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Is Divorce a Taboo?


Divorce has become much more familiar in modern life; it is no longer a secret of the past. The research into the changing attitudes towards marriage found that it is young people who are now mostly likely to believe that divorce is socially acceptable. Only 56 per cent of people aged 18 to 24 said that divorce was taboo, compared to 67 per cent of 24- to 60-year-olds.  A lot of younger couples eager to fix a relationship, but there are still vast numbers of couples who give up on marriage too quickly before seeking experts help. There is no such painless divorce; people are getting accustomed to it.


With divorce no longer taboo in our conservative Indian society, the number of couples breaking their marital vows has increased. In the last few years, the numbers have been so high that judicial administration decided to designate separate family courts to handle the matters. Criminal cases, including maintenance and review of material benefits, are increasing at a dramatic rate. Between 2011 to 2015, 15,000 cases have been transferred to different family courts, apart from fresh cases. Maximum numbers of cases are maintenance / alimony related. Of course being aware of law is highly appreciated but to misuse it like killing the time of court and the husband going to dogs. Demanding heavy alimony is mainly to harass the husband and not signing the divorce agreement has become a trend. It is just like playing the golf. As a lawyer, I counsel the couples not to get into unholy affair of separation, which is not possible in any courts (Civil or criminal), but to the surprise they often engaged in allegations and counter allegations. There are many reasons to it, alcoholism, psychiatric problems, increased financial independence, high expectations and exposure to open/ultra modern society and trend lead to intolerance among couples.


The societal changes brought immense freedoms that previous generations did not have. The commitment to stay in a marriage in order to make it work gave way to an attitude of moving on if the marriage was in difficulty. Women working outside the home gained a measure of economic freedom. This in turn created less of an incentive to work out marital differences. The independence produced by increased household income also gave men a loophole to reduce their sense of responsibility and commitment to a marriage. It is a two way process. The latest breed of “me now” generation claiming, “Why stay in a difficult or loveless relationship?” Move on! As if marriage is a one night stand. Find whatever it is that will provide happiness. Under such conditions it is not surprising that in the 1990s the divorce rate doubled, with the younger generation being major contributors. That generation held views quite different from those of their parents, especially in respect of fidelity, chastity acceptance, commitment and responsibility.


The wide range of negative effects is a drain on our society as a whole and the costs attached to them go far beyond just financial expenditure. The effects of a divorce can be a drag on both education and finances of children from divorced parents. Our whole society suffers when fewer people get married and more people get divorced. It creates a situation where more people are choosing single parenthood or cohabitation over traditional two-parent family life in the first place. The two-parent family is the best environment to raise healthy, happy children. It has also been shown that the two-parent family unit is the most important institution for stability in society.


The divorce of parents, even if it is an amicable decision, tears apart a family–the fundamental unit of a society. It is no longer surprise to find, then, that the prevalence of divorce is having profound effects on society. What may surprise many policymakers and other society is how strong the relationship is between family background and such problems as crime, abuse and neglect, and addictions. Divorce impedes learning by disrupting productive study patterns as children are forced to move between domiciles, and by increasing anxiety and depression in both parents and children. Divorce can save people from a bad marriage, but research has shown that it can also debilitate a society. Divorced adults are more likely to become impoverished while their children experience psychological and economic stress hindering their social development. Divorce hinders society by dissolving families and weakening belief in the family as an essential social unit. To sociologists, the family does more than unite people by marriage and blood or adoption; it provides the educational, financial and emotional support its members need to thrive socially. Without this support, divorced adults and their children are mentally and physically weakened, becoming less productive social participants.

Divorce culture is now part of everyday life. It is embedded in our laws and institutions, our manners and mores, our movies and television shows, our novels and children’s storybooks, and our closest and most important relationships. Indeed, divorce has become so pervasive that many people naturally assume it has seeped into the social and cultural mainstream over a long period of time. Yet this is not the case. Divorce has become a way of life.


Restoring the importance of marriage to society and the welfare of children will require politicians and civic leaders to make this one of their most important tasks. It also will require a modest commitment of resources to pro-marriage programs. Refocusing funds to preserve marriage by reducing divorce and illegitimacy not only will be good for children and society, but in the long run will save money. If the family is the building block of society, then marriage is the foundation of the family. However, this foundation is growing weaker, with fewer adults entering into marriage, more adults leaving it in divorce, and more and more adults eschewing it altogether for single parenthood or cohabitation.


The fracturing and destabilizing of our society will continue as the “culture of divorce” exacts its toll. Divorce is changing the basic nature of marriage, and unless the trend is stopped and our hearts are turned to each other and to our children, this “new kind of ultra modern society” is in danger. The sanctity of marriage should be once again be elevated and let a healthy society get restored. Many such divorces could easily be prevented if both husband and wife could learn to forgive each other, and to approach each other more gently and lovingly when reconciliation was required. To avoid the tragedy of divorce and the train of painful consequences for both parents and children, we need to discover once again the great truths that a forgiving heart brings healing to wounded relationships and, above all, that unselfish love is fundamental to a happy and enduring marital relationship.


Finally, by not divorcing each other, we should divorce our flaws,egos,arrogance and blame game. Life is a roller coaster and we must know how to manage it.


( Author is a Lawyer and a Writer )









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