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Cause and Effect of Divorce

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Cases of divorce are increasingly becoming common in the American society. The legal acceptance of divorce has been dictated by the evident rise in infidelity, substance abuse, and family violence in the community (Clarke-Stewart, 2006). For opponents of divorce, there is neither a moral nor ethical reason for couples to be trapped in an unfulfilling family relationship. However, divorce has many social-economic effects to the children, couples and the society as a whole. Divorce for example has been identified as a leading cause of financial crisis in many single parent families, a factor which compromises the social and academic life of the children (Amato, 2000). This essay is a discussion on the causes and effects of divorce in the American society.

The causes of divorce in the society are numerous. First is a financial problem (Amato, 2000). Statistical evidence on divorce rates has it that spouses who are unable to manage their financial budgets are more prone to divorce compared to others. Substance abuse particularly alcohol is another major cause of divorce in many families (Clarke-Stewart, 2006). Alcohol is a leading cause of dialogue breakdown in a family. It also can cultivate a culture of domestic violence in the family as well as resulting into more financial management in the family. Still to be appreciated is the fact that most families end up in divorce after failure of the couples to resolve substance abuse problems (Clarke-Stewart, 2006). Therefore, since substance abuse greatly negates the reasoning and judgmental ability of the victim, then it is no doubt a major cause of divorce.

Another cause of divorce is infidelity (Clarke-Stewart, 2006). Faithfulness among couples is the most fundamental requirement for promoting trust, appreciation and understanding among couples. Although many cases of infidelity are easily resolved by couples through forgiving, repeated instances reflect a non sustainable marriage thus leading to divorce. Still on infidelity is the problem of emotional and family desertion. In most cases infidel spouse tend to neglect their families both emotionally and financially (Amato, 2000). Such emotional stress results into divorce. Sexual problem like impotence by one of the spouse can lead to divorce as it compromises the sexual purpose of the marriage. This has in fact been the most cited cause of divorce.

Other causes of divorce include immaturity. It has been established that most family breakups after a short time is due to lack of understanding and/or failure the spouse to meet their expectations (Clarke-Stewart, 2006). Marriage as a social institution dictates for upholding adult behavior between couples, failure to which divorce become a potential solution to the problem. Meddling and excessive demands by in-laws compromises the social and economic harmony in a family and can result into divorce if not sufficiently dealt with. The culture of domestic violence can rarely sustain a relationship as it hinders communication between couples thus compromising the family conflict resolving process. This makes domestic violence a major cause of divorce.

There are many effects divorce. First divorce negates the societal meaning and expectation of a family. Family is the most basic unit of the society. Due to this reason, family unity is a major expectation in the society. It is based on this reason that victims of divorce face much stigmatization from other members of the society (Amato, 2000). Financial problems are another effect of divorce. According to available statistics on divorce, it is evident that an estimated over fifty percent of single families are economically disadvantaged. Divorce forces families to change social and economic lifestyles as it compromises the financial stability of the families (Amato, 2000).

Divorce is a source of emotional stress particularly on the kids. Available psychological evidence has shown that children find it hard in coming into terms with the fact that the parents are divorce. They see themselves as the reason behind their parents’ conflict. Living with such guiltiness leads to emotional stress. Indeed, statistical evidence has it that children who are victims of divorce are more like to engage in substance abuse at as early as twelve years of age (Amato, 2000). Also, this emotional stress has a negative impact on the children’s social and academic life. This can also be partly attributed to the fact that divorce can lead to changing of the social and economic status of the family. Due to this, kids find many problems trying to adjust to their new family setting.

Another problem of divorce is that it affects the development of the children. According to psychologists, the development of a child’s character traits is mainly by copying behaviors and characters of the surrounding (Amato, 2000). This means that by divorce, the negation of the strong parental-child relationship can compromise the character traits of the child. Still, as a result of divorce, children may be forced to negate their attitude towards one gender in the society (Amato, 2000). This has the end result of compromising the social relationship, respect and trust for that gender.

In conclusion, divorce can be caused by many reasons. However, the most common are financial problems, sexuality problems, infidelity and domestic violence as well as poor influence from in-laws. The effects of divorce range from psychological, to children character development as well as change in social and economic status by family members due to changes in financial status.


Amato, P. (2000). The Consequences of Divorce for Adults and Children. _Journal of Marriage and the Family_, 62, 11-26.

Clarke-Stewart, A., & Brentano, C. (2006). Divorce: Causes and Consequences. Retrieved March 22, 2010, from http://books.google.co.ke/books?id=9L7cAssKMLcC&printsec=frontcover&dq=causes+and+effects+of+divorces&hl=en&ei=1o-nS-TZJpHwsQPHoIT3Aw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDsQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=causes%20and%20effects%20of%20divorces&f=false

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