21 Ways Cultural Diversity Impacts Divorce

21 Ways Cultural Diversity Impacts Divorce

3. Cultures that focus on cultivating a collective identity generally regard divorce as the inability of both spouses to do their duty to society and their family. Divorcees are blamed for giving up too easily, doing something bad, or being selfish and their family and community look down on them. Such cultures tend to assign blame to the spouse with the duty to maintain the household and care for the children (women/mothers).

Women in these cultures are taught that personal sacrifice is needed to fulfill their marital duties and they are under pressure to avoid divorce at all cost. One party will generally be held responsible for the divorce and punished accordingly, hence a spouse might make substantial personal sacrifices to avoid divorce and the shame associated with it.

This is particularly prevalent in cultures where arranged or forced marriages to occur and the women are generally expected to ensure the marriage lasts.

On the other hand, cultures that focus on individualism generally regard divorce as the result of couples not being properly prepared for marriage, incompatible personalities, or irreconcilable differences. Couples are not expected to make personal sacrifices and blame is not assigned to one spouse only. Both parties will be held responsible for the divorce and a reasonable compromise will be sought.

4. Most countries in Europe allow unilateral divorce, which means divorce can be granted upon request of only one party. Ireland and Italy are the only two countries where a divorce may not be granted if it is opposed by a spouse. In the Philippines, where divorce is illegal, an annulment or marriage void (a legal separation) can be obtained in rare cases, but are time-consuming and costly.

5. In Muslim culture, a husband can divorce his wife by simply stating it to two witnesses, but if a woman wishes to divorce her husband, the husband has to grant her the divorce and she might be pressured to forego certain assets and spousal support in order to get it.

Similarly, in Orthodox Jewish culture, the husband also has the power to grant a divorce to his wife or refuse it. If he objects, she won’t be able to remarry. However, if the wife refuses to grant her husband a divorce, the husband may still remarry.

6. When one party converted to the other’s religion for the sake of the marriage and they decide to revert back to their original religion during a divorce, it can cause conflict about how the children will be raised. In the case of Christians who believe that divorce is a sin, it could also be used to impose guilt or shame on the other party who desires to divorce.

7. Cultures respond differently to unfamiliar situations or new challenges, so a particular society might exhibit high levels of mistrust, fear, and anxiety over the divorce process while another society might have complete trust in the process and show no fear or anxiety. One spouse might try to withhold information or not be completely honest due to a lack of trust and fear of being harmed, while the other spouse could be fully transparent and open-hearted as a result of feeling safe and secure.

8. Monochronic cultures such as Germans, Canadians, Americans, and the British need to focus on one thing at a time and would prefer to tackle one issue at a time during a divorce process. Polychronic cultures such as the Middle Eastern, Southern European, African, and Latin American societies can do multiple things at the same time and would prefer to address various issues simultaneously to speed up a divorce process.

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