By Glenn T Stanton
By Glenn T Stanton
By John Bingham, Telegraph
Welfare minister Lord Freud says Government has ‘clear duty’ to strengthen family and insists true impact of relationship breakdown goes 'far deeper' than benefits bill
The true cost of divorce and family breakdown in Britain goes “far higher” and “far deeper” than the multi-billion pound benefits bill, a welfare minister has warned.
Lord Freud said that the current £9 billion cost to the taxpayer of lone parent benefits amounts to just the tip of the iceberg when the full social cost of separation is taken into account.
He also called for marriage to be “put back into its rightful place” after a surge in the number of children being brought up by unmarried parents who he said were four times more likely to separate than those who tie the knot.
The Coalition should make “no apology” for saying that it has a “clear duty” to strengthen the family, he said.
The peer’s comments, in an article for The Telegraph, came as he acknowledged that family breakdown could be costing the country up to £46 billion a year.
Speaking in the Lords, he also said that the Government should actively attempt to reverse what he called a “major structural changes” in society away from marriage and towards cohabitation.
His remarks came in response to a question from the Bishop of Chester, the Rt Rev Peter Forster, about the cost to the welfare budget from family breakdown.
by Bill Muehlenberg, Culture Watch
Most Western family law courts and systems are greatly skewed against fathers. There is an inbuilt bias against dads, and many are turned into criminals for having done nothing wrong. The facts on this are quite clear. Consider which parent is awarded custody of children after divorce: women are, some 85 per cent of the time in many Western countries.
This is not because the dads do not want the kids, but because the family law courts and tribunals invariably side with the mothers here, even if the dad may not be at fault. Indeed, the majority of divorces are initiated by women. And feminism and political correctness have ensured that women will usually get the benefit of the doubt, while men are looked upon as the villain.
Now of course in a marriage it takes both spouses to make it work, and most divorces also entail faults with both partners. Sure there are some dead-beat dads, abusive husbands, and irresponsible fathers. But there are also mothers who are equally at fault. There are irresponsible mums, abusive wives, and so on. Yet the way the law treats these matters, you would think that women are almost always right, while men are almost always wrong.
February 27th, 2014 Jill Posted in Divorce Comments Off
by John Bingham, Telegraph
Legally binding prenups and financial calculators envisaged in landmark Law Commission report signalling move to DIY divorce in England and Wales
Married couples will be able to draft their own DIY divorce settlements using an officially-approved financial formula without having to fight over details in court under plans put before ministers today.
Under proposals put forward by the Government’s legal reviewer, prenuptial agreements would become legally binding in England and Wales for the first time.
The Law Commission is also urging the Government to consider devising a specific numerical formula which separating couples could use to calculate how to divide their assets.
The introduction of a Government-approved divorce 'calculator’ would allow couples to work out how much each should receive without as much involvement from lawyers.
The Commission has asked a panel of judges and lawyers to prepare guidelines on issues such as maintenance payments to enable couples and people without legal qualifications to draft financial settlements which could then be approved by a court.
by John Bingham, Telegraph
For every pound couples spend on marriage preparation courses and relationship counselling, taxpayers could save up to £11.50, Government-backed study calculates
Encouraging couples to go to marriage courses or relationship counselling sessions could ultimately save taxpayers billions of pounds a year by reducing family break-up, a Government backed study concludes.
The report, the first of its kind, calculates that some successful relationship initiatives could pay for themselves more than 11 times over when the social cost of separation is taken into account.
It follows estimates that broken relationships cost Britain between £20 billion and £44 billion a year in extra benefits for single parents, housing costs or spending on health and the criminal justice system linked to family break-up.
A team led by experts at the Tavistock Institute, the research group, analysed the success rates of three types of marriage and relationship education courses run by the charities including Relate, Marriage Care and Care For the Family.
They included a traditional marriage preparation programme, shorter “relationship education” sessions for established couples and professional counselling for those facing difficulties.
By John Bingham, Telegraph
There is no such thing as a “good” divorce in the opinion of most parents who have been through a split, polling by the counselling charity Relate has found.
Six out of 10 parents who had been through a family break-up said that they did not believe in the idea of a good separation.
More than half of them admitted that, despite their efforts to minimise the pain, the experience had had a negative effect on their children.
The findings follow a separate study by the parenting website Netmums which suggested that the effects of break-up on children are more severe than the adults realise.
