Marriage at the Crossroads

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-10-31
  • Publisher: Cambridge Univ Pr
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The institution of marriage is at a crossroads. Across most of the industrialized world, unmarried cohabitation and nonmarital births have skyrocketed while marriage rates are at record lows. These trends mask a new, idealized vision of marriage as a marker of success as well as a growing class divide in childbearing behavior: the children of better educated, wealthier individuals continue to be born into relatively stable marital unions while the children of less educated, poorer individuals are increasingly born and raised in more fragile, nonmarital households. Meanwhile, growing numbers of same-sex couples seek access to marriage as an important political and personal goal. These trends have generated political controversy and pose a number of challenges for policy makers: Should access to marriage be extended? Should lawmakers increase or reduce government support for marriage? The interdisciplinary approach offered by this edited volume provides tools to inform the debate and to assist policy makers in resolving questions about marriage at a critical juncture. Drawing on the expertise of social scientists and legal scholars, the book will be a key text for anyone who seeks to understand marriage as a social institution and to evaluate proposals for marriage reform.

Table of Contents

History, Demographics, and Economics - Multiple Perspectives on Families
International family change and continuity: the past and future from the developmental idealism perspective
Red v. blue marriage
The division of labor across time and generations
Marriage at the crossroads in England and Wales
The curious relationship of marriage and freedom
Empirical Research on Family Change
Institutional, companionate, and individualistic marriages: change over time and implications for marital quality
Marriage and improved well-being: using twins to parse the correlation, asking how marriage helps, and wondering why more people do not buy a bargain
Fragile families: debates, facts, and solutions
Should marriage matter?
Family Policy and Law for the Twenty-First Century
Forsaking no others: coming to terms with family diversity
Why marriage?
Essential to virtue? The languages of the law of marriage
The pluralistic vision of marriage
The growing diversity of two-parent families: challenges for family law
Legal regulation of the twenty-first-century family
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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