The status of marriage and the cohabitation of couples, in general, has changed substantially over the past 80 years or so (Saluter & Lugaila, 1996). In 1920, the divorce rate stood at about 12 percent. In 1960, about a quarter of marriages failed and by 1974, the number jumped to a full third of all marriages ending in divorce (Gutierrez, 1988). In 1996, it was reported that almost half (43 percent) of first marriages ended in either divorce or separation by the15th year of the relationship, according to a study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (Saluter & Lugaila, 1996). Men responded that the inattentiveness of the children and home, mental cruelty, sexual incompatibility, and infidelity were the main reasons for filing divorce papers. Women cited mental and physical cruelty, alcohol abuse and financial difficulties. In general, persons in the economic middle class are concerned with emotional and psychological satisfaction. Lower-class couples are concerned more with the physical actions of their husbands and financial difficulties within the relationship. Numerous background elements are associated with higher rates of divorce. For instance, couples who are better educated have a lower risk of divorce than do those who are less well educated. Accordingly, “divorce is more common among lower socioeconomic groups than among professional groups” (Gutierrez, 1988).
A divorce encompasses many variables, all or some may play a role in contributing to difficulties for children. The loss of daily contact with one parent from the family situation, usually the father, results in the children losing the amount of affection they .were receiving when both parents were in the same house. . The life-skills, knowledge, and financial resources formerly supplied by the missing parent, whether they are out of their lives on a part or full-time basis is forever lost to the children. .