While the formal definition of divorce may be concise and straightforward (legal termination of a marital union, dissolving bonds of matrimony between parties), the effects are anything but, particularly when children are involved. The Americans for Divorce Reform estimates that "40 or possibly even 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce if current trends continue." Outside the U.S., divorce rates have markedly increased across developed countries. Divorce and its effects are a significant social factor in our culture and others. It might be said that a whole "divorce industry" has been constructed, with divorce lawyers and mediators, family counselors, support groups, etc. As King Henry VIII′s divorces showed, divorce has not always been easy or accepted. In some countries, divorce is not permitted and even in Europe, countries such as Spain, Italy, Portugal, and the Republic of Ireland legalized divorce only in the latter quarter of the 20th century. This multi-disciplinary encyclopedia covers curricular subjects related to divorce as examined by disciplines ranging from marriage and the family to anthropology, social and legal history, developmental and clinical psychology, and religion, all through a lens of cultural sociology.
550 signed entries, A-to-Z, fill 3 volumes (1,500 pages) in print and electronic formats, offering the most detailed reference work available on issues related to divorce, both in the U.S. and globally. Cross-References and Further Readings guide readers to additional resources. A Chronology provides students with context via a historical perspective of divorce. In the electronic version, the comprehensive Index combines with Cross-References and thematic Reader′s Guide themes to provide convenient search-and-browse capabilities. For state and nation entries, uniform entry structure combined with an abundance of statistics facilitates comparison between and across states and nations. Appendices provide further annotated sources of data and statistics.