I was recently asked to comment on the increased divorce rates in the Indian community and more particularly the increase in Indian woman being the plaintiff in the action. I thought i would share the questions and answers with you. As always, your thoughts and feedback is important to me.
It stated that more Indian women (54.6%) are filing for divorce than men. What are the reasons? Are they that women are more financially stable?
In the past there was a stigma attached to a woman who dared leave her husband. The reason for the breakdown was irrelevant to many and the resultant effect was that woman were more afraid to enter the divorce court for fear of being ostracised by society. In addition, there were more “home executives” who were financially dependent on their spouses. Our past cultures viewed the education of a woman as being unnecessary and of no importance, which further entrenched the notion by either gender that a woman’s place was at home and a man was the breadwinner. Now, woman have ascended to their rightful place as man’s equal, both at home and in the workplace. They now seek careers of their own and are no longer dependant on their husbands financially. This coupled with divorce no longer holding the same social taboo status it once had, makes the decision of exiting an abusive relationship a much easier decision.
Why are more male divorcees (5193) and widowers able to marry than divorced women? Is there a stigma attached to previously married women?
The stigma of divorce is almost non-existent with everyone knowing at least one other person who has undergone a divorce. It is now less of a question of whether a woman are able to remarry and more of a whether they want to remarry. Research has shown that the stress of a divorce is greater for woman than it is for men and this leaves woman less likely to take the plunge a second time. Also is most instances, the woman ends up with daily care and residence of the minors. The added burden of the children’s well-being, further prevents a woman from entering a new relationship as they are worried about the effect this relationships may have on the children. This is not to say that men don’t care about their children, but rather that its easier for a man to trust a new woman around his kids than it is for a woman to trust a new man. .
How are children affected by divorce? There was a large amount of Indians with children under the age of 18 divorcing.
This is a very broad question and perhaps requires a separate discussion. Children are affected by divorce in different ways. There are a number of contributing factors to this including the relationships between the parents pre and post-divorce. Also the financial implications of the divorce on the parent the child lives with, the maturity level of the child as well as how empathetic the child is in general. A child’s reaction to a divorce can vary from growing up with commitment issues, to having low self-esteem. When they are younger they may act out or become withdrawn as a result of being unable to cope with their emotions. Conversely some kids are able to handle the stress and display no issues growing up with divorced parents.
Why is it that one quarter of Indian marriages end within 10 years?
The simple answer is that in this day and age, no one wants to fix a broken marriage! Previous generations were more willing to work through their problems and saw marriage as more than a legal contract. Instant gratification is the order of the day and when this need is not met, we move on to the next thing to grab out attention. Also as a society we have become more cynical regarding that “happy ever after” fairy tale we heard about as children. The cost of living has increased dramatically, meaning both spouses are now working to support the lifestyle they want. This has a contradictory effect of spending less of that lifestyle together as the spouses are too tired to have a relationship. Current societal norms place less emphasis on infidelity than previous ones. The label “cheater” no longer carries the humiliation it once did. We have become desensitised to adultery and the statistics prove this.
What is the Legal Rights of Fathers?
The Childrens’ Act has ensured that fathers (both married and unmarried) have rights equal to that of mothers. However, many parents still use their children as bargaining tools in divorce litigation, and this can become extremely challenging and traumatic for the children.
In closing Divorce is difficult for an adult to comprehend, but almost impossible for a child. Kids panic when faced with a new challenge, and the problem with many “loving” parents is that they don’t take their kids into consideration when getting divorced. I am not saying that if you are stuck in a loveless relationship you must “work it out” but rather before making the decision to leave, the needs and feelings of the ones who have no say in the decision are considered. We have become accustomed to living in a world where divorce is a no longer a topic whispered by housewives, but rather a nonchalant everyday manifestation of societies current moral standards.