But that doesn’t mean that if you get in a fight with your spouse, that you should get a divorce. Marriage is supposed to be taken seriously, so if you have a SERIOUS problem then divorce is necessary. The main problem with divorce is that whom it affects the most is the ones who truly have to live with it, the children. Although many studies have shown that children in divorced families have more difficulty in school, more behavior problems, more negative self-images, more problems with peers and more trouble getting along with their parents. This does not mean that all children in divorced families are worse off than all children in intact families. Also, the difference’s between children in different types of families is less important than what causes these differences. The main cause of these differences has to do with the loss of a parent, economical losses, and more life stress from changes in children’s living situations, like changing schools, child care, homes, etc.

The best way to lower divorce rates is to make it harder to get a divorce, by getting rid of the No-Fault divorce law. That way people will be truly making a commitment when they decide to get married. Also, there should be certain levels of divorce. So it is much harder for married couples with children to get a divorce than married couples with out children. There should also be free marriage counseling required before marriage and divorce. Finally, marriage laws should be at the Federal level instead of the state level. So every state is required to have the same laws. I feel this will work because if you make it harder to get married and get a divorce, marriage will be a real commitment. Although it may cause less people to get married, the one’s that do will stay married longer.

In conclusion, divorce isn’t a problem, until it’s taken for granted! Also I think that lowering divorce won’t necessarily get rid of crime, or troubled children. But it will raise people’s moral values.

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