The Relate survey also illustrates how protracted most separations can be. Only 40 per cent of those polled said they had completed the process within a year and one in 10 said it had taken more than five years.
By Sarah Harris, Mailonline
Divorced parents are often in denial about how badly the break-up has damaged their children, a survey has found.
More than three quarters believed their children had ‘coped well’ – even though just 18 per cent of youngsters said they were happy with the situation.
Many parents fail to notice that their children are turning to drink and drugs, or even considering suicide, the poll found. Some were insensitive enough to break the news of the divorce to their children by text.
One in five of the children polled felt there was no point confiding in either their mother or father because they were ‘too wrapped up in themselves’.
The survey, by parenting website Netmums, polled about 1,000 divorced parents and 100 children aged eight to 18 from broken homes.
Three quarters of adults believed their children had 'coped well' while just 18 per cent of children said they felt happy
Although it featured only a relatively small pool of youngsters, a stark picture emerged of the struggles that many of them face when coping with their parents’ break-up.
One in 20 had turned to alcohol and one in nine had deliberately wounded themselves. A further 6 per cent had considered suicide, while two of those polled had tried to kill themselves.
Almost a third described themselves as devastated by divorce, while one in 12 thought that it meant their mothers and fathers ‘didn’t love them’ and had ‘let them down’.
By John Bingham, Telegraph
Archbishop and bishops urge parishes to open doors to those not in “conventional family situations” ahead of Pope Francis's gathering to discuss lifting remarried divorcees’ exclusion from Holy Communion
Roman Catholic bishops have offered an olive branch to divorcees and single parents urging priests and parishioners to do more to welcome those not in “conventional family situations”.
The call, in a series of letters read at services, comes ahead of a major gathering in Rome next year which will discuss the possibility of relaxing the ban on remarried divorcees receiving Holy Communion as part of a reassessment of the Church’s response to sweeping changes to family life.
The Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Rev Bernard Longley, was among a series of British bishops who issued pastoral letters to mark the Feast of the Holy Family – which honours Mary and Joseph – calling for greater “understanding and compassion” within the Church for those faced with marital breakdown.
Pope Francis has played down hopes in some quarters of major doctrinal changes but repeatedly spoken of a need not to “judge” people and warned against being “obsessed” with issues such as gay marriage, abortion and contraception.
He recently spoke about finding “another way” of treating divorcees who remarry.
December 20th, 2013 Jill Posted in Divorce Comments Off
by Bradford Wilcox, National Review Online
Another shooting, another son of divorce. From Adam Lanza, who killed 26 children and adults a year ago at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn., to Karl Pierson, who shot a teenage girl and killed himself this past Friday at Arapahoe High in Centennial, Colo., one common and largely unremarked thread tying together most of the school shooters that have struck the nation in the last year is that they came from homes marked by divorce or an absent father. From shootings at MIT (i.e., the Tsarnaev brothers) to the University of Central Florida to the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga., nearly every shooting over the last year in Wikipedia’s “list of U.S. school attacks” involved a young man whose parents divorced or never married in the first place.
This is not to minimize the importance of debates about gun control or mental health when it comes to understanding these shootings. But as the nation seeks to make sense of these senseless shootings, we must also face the uncomfortable truth that turmoil at home all too often accounts for the turmoil we end up seeing spill onto our streets and schools.
The social scientific evidence about the connection between violence and broken homes could not be clearer.
By John Bingham, Telegraph
The image of “men behaving badly” has become so familiar that it has even lent its name to a sitcom.
But a new analysis of official divorce figures, dating back 40 years, shows a dramatic rise in the number of separations in which “unreasonable behaviour” by women has been recognised by the courts as the main cause.
The number of dissolutions granted to husbands in courts in England and Wales because of women behaving badly has increased sixfold in little more than a generation between 1971 and 2011.
Lawyers said the trend was likely to be a reflection of women becoming more financially independent in recent decades, and more willing to assert themselves.
But they suggested more generous divorce settlements for spouses with lower incomes – usually the wife – in recent years, have made it easier for women to leave their husband without fear of living in penury.
