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Chapter 14 Divorce and Remarriage. Macro Factors Contributing to Divorce. Divorce : the termination of a valid marriage contract Divorce occurs more frequently today than in the earlier days of the U.S. due to various structural and cultural factors. Macro Factors.

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Chapter 14 divorce and remarriage
Chapter 14Divorce and Remarriage

Macro factors contributing to divorce
Macro Factors Contributing to Divorce

  • Divorce: the termination of a valid marriage contract

  • Divorce occurs more frequently today than in the earlier days of the U.S. due to various structural and cultural factors.

Macro factors
Macro Factors

  • Changing family functions and structure

  • Liberal divorce laws

    • No-fault divorce: a divorce in which neither party is identified as the guilty party or the cause of the divorce

  • Prenuptial agreements

  • Fewer moral and religious sanctions

Macro factors1
Macro Factors

  • More divorce models

  • Mobility and anonymity

  • Social class, ethnicity, and culture

  • Educated white Americans are the least likely to divorce

Micro factors contributing to divorce
Micro Factors Contributing to Divorce

  • Micro factors are individual factors that are predictive of divorce.

  • More likely to be seen as the cause of the divorce

Micro factors
Micro Factors

  • Falling out of love

  • Not spending enough time together

  • Decreasing positive behaviors: compliments, physical affection

  • Having an affair

  • Poor conflict resolution skills

  • Changing values

Micro factors1
Micro Factors

  • Satiation: habituation, the state in which a stimulus loses its value with repeated exposure

  • Believing life will be better if divorced

Ending relationship
Ending Relationship

  • Psychological functioning and happiness of spouses going through a divorce improve after the divorce.

  • Data are mixed on whether remaining unhappily married or getting divorced and remarried has a more positive outcome for the spouses.

Gender differences in filing for divorce
Gender Differences in Filing for Divorce

  • Women are the first to seek help when there is trouble in the relationship.

  • Women are likely to feel a renewed sense of self-identity.

  • Men are concerned about separation from their children.

Consequences for spouses who divorce
Consequences for Spouses Who Divorce

  • The spouse who did not instigate the divorce is more vulnerable to depression.

  • Women fare better emotionally after a divorce.

  • Men are likely to date and remarry sooner.

  • Relationships with extended family change.

  • Spouses recover sooner if they find new interests.


  • Both women and men experience a drop in income.

  • Women tend to suffer more financially.

  • Over half of custodial mothers are awarded child support but most find the amount inadequate.


  • Divorced mothers serve as gatekeepers for the relationship children have with the father.

  • A father’s relationship with a daughter is usually more damaged than his relationship with a son.

  • Shared parenting dysfunction: refers to the set of behaviors on the part of each parent that are focused on hurting the other spouse


  • Parental alienation syndrome: a disturbance in which children are obsessively preoccupied with deprecation or criticism of a parent

  • Parental alienation: an alliance between a parent and a child that isolates the other parent

Effects of divorce on children
Effects of Divorce on Children

  • Benefits of divorce for children

    • Better than living in high-conflict home

    • Learn resilience

    • Receive more attention

  • Negative outcomes of divorce for children

    • Less marital satisfaction

    • Poorer communication skills

    • Poorer parent-child relationships

Effects on children
Effects on Children

  • The primary factor that determines the effect of divorce on children is the degree to which the divorcing parents are civil or adversarial.

  • Legal and physical custody arrangements are also important.

Effects on children1
Effects on Children

  • Legal custody: decisional authority over major issues involving the child

  • Physical custody: visitation, distribution of parenting time following divorce

  • Judges in all states are bound by the “best interests of the child.”

Prerequisites for having a successful divorce
Prerequisites for Having a Successful Divorce

  • Mediate rather than litigate the divorce.

    • Divorce mediation: process in which divorcing parties make agreements with a third party about custody, visitation, child support, and property.

  • Coparent with your ex-spouse.

  • Take some responsibility for the divorce.

  • Learn from the divorce.

  • Create positive thoughts.

  • Avoid alcohol and other drugs.

  • Relax and exercise.

Successful divorce
Successful Divorce

  • Let go of anger and have fun.

  • Continue interpersonal connections.

  • Allow time to heal.

Successful divorce1
Successful Divorce

Psychological stages of divorce

  • Denial

  • Depression

  • Anger or ambivalence

  • New lifestyle and identity

  • Acceptance and integration


  • Blended family: a family in which new spouses have children from previous relationships

  • Binuclear family: a family that spans two households

  • Stepfamily: a family in which partners bring children from previous relationships into the new home


Unique aspects of stepfamilies:

  • Children are biologically related to only one parent.

  • Stepfamily members have experienced loss.

  • Stepfamily members are connected to others outside their family unit.

  • Children may have two homes.

  • Stepfamilies have reduced disposable income.


Unique aspects of stepfamilies

  • Step families are stigmatized by stepism: the assumption that stepfamilies are inferior.

  • Married couples begin their marriage with children in the home.

  • The law usually recognizes children of the first family.