Should the legal system make it difficult for married couples to get a divorce, & harder to cohabit outside of marriage, with children?
Since the 1970s, the traditional family has been changing as we have experienced steady trends with growing numbers of divorces and more children born out of wedlock. What can the United States government do to strengthen families and marriages in American society? How can the people change the culture to strengthen families and marriages? Refer to examples from the text to support your answer. Now, critique your answer from the point of view of a functionalist or a conflict theorist.
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In these days it is very easy to get a divorce. Many couples get married always knowing that if things do not work out they can simply call it quits and get a divorce. This conception does need to be changed. Couples should enter marriage with conception that they are going to be with their spouse for lifetime. There are, however, reasons for divorce such as abuse or infidelity. Maybe it just should not be easy to get a divorce. Perhaps requiring marriage counseling before divorce would work. Also, requiring counseling before marriage may help couples to realize that marriage is intended for life.
Cohabitation is a different story. It is important to ask why the couple chooses to co-habitate. If they are co-habitating in order to get extra money from the government (for example,to get money to raise their children) then this is wrong.
In this era of arguments over gay marriage, we often hear conservatives argue that the sanctity of marriage is under attack. If marriage truly is the basis of society, as they say, then the legal system should make divorce and cohabitation harder. It would need to do so, though, in ways that make sure to protect the rights and interests of the spouse who gives up a career, for example, to look after children. In the old days when divorce was hard to come by, women could be abused (physically or otherwise) because they were economically dependent.
I do believe that a weakened family structure is bad for society. I think it would make sense to do things that make it more likely for families to stay together. However, I think it would be very hard to devise workable programs that would actually help while still preserving the rights and interests of both spouses.
The objective of divorce laws is not to make it easy or difficult for people to get divorce. The purpose of divorce laws are to ensure that the divorce are granted only when it is in the interest of the parties getting the divorce. It also aims to ensure that the utility of the institution of marriage to the society is not undermined by either granting or not granting the divorce. Similarly, laws regulating cohabiting outside of marriage are also intended to safeguard the interest of individuals as well as that of the society as a whole.
Of course the the culture of a society including the laws and customs governing things like wedding, divorce, living together without getting married and so many others. Any attempt to resist these changes cannot be justified solely on the grounds of protecting and perpetuating the old values and beliefs. Any change must be resisted or supported on the basis of its impact on the overall well being and happiness of the people in society in view of changing realities like, technology, economic systems and relationships, individual work practices and life style, and globalization.
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