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Divorce: Is it destroying the American family? The high rate of divorce in this country is clearly cause for concern.

And increasingly the concern is changing to alarm. The American family, some say, is divorcing itself out of existence. Whats more, recently published statistics indicate more young people appear to be shunning marriage, avoiding the formation of a family in the first place. Those who see eventual extinction for the nuclear family of husband, wife and children predict it will ultimately be replaced by man-woman relationships which are more flexible and less binding - such as group marriages, temporary marriages of mutual consent, and by an emerging national preference for the single life. Actually, few if any responsible social scientist believe conventional marriage is about to disappear from the American scene. Most predict that the overwhelming majority of young people will eventually marry, raise families and remain married to their first spouse. But the same experts concede that any trend in the opposite direction is reason for worry. The searing divorce rate in this country, on the surface at least, seems to point to such a trend. Whatever the figures may or may not bode for the future, they clearly indicate important changes in our national attitude toward marriage and divorce. Divorce is on the increase in other parts of the world, too, but nowhere else is it as frequent as in the United States. Our present rate of divorce is nearly triple the average of twenty-four mostly European countries.