1.1 BACKGROUND STUDY
Divorce is the dissolution of marital relations; in this process marriage is completely broken down either in social or legal context. The Black Dictionary of law has defined divorce as "the legal separation of husband and wife affected by the judgment of decree of a court and either totally dissolving the married relations or suspending its effect so far as concern the combination of the practices (1994). Divorcees are free to remarry after divorce whereas separation may not allow it.
Divorce is nothing and in common senses it is taken easily somewhere in which a couple ends their marital relations and starts to remarry, but it may create some vital problems in the family, like adjusting to new life.
Many divorced people remarry in Nigeria, as well as other parts of the world, and about half those who do are already parents. The result is the creation of “blended families”, also called “stepfamilies”. For instance, in 1992, over 11 percent of all American children were living with one biological parent and one stepparent. Estimates are that a fourth of American children will live with a stepparent before reaching the age of sixteen. By the year 2000, it has been estimated that, stepparent is expected to outnumber traditional nuclear families (Cherlin and Furstanberg
2000). It can be argued that, perhaps the most important factor in the increase in divorce throughout the twentieth century has been the greater social acceptance of divorce. In particular, this increased tolerance has resulted from relaxation of negative attitudes toward divorce among various religious denominations. Although, divorce is still seen as unfortunate, it is no longer treated as sin by most religious leaders (Gerstel 1987).
Marriage is a social and cultural phenomenon and approved social pattern where by two or more persons establish a family. Sexual intercourse between the marital partners and subsumes reciprocal right and obligation between the spouses and their children. Marriage is a key means that enables to make a union between a man and woman, which may situate in different socioeconomic background. However, the forms of marriage are responsible to disruption of marital status and lead to divorce. In the present research 63.0 percent of divorce cases were under the arranged marriage, which may challenge to western divorce trend where, maximum cases of marriage are under love marriage which breakdown easily. Similarly, 37.0 percent of divorce cases are found with in love marriage.
Some of the studies (Choudhary 1988, Pothan 1986, Metha 1975) on divorce based on Indian society have found the causes of divorce leads by exogamy marriage but in this study 8.40 percent of divorce cases have found under endogamy marriage system. Basically, low age at marriage of wife, marriage with wrong information or forced marriage. 7.40 percent of educated women were married with illiterate men without any concerned to her; they were actually unknown about it. In this study as a case, Mr. S.A and miss P.R were married with wrong information. Basically that was based on their family interests. She was matrix pass where as her husband was just literate but relatively well in economic condition. After two years of their marriage, marital relation between them was continuously became loose and occurred divorce.
Similarly, unequal educational and economic statuses of the spouses were major cause of the divorce under arranged marriage, which has more or less endogamy nature. Similarly, 33.0 percent of male were generally disagreed on the process of their marriage. 7.40 percent married were exogamy, which failed to gain family support. Those marital circumstances have created the situation that supports to breakdown their marital relation. 33.0 percent of husbands and 60.0 percent of wives were at the age of 20 when they get married. This situation of age factor indicates that the divorcee had immaturity to their family life. Similarly, the high age difference in husband and wife and unequal educational status creates differ expectations from the marriage which strongly support to occur divorce gradually.so this study focuses on the sociological analysis of marriage and divorce, using Alimosho local government of Lagos State as a case study.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The rate of divorce among couples in Nigeria and the world at large is really disturbing and alarming. Current trends suggest that close to two thirds of new marriage will end in divorce. For instance, nearly 32 percent of couples who divorce will do so before their fifth anniversary and about 63 percent before their tenth (Martin and Bumpass 1989 and National Centre for Health Statistics 1993). But, since the nineteenth century the proportion of marriages ended by death of a spouse has declined, while the proportion end by divorce has increased, more or less steadily.
Divorce rates climbed in the 1960s and 1970s reached a peak in the early 1980s, and have dropped slightly since then. Still the U.S. divorce rate remains high when compared with the rate in earlier eras and in other societies (Whites 1990). In the same vein, in recent years, Nigeria has witnessed the high rate of divorce as a result of urbanization and industrialization. The periods triggered to a monetary industrial economy. Thus, the extended family that used to resolve conflicts or misunderstandings arise between couples were no longer functioning effectively like in the past. The extended family structure eventually broke up in the process; and there was a shift towards the nuclear family system characterized by less involvement of members in the resolution of marital conflicts.
It has been observed over the years that children are always at the receiving of marital instability. The wellbeing of children is no longer a priority during marital instability, most children are often affected psychological due to lack to the fact they no longer enjoy and receive affections from their parents. Study has shown that the academic performance of students are mostly affected due to marital instability, most students who are victims of a broken home often lack the privilege of a good education. It has been observed that most children who are involved in crime are often from broken homes. Due to like of proper tutelage and parental guidance, most children are found involved in theft, murder, rape, burglary, robbery, etc. these problems necessitates the need to carry out a study on the sociological analysis of marriage and divorce.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to carry out a sociological analysis of marriage and divorce, using Alimosho local government area as a case study. The specific objects are:
1. To ascertain the rate divorce among married couples in Alimosho Local government area.
2. To find out the causes of divorce among married couples in Alimosho Local government area.
3. To investigate the consequences of divorce on the wellbeing of the children.
4. To examine the influence of childlessness on the rate of divorce among couples in Alimosho local government area.
5. To know the effects of socio-economics factors on the rate divorce among couples in Alimosho Local government area.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The relevant research questions related to this study are:
1. What is the rate divorce among married couples in Alimosho Local government area?
2. What are the causes of divorce among married couples in Alimosho Local government area?
3. What are the consequences of divorce on the wellbeing of the children?
4. What is the influence of childlessness on the rate of divorce among couples in Alimosho local government area?
5. What are the effects of socio-economics factors on the rate divorce among couples in Alimosho Local government area?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is significant to parents because it elucidates the factors responsible for divorce and how the reduce the rate of divorce among married couples. The study is also relevant to the government, the study shows the implication of joblessness on the rate of divorce among newly married couples.
This study will enhance the existing body of literature by contemplating the areas of the literature that have not yet been examined or considered and incorporating these factors into the current study. The study will thus form the basis for further studies in the field.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study is restricted to the sociological analysis of marriage and divorce, using Alimosho Local government area of lagos State as a case study.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Some of the major constraints the researchers encountered in putting up this research include lack of time, lack of willingness to give information by respondent and also limited resources.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Marriage: is the legally or formally recognized union of two people as partners in a personal relationship.
Divorce: is the termination of a marriage or marital union, the canceling or reorganizing of the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage.