The institution of marriage has been changing over the past fewdecades. Different regions of the world exhibit different marriagevalues. Apart from being a social affair and a religious issue, theconstitutions of different countries have provisions providing forthe establishment and termination of the association. Unlike in thepast when people inclined to the idea of marriage as an institutionthat should only end with death, people have different views andstands, and the conventional belief about marriage is fast becomingobsolete. The United States is a society experiencing great changesin the way people perceive marriage the rate of divorce is rising bythe day. Today, people have the option to stay away from marriagesthat make them uncomfortable or curtail their interests. Childrenhave been the recipient of the consequences of divorce. Thegovernment realized this and established a legal procedure for peopleto end their marriage and at the same tome take respectiveresponsibilities for the children.
The legal environment surrounding divorce is open and affordable tothose seeking it, and it appears to be one to the factors that isfacilitating most people to seek a legal way out t of theirmarriages. However, the innate human rights of freedom of choice andassociation give people the right to choose. Therefore, the lawshould not be a barrier for people walking out of their marriages.The policymakers should not tighten the law to restrict people intotheir marriages as they have the liberty to choose whether to remainin a long-term relationship with their spouses despite that theinstitution of marriage seems to be under siege.
The current statistics juxtapose the marriage and divorce rate in thecountry for the past few decades. The United States has experienced apredictable future of the marriage institution especially with theeasily foreseeable divorce rates in future. The marriage rates havedeclined in all the age groups, but it shows drastic changes amongthe young people. In the country, only 20% of the youth aged 18-29are married (Kennedy and Steven 588). It contrasts with the 59% rateof marriage among the youth in the same age group in 1960. However,most of these youths have been married at last one time. Thestatistics show that about 72% of all the unmarried have been in atleast one marriage but walked out of their marriage through divorceor an informal separation (Kennedy and Steven 590). Researchindicates that about 40% and 50% of all first marriages and 60% ofall second marriages will end up in divorce (Kennedy and Steven 592).The above rate of divorce is alarming since it provides that half ofthe marriages will end in a divorce. There are several factors thatresearchers attribute to the increased rate of divorce.
First, research shows that marriage between teenagers has alikelihood of leading to a divorce rather than when individuals entermarriage after settling down (Vang and Matthew 145). The individualswho enter marriage in their teenage have exhibited a higher rate ofdivorce than those who enter marriage in their late twenties andthirties. As they develop, teenagers are likely to experiencevarious problems emanating from the responsibilities of the familylike taking care of the children and paying bills (Hetherington 21).Most of the young people who enter marriage at this age are usuallyfinancially unstable, and they rely on their parents or a few bucksthat they make from doing some quick jobs (Vang and Matthew 147). Asthe responsibilities intensify, domestic wrangles are likely to eruptand most of them opt to get out of the association. As indicated, therate of marriage among the youth between the of 18 and 29 has gonedown to 20% while out of these youths, about 72% have been in atleast one marriage (Vang and Matthew 147). The 72% affirms that youngmarriages are at risk of a contemplated divorce due to the hardshipsthey face out of poor preparation and lack of independence (Vang andMatthew 148).
Apart from early marriages and the challenges associated withentering into the marriage without proper financial preparation,incompatibility is another major cause of divorce. A research by theCertified Divorce Financial Analysts indicates that basicincompatibilities build up into major problems that make peoplerealize that they cannot continue living together while pursuing verydifferent and sometimes conflicting interest(Dew, Sonya and Sandra621). Incompatibility usually arises from the individual goal thatpeople pursue that have a direct relationship to their career,investment or education. Some people, due to the nature of their workmay find it necessary to relocate to more convenient areas. The issueprimarily arises due to their career on the other hand, there mightbe a form of attachment between one partner and the initial residencethat may prevent them from moving. The separation the develops mayfinally lead to divorce. Also, some careers that people may puree mayprove to be incompatible with the interests of the other part (Dew,Sonya and Sandra 621). For example, one may secure a job thatrequires lengthy deployments into distant places while the otherpartner may prefer a partner who sticks around or come home often. Asthe certified divorce financial analyst found out, such differencesmay appear as small problems but they become amplified to, and thecontribute to divorce. The problems arising from theseincompatibilities drive people to make critical decisions relating totheir marriage. The freedom of choice, as well as association, offersthem a clear path to seek the desires of their lives whenever theyfeel dissatisfied with given circumstances. Divorce, therefore,becomes an option for consideration.
