Since the Second World War the divorce rate has increased rapidly. In 1939 19% of marriages ended in divorce whereas in 2012 statistics shows that 42% of marriages end in divorce. Sociologist believe that this may be due to changes in the law throughout Britain making its easier, cheaper and sociology acceptable for married couples to get a divorce. For example the private act of parliament.
The first major change in society was in 1957 when the Private act of parliament was abolished. This meant that people did not need a PAOP to get a divorce. These was very expensive at the time therefore could not be afforded by working class people. So therefore when the law was removed it meant that it closed the gap between the rate of divorce between the middle class and the working class due to the same opportunities.
During 1971 and 1969 divorce reform act came into place resulting in a major increase in the number of divorce. This act meant that couples was able to divorce under mutual consent after 2 years of separation living in an empty shell marriage. Or after 5 years if one partner objected. This showed that the value of gender equality had changed and this gave women the chance to divorce without the consent of their husbands. This was one of the main cumulative factors that gave women more power in society as the most people who filed for divorce were women. At this point divorce rate were plummeting and now society saw divorce as acceptable.
Although the law has been a major influence on the rate of divorce other sociologist would argue that the increase in the divorce rate is due to the changing attitudes of women. Women no longer rely on males for financial support and stability and therefore have more power to end and break relationships. Gibson argued that women now have more freedom to judge and choose what they want and this has encouraged them to become more confident in