By Mona Charen, Real Clear Politics
President Barack Obama spoke about income inequality in a recent address but failed to mention one of the most significant contributors to rising inequality in America: the marriage gap. Jobs are changing, international competition has driven down wages, top executives are pulling down enormous salaries, but it is cultural patterns — specifically personal decisions about cohabitation and marriage — that are most responsible for deepening the divide between haves and have-nots in America. The contrast between the highly educated and the rest of the nation has become so pronounced that some are now calling marriage a "luxury good." If it becomes that — if the collapse of marriage as a norm continues among the poor and the broad middle class — much more than income inequality will result. We will institutionalize a productivity deficit, a healthy community deficit, a schooling deficit and a happiness deficit.
Marriage is decaying very fast. As recently as the 1980s, only 13 percent of the children of moderately educated mothers (those with a high school diploma and perhaps some college) were born outside of marriage, according to research from the National Marriage Project. Today, it is 44 percent. Even more disturbing are the recent data showing that 53 percent of babies born to women under age 30 are nonmarital.
Children of moderately educated parents are beginning to experience family dissolution, instability and pathology at rates more closely resembling the poor than the upper-middle class.
Does religion matter in marriage?
The U.S. is a significantly religious country in terms of how many people believe in God and give a religious affiliation – which should mean that marriage is an important part of life to most people, whether they marry once, many times or never. Unfortunately, some marriages do not last happily ever after, as witnessed by increased divorce rates in the past 40-plus years.
Divorce has been around since before the founding of the United States of America. However, divorce laws are dictated by each state, so some states have historically limited the conditions for divorce. It wasn’t until 1970 that the divorce process in the USA arguably got easier, when California started allowing no-fault divorces and other states eventually did the same.
Religion, Marriage, Divorce: The Numbers
While Americans as a wholly mostly consider themselves religious, divorce rates have increased regardless. Here are some stats on marriage, divorce, and religion.
Note: Because of federal laws, the US Census Bureau does not have mandatory questions on religious affiliations. As such, there is no 100% comprehensive report of religious affiliation for US citizens and residents and thus no complete study of the populace on the inter-significance of religion and marriage. However, there have been other surveys with varying sample sizes conducted specifically to determine religious affiliation and any connection to marriage and divorce. The stats listed below are from these various surveys.
By Kelly Bartlett, MercatorNet
By John Bingham, Telegraph
It comes seven years after the introduction of same-sex civil unions in 2005 and six years after the number of couples forming them peaked.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics also showed that lesbian couples are markedly more likely to dissolve civil partnerships than gay men.
Family lawyers said that the patterns mirrored those for heterosexual couples in which marriages which break down typically do so between four and eight years in, with women are more likely to file for divorce than men.
According to the ONS there were 7,037 new civil partnerships formed in the UK last year, a 3.6 per cent rise on the previous year.
The rise came at a time when the debate about legalising same-sex marriage was at its height.
By David Quinn, Iona Institute
This week The Iona Institute launched a new report called Marriage Breakdown and Family Structure in Ireland. The headline figure is that divorce and separation in Ireland has risen sixfold since 1968. As at Census 2011, almost 250,000 Irish adults were separated or divorced.
I appeared on a number of shows to discuss the report as did Professor Patricia Casey. It’s a pity we didn’t know at the time about a programme that was broadcast in BBC2 last night called ‘Mum and Dad Are Splitting Up’.
The programme interviewed young adults whose parents had divorced. The separated parents were also interviewed. The pain of the young adults whose parents had split up was readily apparent and a lot of their anger was directed at the parent they blamed for the breakup of their family. They didn’t want to hear the excuse of the parent that they were no longer in love.
I debated our report on a number of the shows and several times there was a point blank refusal to acknowledge how serious a problem growing family breakdown presents and how bad it is for children. There was only a concern to minimise the damage to all concerned after a breakup occurred, but there was no real concern I could detect to prevent all these breakups occurring in the first place.
Marriage breakup was instead presented fatalistically as something we have no control over, like the weather. It was also assumed all those broken marriages had been desperately unhappy and that it was better for the children if their parents went their separate ways.
In fact, according to US studies, most marriages that end in divorce are low-conflict and children can cope perfectly well in low-conflict marriages. Low conflict means the parents aren’t violent and and/or constantly shouting at one another.
September 5th, 2013 Jill Posted in Divorce Comments Off
By Yasmin Alibhaii-Brown, Mailonline
Tasha has the look of a young Britney Spears. With long, blonde hair, dressed in a bright pink skimpy top with skin-tight trousers and rather too much make-up, the 17-year-old appears a little too defiant, hard and knowing.
