Sunday, January 18, 2009

Four Trends for the Next Decade

Four trends has been taking place during the last years, four trends that will radically change the way in which we conceive couple and family relationships. They are the following:

1. The gradual, albeit delayed, loss of prestige of the until now untouchable figure of the single mother – Several weeks ago, I publish in this page the article titled “The Single Mother Industry”, in which I accuse the social canonization of the single mother as responsible of great part of the social disaster to which the family has been submitted during the last decades. I was pleasantly surprised to find that in the recently published book by Ann Coulter, Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America (Crown Forum, January 6, 2009), the second chapter is dedicated to demystify the single mother and to show how these supposed victims are really victimizing society and causing irreparable harm to their own children. It is good that it has been precisely a woman the one who has taken bull by its horns.

2. The standardization of the prenuptial agreement as normal part of the processes to get married - Books as popular as “Think Big: Make It Happen in Business and Life” by Donald Trump and Bill Zanker, (Collins Business, September 30, 2008) and “How Come That Idiot's Rich and I'm Not?” by Robert Shemin (Crown, March 4, 2008) identify divorce as one of the biggest economical disasters that a person could suffer, specially if that person is a man, automatically taking at least half of their income and assets. As preventive measure, prenuptial agreements allow to avoid the most disastrous economical results of divorce.

3. The normalization of single fatherhood as a family model – CNN published recently on its webpage the article “One and only dads: Numbers, challenges grow for single fathers” by Andrea Harry (, on which the author documents that families headed by single fathers are the fastest growing household form in America. Currently, one in six families is headed by a father, compared with one in 10 in 1970. Of that number, only 5% are widowed, 42% are divorced and a surprising 38% have never been married. Is this last group the most socially significant, because speaks about the growing movement of men who opt to be single fathers, among many reasons, because in this way they avoid the risk of losing their children in case of a divorce. This movement is the answer to the slow pace in which laws are changing to agree with the times and the changes that have happened in the structure of nuclear family, and to correct the discrimination by reason of gender that exist in family courts.

4. The gradual but consistent standardization of joint custody as the predominant arrangement among custody arrangements – As we discussed in this page a few weeks ago in the article “Two articles on Newsweek,” joint custody arrangements have been slowly gaining territory in the American society, what should encourage us to continue the fight.

We should keep our eyes open to these phenomena and watch how they will be changing or daily lives on the next years. And we should keep fighting. Our children are waiting.

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