According to recent statistics released by law firms, there has been a significant rise in divorce rates among couples where one or both partners work shifts.
Marital issues are not the only problem linked to shift working. Studies have shown that working shifts can lead to health issues such as obesity and depression but the findings on divorce rates are new and significant considering the growing number of shift workers in the UK.
1 in 8 UK workers now work nights and the total of workers has risen by 250,000 in the past five years alone to reach more than 3 million. A US study found that among men who were married with children, the divorce rate was six times higher than those who worked days.
A study carried out in 2000 by US researchers found that among men working night shifts who had children, separation or divorce was six times more likely in the first five years of marriage than if they were working days.
One law firm claims that the proportion of divorces amongst shift workers has risen by 35% in the past three years indicating the scale of the problem.
Working shifts often disrupts family life when people spend their days catching up on sleep rather than spending time with family. Then there are issues with zero hours contracts which mean the work itself is irregular.
Extra marital relationships can also form between those who are working night shifts regularly and spending a lot of time together.
New research from Sweden has suggested that children do better in joint custody arrangements than when one or the other partner has custody.
Countless studies have been carried out on the psychological impact of divorce on children with many studies reporting the negatives of divorce. This study is unusual as it shows that in cases where parents are given joint custody, there is no difference in behaviour when compared to children coming from stable family units.
At least this is the case from the perspective of parents who were asked to fill in questionnaires about their children’s behaviour. Teachers, however, had a different view and the consensus was that youngsters from traditional families were better behaved than those from divorced families.
The ultimate finding of the study by researchers from Uppsala University, Karolinska Institute and the Centre for Health Equity Studies in Sweden -which included 3,656 children aged between three and five years old – was that children suffered less behavioural and psychological symptoms if they didn’t live with their mother or father the majority of the time.
The reason for the better behaviour of children was that parental quality was improved when parents had the opportunity to spend more time with children rather than just at the weekends.
The ‘triple talaq’ is an Islamic practice which allows men to instantly divorce their wives by pronouncing the word ‘talaq’ (the Arabic word for a type of divorce) three times. After decades of campaigning by women’s groups and victims, India’s Supreme Court has declared the practice unconstitutional.
In May 2017, the Indian Supreme Court formally opened hearings into a number of applications challenging the constitutionality of the practice of ‘triple talaq’ in Islam. As the practice was protected in law, increasing numbers of women receiving a ‘triple talaq’ from their husbands were being left without financial or emotional support.
The judgment was handed down on 22nd August 2017 with a 3-2 majority of the Indian Supreme Court bench finding the practice to be ‘un-Islamic, arbitrary and unconstitutional’. This ruling should therefore mean that the ‘triple talaq’ will no longer be considered a permissible practice in India. Other Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Bangladesh have also banned the practice.
Campaigners have hailed this decision as a huge victory for Muslim women in India. Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, an activist group that was party to the legal battle has already prepared a draft law to send to the government in order to ensure that the decision is reflected in legislation as soon as possible.