Ina research published in The Family Relations Journal dubbed,Examining the Relationship between Financial Issues and Divorce,researchers found out that financial wrangles are also some of theleading causes of divorce (Dew, Sonya and Sandra 616). The inquiryindicates that one of the issues that lead to heated debates infamilies revolve around the use of family resources includinginvestments and general spending (Dew, Sonya and Sandra 617). Most ofthe couples in the United States are in active employment and theyearn decent lives from the money they earn. However, disagreements onhow to use these finances lead to long-lasting feelings of mistrustof intimidation. A partner who earns less than the other may not havean equal hand in deciding how to use the family resources. Also, theAmerican Society builds its values on independence whereby, peopleenter the equal marriage partners and they do not have to dependnecessarily on each other financially (Britt and Sandra 464). In thecase of disagreement, the partners may result to use their financesas the basis to argue for a divorce since they can take care ofthemselves and cater for any responsibilities that may be determinedby the court (Dew, Sonya and Sandra 621). These decisions and valueson independence affect the options that people take for theirmarriages. The capacity to live independently without financially onanother individuals is enough for people to lead content lives.
The legal environment surrounding divorce is also another factor thatcontributes to the problem. All the states in the country have fairlysimilar laws but with a few restrictions that guide on howindividuals should end their marriages. Anyone wanting to terminatetheir marriage through the court does not face any restriction, andthey can get state counsel if they cannot afford one (Voena 8). Thelaw has well-defined laws that determine the custody of children andgives parents their respective responsibilities (Voena 8). Theefficiency of such laws makes it easy for people to follow the legalprocedures and walk out of relationships that do not favor theirinterest. The number of people seeking legal divorces has been on theincrease, and people are getting rid of the informal separations thatdo not place any responsibilities on them.
Divorce in the United States is governed by the laws developed in theindividual states. From a legal perspective, it is the dissolution ofmarriage by a judge, and it restores the individuals in their statusof being single (Kennedy and Steven 587). The law provides for thecaring of the children, sharing of property, child custody andvisiting ad the division of debt. The court divides property underthe aspects of community property and equitable distribution. In thecommunity distribution of property, the husband and the wife sharesproperty equally regardless of the spouse who acquired it (Voena 9).The wealth accumulated during marriage with the communal effort issubject to equal distribution. However, each party keeps thepremarital assets. However, the court may consider the emotionalattachment of the asset tone spouse, and it may allow that spouse tokeep such assets.
Most of the states have implemented the no-fault divorce whereby theparty instigating the divorce should not be necessarily presentenough evidence to show that his/her partner has marital fault ormisconducts that warrant a divorce. The no-fault provision does notnecessarily have to meet the state’s threshold such ofirreconcilable differences and incompatibilities among other seriousissues.
The number of divorce cases passing through the courts has increasedto 70% with the institution of the no-fault law. The informallysettled divorce may result in people failing to receive a justsettlement, for example for the custody of children or the sharing ofthe property (Voena 14). The legal provisions adopted by all thestates have fairly similar laws for the of both the community and thepremarital property. Of all the divorce cases that go to the courts,95% of them remain uncontested (Voena 16). It is an indication thatthe most if the parties that are opting for a divorce agree toterminate their relationship even before going to the court for aformal settlement. The no-fault law, however, has been in thespotlight as one of the factors that make it easy for people to walkout on others without the presentation of any evidence of maritalfault or misconduct. However, it should be noted that the factorsthat lead people to marriage involve the application of individualconsent, and since people, enter the relationship without anyunnecessary conviction, the law should not bar them from voluntarilyterminating it willfully even without them presenting any evidence ofabuse or misconduct.
