Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 3

TYPES OF MARITAL DISSOLUTION According to family analysts, there are many classifications for the types of marital dissolution.

A simple definition of marital dissolution can be when one or more members fail to perform adequately their role obligations, as these are viewed by other members - the following main types of family breakup can be identified: 1. Illegitimacy refers to the incompleted family unit. It may be objected that this unit cannot cease to exist since it never came into existence in the first place. However, in such cases one or both parents are absent and fail to perform their role obligations. 2. Annulment, separation, divorce and desertion refer to the voluntary departure of one or both spouses. 3. Involuntary failure in role obligations because of external events. It refers to the temporary or permanent involuntary absence of one or more members of the family due to death or imprisonment or catastrophe such as flood, war or depression. 4. The empty shell family - although members of the family do live together, they fail in their obligations to give emotional support to one another and there is a minimal communication and contact with one another. 115 5. Unwilled major role failures refer to internal catastrophes including mental, emotional or physical pathologies, such as psychosis of the child or spouse or chronic or incurable physical conditions. The family unit is a social system made up of continuing inputs of goods and services, and if these people fail in performing important role obligations to one another, the family unit may simply cease to exist. According to Haralambos, marital breakdown can be divided into three main categories: 1. Divorce - refers to the legal termination of a marriage; 2. Separation - refers to the physical separation of the spouses; they no longer share the same dwelling; 3. Empty-shell marriages where the spouses live together, remain legally married, but their marriage exists in name only.

These forms must be taken into account in any assessment of the rate of marital breakdown. If a marriage falls apart and is considered irretrievably broken, one or both partners may seek a dissolution of the relationship. The court proceeding legally terminates a marriage, and makes provisions for the parenting of minor children, family support and division of property and liabilities. We will not analyse all the types of marital breakdown. We will focus on divorce as one of the major types of marital dissolution. Divorce is given more attention because: (i) many of the other types of family dissolution are likely to end in divorce sooner or later, (ii) in most countries it is the focus of much moral and personal concern and 116 (iii) changes in divorce rates are usually accompanied by changes in other elements of the societys family system. Activity 1 Which type of marital dissolution is most common in our society? 7.4 EXPLANATIONS FOR MARITAL BREAKDOWNS Nicky Hart argues that, to account for marital breakdown, the following factors must be taken into consideration: 1. factors which affect the value attached to marriage; 2. factors which affect the degree of conflict between the spouses; 3. and factor affecting the opportunities for individuals to escape from marriage. These factors have been analysed from a functionalist perspective where behaviour is, to a greater extent, a response to shared norms and values. It therefore follows that a change in the rate of marital breakdown is, to some degree, a reflection of changing norms and values in general, particularly those associated with marriage and divorce. 7.4.1 The Value of Marriage Functionalists like Parsons and Fletcher argue that the rise in marital breakdown stems largely from the fact that the value of marriage is increasing. 117 People expect and demand more from marriage and consequently are more likely to end

a relationship which may have been acceptable in the past. Fletcher underlines that a relatively high divorce rate may be indicative not of lower but of higher standards of marriage in society. [Haralambos, 1995, pg. 373] This view is supported by the increasing priority given to marriage and the family by the spouses in Young and Willmotts symmetrical family and Goldthrope and Lockwoods privatised family. The high rate of remarriage also provides support to Parsons and Fletchers arguments. Thus, when higher expectations are placed on marriage, it may result in an increase in marital breakdown. Spouses rely more and more on one another and when expectations are not fulfilled within the family, spouses develop conflictual relationship. These might lead to marital breakdown.