A recent Gallup poll addressing the morality of divorce outlines a continuing shift in societal attitudes toward divorce. The results show that, in the view of 73% of Americans, divorce is morally acceptable. This is an all time high. The number has risen 14 percentage points from 2001.
The increasing number of Americans who support the morality of divorce tracks with the declining divorce rate overall as well as the declining marriage rates among younger Americans. This data supports a societal shift in the view of marriage and divorce. This shift was true with those who identified themselves as religious as well as individuals in the older demographic.
What does the Gallup poll mean for the divorce process? The societal shift doesn't have an impact on how a couple gets a divorce. It does inform the process to some degree, however. Here are some ways that the societal shift may aide those individuals for whom divorce is necessary:
- Less stigma from society as a whole
- Less likely to stay in a marriage solely based on religious beliefs as religions become more supportive of divorce as an option
- Extended family opinions are likely changing, thus supportive of divorce
- More awareness of divorce as a positive change in a family if things are not working by staying together
- Less pressure to stay in an abusive relationship
As societal views evolve, we are better able to address the needs of the family and eliminate the stigma of divorce. Families are better off and individuals are better off as well. However, the impact of divorce on the children is still highly dependent upon the abilities of the parents to manage and reduce inter-spousal conflict.