Research papers on divorce

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Research papers on divorce

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…The scientific study of divorce is still in its rudimentary stages. Social psychiatry has, within the past decade or two, made promising beginnings toward understanding the problem. The researches which Joseph K. Folsom, E. W. Burgess, and others have been making toward devices for forecasting the probable success in marriage of given contemplated combinations of people are highly promising. The departments of sociology in colleges and universities, the domestic relations and divorce courts, and the other institutions and individuals which are dealing professionally with family relationships, have a rich opportunity here to render fundamental social service.

Scientific study of divorce and of family relations in general should be supplemented by a more realistic educational policy in high schools and colleges. In colleges, students who study the family are usually required to spend large portions of their time memorizing details about the family life of aborigines or of ancient peoples, and in studying great masses of half-interpreted and often relatively insignificant statistics. The applied psychology of human relations in family life, and the usable and practical results of family research up to date, should be made available to high-school as well as to college students in ways which may develop constructive attitudes and skills rather than merely stock their brains with temporary and not very valuable information.

The government publishes elaborate tables classifying divorces in accordance with the "causes" stated in the complaints. But it is a mistake to suppose that these statistics throw much light upon the relative importance of the social and personal factors which would have to be altered in order that divorce might be reduced. Careful studies of the "causes" alleged in court proceedings for divorce, in comparison with factors which the husband and wife felt were responsible, and with the conditions which experienced social consultants felt may have played important parts in the break-up of the homes, have shown that the excuses presented to judges may have very little relation to the real disruptive causes. The legal papers are drawn up in accordance with the conditions specified in the law as justifying divorce.

The futility and hypocrisy of the present legal treatment of divorce is well illustrated by these discrepancies. The laws on the subject are widely out of touch with social reality. The statutes have been based upon the conception that marriage is a partnership in which the state has so great an interest that it cannot permit the contract to be broken unless some condition has arisen which invalidates it. The possible invalidating conditions are conceived of legally in an arbitrary and mechanical fashion…

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