Home > Michael Ashton > Documentary Pitch: Marriage, Divorce and Children

Documentary Pitch: Marriage, Divorce and Children

In the United States, marriage and divorce are very common experiences, the former being seen as a major and positive aspect in life while the latter is perceived to carry a negative connotation. In Western cultures, more than 90 percent of people marry by the age of 50. Healthy marriages are also shown to have positive effects on physical and mental health for couples as well as children. However, an estimated 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States end in divorce. Additionally, the divorce rates for subsequent marriages are even higher than that estimate. For my documentary, I will focus on marriage and divorce and how children are affected by both.

Coming from a family where my parents legally separated when I was five and divorced when I was ten, I know firsthand what it’s like being shuttled between two parents. Although a divorce is irrefutably difficult for all, it is the children of the family who suffer the most. I remember a quote from the late singer Kurt Cobain who once said in an interview: “I had a really good childhood up until I was nine, then a classic case of divorce really affected me.” When I think of this quote, what stuck out to me was his use of the word “classic” in his explanation. He used “classic” to connect himself to the millions of children of all ages who have suffered emotionally at various points in their lives after being in the middle of a separation. I feel as if Kurt Cobain channeled some of that raw, unvarnished pain from his parents’ divorce (along with some other aspects in his personal life) into his art which is why it resonated with so many people. Similar to Cobain, I believe that many children will admit that being in the middle of a divorce is a particular event in their lives that has long lasting side effects to varying degrees.

Of course the decision to start or end a partnership determines a major shift in one’s personal life and I think it’s very much worth exploring those changes. I would like to shed light on people’s views on marriage and divorce and how both can impact a child’s upbringing. I’d also like to shed light on a child’s view of marriage and divorce, both how they feel and what their views are.

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