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Lockdowns linked to a surge in divorces

Recently I've come across a news story about the link between the pandemic and the number of divorces in England and Wales. Why not use it to practise some language connected with that painful topic? Below you will find a short text summarizing the news followed by some tasks. (You can find the answers at the end of the post)


10 per cent surge in couples divorcing in England and Wales


Figures from the Office for National Statistics show a 9.6 increase in the number of divorces granted in England and Wales in 2021.


Several factors could explain the rise. One is the fact that there were fewer divorces in 2020 because of the pandemic. It was very impractical for spouses to file a divorce at the time when there were great delays in the court proceedings. It would make matters worse for couples if they were forced to live together under the same roof by a lockdown when they were going through a divorce. What's more, the change in divorce law introduced in April, allowing couples to divorce without apportioning blame to a spouse, also contributed to the increase.


We also learn from the data that in opposite-sex couples, women were more likely to petition for divorce in 2021. The most common grounds for divorce given by them were unreasonable behaviour of the spouse (48.1 per cent). For men it was unreasonable behaviour or two-year separation, both comprising 34.8 per cent of applications.


Surprisingly, the ONS data reveals that marriages last longer. In 2021 less than 20 per cent of marriages were ending in divorce by the tenth wedding anniversary. In 1995 the figure was 25 per cent.


Task 1. DIVORCE EXPRESSIONS


Find these six phrases in the text.

  1. officially allow somebody to divorce

  2. officially ask the court for a divorce (2 phrases)

  3. the process of getting a divorce

  4. to experience the unpleasant process of getting a divorce

  5. to decide who is to blame for something

  6. reasons why someone wants a divorce


Task 2. MARRIAGE & DIVORCE - COMMON ERRORS


What's wrong with these sentences?

  1. She is married with my cousin.

  2. I wasn't invited to their marriage.

  3. He is going to ask her to marry with him.

  4. My boss told me he was going to divorce.

  5. She didn't want to divorce with him because she still loved him.


Task 3. RITUALS FOR BREAKUPS


Listen to Esther Perel and find out answers to the questions. Remember to answer in your own words. When you compare your answers to the ones given below, check the content of the answers, not the use of particular phrases or language structures. This task focuses on developing your listening comprehension and ability to report information.

  1. Why are breakup rituals important?

  2. What rituals does Esther Perel mention in the video?


Task 4. YOUR VIEWS


It would be great to hear your views on the topic. Write your answers in comments below. It will be a great practice for you, and maybe a start of an interesting exchange of opinions.

  1. Do you think that making divorce easier in England and Wales is a step in the right direction?

  2. Is it a good thing that the stigma attached to divorce is a thing of the past?

  3. Is it possible for people to remain friends after a break-up?

  4. Do you find it surprising that some people who get divorced end up remarrying?

  5. What would you consider to be sufficient grounds for divorce?



Answers:


Task 1:

1. grant a divorce 2. file for divorce / petition for divorce 3. divorce proceedings 4. to go through a divorce 5. to apportion blame to somebody 6. grounds for divorce


Task 2:

1. She is married to my cousin.

2. I wasn't invited to their wedding.

3. He is going to ask her to marry him.

4. My boss told me he was going to get divorce.

5. She didn't want to divorce him because she still loved him.


Task 3: When you compare your answers to the ones given below, check the content of the answers, not the use of particular phrases or language structures. This task focuses on developing your listening comprehension and ability to report information.

1. Unlike marriage and engagement, break-up and divorce are not marked with rituals. Esther Perel believes that’s a mistake because rituals could help people go through the process and regain confidence. They are important because they remind them that the end of a relationship is not the end of their lives. Break-up rituals could bring closure.


Closure (uncountable noun) feeling that something has been completely dealt with, and realisation that now you are ready to move on


2.

  • Moving one’s personal belongings out of partner’s home;

  • Writing break-up letters;

  • Visiting places important in your relationship and saying goodbye to them;

  • Taking your favourite drive together for last time

  • Planning a trip on your own so that you have something to look forward to

  • Watching favourite films together

  • Writing a journal

  • Going out on a date

  • Storing your own stuff in the space your partner used

  • Throwing a break up party, during with guests will share their break-up experiences

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