Singapore— Gender equality advocacy group AWARE has come out in support of “no-fault divorce” like Ms Sun Xueling, MP for Punggol West SMC and Minister of State in the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Social and Family Development.
Ms Sun posted on Facebook on Mar 24 that she had a recent meeting with a group of divorcees concerning the issues they faced in the dissolution of their marriages. The current divorce process requires at least three years’ separation or proving one of the parties was at fault. The latter leads to acrimony, she wrote.
“The participants proposed that where there is mutual agreement to a divorce, couples should not have to state a ‘fault’,” wrote Ms Sun. Among the faults needed to be proven are desertion, unreasonable behaviour, and adultery
She added, “Several of our participants shared that having to state a fault ‘forces’ one of the parties to take the blame. It also causes the couple to revisit their pain as they have to give sufficient ‘details’ of the fault.
“All these factors raise the acrimony in divorce, and made it difficult for them to move on.”
In its statement on Facebook on Thursday (Mar 25), AWARE wrote that many of the women they had spoken to had brought up similar concerns regarding the divorce process.
Therefore, the advocacy group recommends “that no-fault divorce be introduced in Singapore to encourage more peaceful dissolutions of marriage”.
This type of divorce, AWARE added, is already taking place in other countries, including Canada, USA, New Zealand, and Australia.
The group added that a more peaceful resolution between parents in a divorce situation is better for children, as they “exhibit less distress than their high-conflict counterparts.”
Furthermore, AWARE outlined two other advantages of no-fault divorces, that they decrease the cost of divorce as well as allow women to end unsatisfying or abusive marriages without the burden of proof, which in some cases may be difficult.
On her part, Ms Sun thanked the divorcees who participated in her talks, acknowledging that opening up regarding the dissolution of marriage is not easy.
“In our review of policies, we will look at how we can address some of the issues raised,” she said.
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