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‘Amicable’ option would lead to spike in divorce rates: Focus on the Family Singapore

SINGAPORE — Allowing married couples the option to “amicably” divorce would lead to higher divorce rates, charity group Focus on the Family said.

‘Amicable’ option would lead to spike in divorce rates: Focus on the Family Singapore

Singapore

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SINGAPORE — Allowing married couples the option to “amicably” divorce would lead to higher divorce rates, charity group Focus on the Family said.

On that basis, the non-profit organisation does not support instituting this divorce option that has been proposed. 

About a month ago, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) announced that it was getting feedback on a new option that allows couples who mutually agree to divorce to file as joint applicants.

This means that they would not need to state any faults to prove that the marriage has “irretrievably broken down”.

A consultation paper will be put forth after gathering feedback and suggestions from divorcees and social service practitioners. The aim is to support couples undergoing divorce and their children, and to reduce acrimony in the process.

In a press statement on Friday (June 4), Focus on the Family Singapore, which is an affiliate of a Christian organisation in the United States, said in its submission to the consultation that an “amicable” divorce option would lead to an immediate increase in the number of divorces, as well as reduce the number of marriages and births.

It also said that this option’s intended benefit of reducing acrimony among divorcing couples is uncertain.

Instead, the charity proposed that a more “fine-tuned approach” be taken to address specific and exceptional situations.

It also called on MSF to provide more information on the benefits of this proposed “amicable” divorce option, such as the number and profile of individuals it aims to help, how such a divorce option can reduce acrimony and the number of separated couples that have reconciled during the waiting period.

Currently, the divorce process requires parties to state facts such as adultery, unreasonable behaviour and desertion as grounds for divorce.

All divorces will also require a plaintiff — or the initiator who files — and a defendant.

If no fault is stated, couples also have to stay married for three years before they can begin divorce proceedings.

The Association of Women for Action and Research, a gender equality advocacy group, said on Thursday that it approved of the authorities’ proposal to introduce the “amicable” divorce option. It also urged the Government to lower the minimum marriage period in its submission to the consultation.

REASONS FOR OPPOSING PROPOSED OPTION

In its eight-page submission, Focus on the Family Singapore laid out its reasons for opposing the “amicable” or “no-fault” divorce option. Among these are:

  • The number of individuals who could benefit from this option is unclear

  • Adults should bear responsibility of working through their own differences instead of having their children choose to either grow up in a high-conflict home or have their parents divorced

  • A study in United States showed that divorce rates increased immediately after “no-fault divorce” was implemented

  • The same was also seen in Australia, with the number of marriages reduced subsequently

  • Divorce exacts a greater cost on women than men, even if they are financially independent

Related topics

marriage Divorce Focus on the Family MSF family children

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