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By Bradshaw, Skinners, Smitson

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In the Bradshaw and Millar (1991) study of lone parents, unreasonable behaviour was cited as the most common reason for divorce, though at that time irretrievable breakdown was not an option. Of those ex-married who had not yet been divorced, 51 per cent intended to obtain a divorce in the future. 6 Grounds for divorce 30 Absent Fathers? 8 Feelings about the breakup of the living-together relationship « Bradshaw and Millar, 1991. Figures in brackets are numbers. 7 that there was little difference between the ex-married and ex-cohabitants.

Although adultery does feature as a reason for ending relationships, adultery seems to act as a catalyst rather than the cause of breakup. 9 the separation was initiated in twelve cases by the mother and in eight by the father. In all but the case where the couple were not married, the decision to end the relationship came after years of difficulties. Two of the couples had been to Relate counselling to try to save the marriage, but the counselling had failed. In the case of three couples the child was born before the woman was aged 20.

The first is the special analysis of the Family and Working Lives Survey (FWLS) undertaken by McKay. However, it is important to remember that that survey will also suffer from men not knowing or being willing to acknowledge that they are non-resident fathers, as well as from response bias. Also the subsample of men who identified themselves as non-resident fathers is smaller than in this study—only 268. Nevertheless the characteristics of the non-resident fathers in the samples were remarkably similar.

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