Chapter 27: Marriage and Divorce in the United States
DENNIS L. PECK
Marriage and divorce in the united states The perpetuity of marriage is enforced by law as a protection for children, for whose education and support society as such makes no other provision than the frequently aborted attempt to compel an efficient guardianship of the parent by penal enactments. (Andrews 1975:12) The Romans bemoaned their high divorce rates, which they contrasted with an earlier era of family stability. The European settlers in America began lamenting the decline of the family and the disobedience of women and children almost as soon as they stepped off the boats. (Coontz 2005:1) No trend in American life since World War II has received more attention or caused more concern than the rising rate of divorce. (Cherlin 1992:20) As an often-cited U.S. government report indicates, “Current concerns about the condition of the American family, as well as discussion about ‘family values’ indicate a need for timely ...