But behind the posturing quivers a hurt little girl, still smarting from the day, as she describes it, 'Dad left Mum for another woman, abandoning us – innocent children with an idyllic family, or so we thought.'
Tasha is one of a number of children and young adults appearing in a BBC TV documentary shown tonight describing, with almost unbearable honesty, the real effect a disintegrating marriage has on children like her.
It's a programme that has struck a particularly resonate chord with me: like Tasha, I will not forget the day, 23 years ago, when my ex-husband announced he was leaving me and our ten-year-old son.
I can still recall the sight of my boy dissolving, sobbing, still not believing that his parents would no longer live together.
I remember the message he recorded on his little cassette player, how he begged his dad to come back – and in turn the hackneyed platitudes delivered by the man who never understood, never wanted to understand, what he did to his child.
August 6th, 2013 Jill Posted in Divorce Comments Off
By John Bingham, Telegraph
The rise of the so-called “silver splitter” is set out in an official study showing that the number of people over 60 getting divorced has risen by three quarters in just 20 years.
For centuries couples getting married have promised to be faithful “till death us do part”.
But according to the Office for National Statistics, dramatic changes in life expectancy have prompted many couples to reconsider whether they really want to grow old together.
The ONS singled out the fact that people are living longer as the most likely cause for the surge in people heading for the divorce courts as they reach retirement age.
A more relaxed attitudes to divorce among the “baby boomer” generation in comparison with their parents and greater financially independence among women were also cited as possible explanations.
But, significantly, the figures show that, in stark contrast with other age groups, men over 60 are as likely to file for divorce as women.
From Huffington Post
By Michael Bradley, Ruth Institute
Father’s Day 2013 has been accompanied, as is usual anymore, by many reflections on the sorry state of fatherhood in the western world.
Many articles in this vein diagnose the problems of modern fatherhood by identifying the myriad cultural practices and ideologies that have reduced and confused the role of fathers in the family, and in a broader context, in society.
Everyone, from religious leaders to politicians and even the President, can plainly see that we are in the midst of a “fatherhood crisis.” Scores of empirical data corroborate this reality, though one hardly needs to consult social science to know that when men are poor husbands to their wives and poor fathers to their children, society suffers badly for their selfishness.
Especially in conservative and religious circles, much ado has been made about the need for men to step up to the plate and play ball. Those vocalizing such arguments often cite the terrible social repercussions and costs of poor fatherhood, the child’s need for her father or the amount of government intervention that attends the broken family culture.
In thus diagnosing the “fatherhood crisis” by referring to the meta-consequences of men being poor fathers, I think that such well-intentioned folks often miss the more fundamental and prior point of problem: Men are being poor men. The fatherhood crisis is the fruit of a “manhood crisis.” You can’t make men better fathers by calling them to be better fathers. You can make men better fathers by calling them to be better men. The solution and the problem lie far in advance of fatherhood, even “spiritual fatherhood.”
May 31st, 2013 Jill Posted in Divorce Comments Off
Ashley E. McGuire, MercatorNet
No fault divorce was greeted as liberation, but the result has been misery for all involved.
How appropriate that Justice Alito brought up cell phones in the recent Supreme Court hearings on the marriage cases. Because these days it seems like it is easier to get out of a marriage than it is to get out of a cell phone contract.
It is no secret that marriage is in a state of severe crisis in America. And while academics, statisticians, and pundits may quarrel about the exact divorce rate or its causes, no one would deny that the widespread legalization of no-fault divorce beginning in the early 1970s saw an explosion of divorce in this country.
Yet as social conservatives, and even many liberals, wring their hands about marital and familial breakdown, few seem to question whether our experiment with treating marriage like a restaurant experience—order what you like and send it back if you change your mind—is worth reconsidering.
Instead, no-fault divorce has become an assumed feature of the landscape of unbridled American freedom. Whereas once freedom in this country meant the right to live a good life, the ability to be a moral agent in the human enterprise, the chance to chase happiness, it now increasingly appears to mean the right to do whatever you want whenever you feel like it, regardless of whom you destroy in the process.
No-fault divorce is destroying women, children, and men. More precisely, divorce destroys marriage, and the destruction of marriage harms every party involved. The legality of no-fault divorce just makes it infinitely easier to hurt people. There are no two ways about it. No one comes out of a divorce a happier and more whole person.