Divorce is a fact of life for families in the United Kingdom. While the marriage rate has been falling steadily over the past 20 years, it is predicted that just over four in ten of those who choose to tie the knot nowadays will see their marriage end in divorce. This outcome will affect 28 per cent of all children by their sixteenth birthday (FPSC, 2000). These figures do not include the increasing frequency with which cohabiting relationships are entered into and exited from, and which can have effects on family members that may be indistinguishable from those triggered by divorce. While this chapter addresses some implications of marriage ending, it is important to keep in mind other transient relationships that have not involved a formal legal commitment.
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