Women file more divorces than men. A study published by the AmericanLaw and Economic review indicates that women file more thantwo-thirds of all the divorce cases in the courts. After the no-faultdivorce, the number of women filing divorce increased to 70% (Voena14). The study also indicates that the increasing number of women isdue to their anticipation of advantages of remaining single ratherthan remaining married. Children custody has been a factor thesignificantly affects the rate of divorce. As mention, the divorcelaws in some states have slight variations. In states where thefamily law requires joint custody of children, the number of divorcesis slightly higher. Therefore, some aspect of the law influencespeople divorce seeking behavior.
A comparison between the number of divorce cases settled in court,and the ones settled informally also shows that role played by thelegal environment to facilitate and ease the process. Of all thedivorce case in the country, 90% of them pass through the courts(Voena 14). Therefore, most people are comfortable with the judicialprocess and its efficiency. The application of the law seems to havethe free of any barriers that may help individuals to hold theirfamily together. However, from a different perspective theeffectiveness of the divorce law has come to save people fromremaining in marriages that do not make them feel comfortable andpursue their interest. The freedom of choice and association thatpeople have grants them the liberty to choose the kind of people tostay with or second their lives. An emphasis may be placed on theno-fault law that scraps any restriction for individuals to terminatetheir marriages willfully.
Although the law seems to support people’s interest in pursuing adivorce, the states should not in any way introduce restrictivebarriers to the process. First, individuals enter into a marriagewithout any application of the law from the state. Their consent andunderstanding serve as the primary factor for consideration. Thedecision to stay in the marriage or terminate it should, therefore,find a premise in the same premise of individual consent (Viitanen97). The law should only come in to settle the financial of maritalaffairs that developed after marriage such as child-rearing burdenand sharing of property. It should, therefore, be efficient andaffordable to all the deserving citizens.
Secondly, the choice to remain single, to be separated or to getdivorced is a choice embedded in the inherent rights and the freedomsprovided by the Constitution. Article11 of the United States bill ofrights grants individuals the right to pursue their interest. Itgives people the liberty to choose the groups to associate with, orindividually pursue their goals (Kourlis 353). The constitution isthe blanket law that applies to all the states and nay other lawcoined to operate as a complementary prop for the constitution shouldnot act in conflict with the constitution. Therefore, states shouldhonor this provision ad let people practice their freedom of pursuingtheir interests. Also, the current curtails any efforts of individualseeking divorce at the expense of the other party or the children.For example, the courts decide on children custody and the sharing ofproperty (Maccoby, Charlene and Robert 93). So it would be unfoundedto believe that the termination of property affects the rights of theother involved parties.
In conclusion, more than half of all the marriages in the UnitedStates end up in divorce. Early marriages, incompatibility, andfinancial issues are some of the leading causes of divorce. The legalprocedures that surround divorce should not introduce lengthybureaucracies to bar people from seeking a divorce. The number ofpeople seeking divorce in the courts has been on the increaseespecially with the implementation of the no-fault law. The no-faultlaw does not require a spouse to provide any evidence of maritalmisconduct or abuse that would warrant a divorce (Voena 32). Mostpeople feel that the increasing number of divorces after the no-faultlaw is evidence that laws makes divorce easy and therefore, apreference for many (Voena 19). However, the innate freedoms and therights provided in the constitution gives people the liberty tochoose either to remain in marriage terminate. The bill of rightsgrants people the right to pursue their interests or join anotherparty for a similar purpose. The law provides for the interest of theparties who may suffer from the effects of divorce. It settles issuesto do with child custody and sharing of property. The law should notinterfere with people’s consent when they want to terminate amarriage.
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