Forum: 'No-fault' divorce threatens fabric of families, exposes children to vulnerabilities

I refer to the commentary by Professor Chan Wing Cheong (Consider allowing no-fault divorce to remove blame game when couples split, July 9).

As a young mother of two children, I am appalled that there is ongoing consideration for the removal of existing safeguards in the Women's Charter against a divorce.

The existing five grounds to prove "irretrievable breakdown" of marriage are premised on the very notion of preserving marriages and encouraging reconciliation. This is on the basis that family, as society's basic unit, should be stable and whole.

Consistent with that, divorce laws should not make it easy for a couple to terminate marriage without them first making an effort to overcome their difficulties.

This was the very reason why the select committee considered, but in 1980 rejected, allowing divorce to be terminable by mere mutual consent.

To allow mere mutual consent to be sufficient for the termination of marriage will undermine the emphasis rightly placed on the principle of ensuring that divorce is an option of last resort.

In addition, the argument proffered by Prof Chan that no-fault divorce is for the benefit of children is flawed.

Can removing "fault" from a divorce actually reduce acrimony in divorce proceedings and benefit children?

A divorce tears up a family. The result is immense pain. Spouses typically have a "justice" mindset to bring up the "fault" in the situation, regardless of whether or not the law requires it.

It is naive to assume that a "no-fault" divorce reduces acrimony in divorce proceedings.

Most importantly, I disagree with the insidious assumption that this is for the benefit of children.

Our children need to grow up in a family where there is a strong institution of marriage.

Research has shown that children living with their married, biological parents consistently have better physical, emotional, academic and social well-being.

Allowing no-fault divorce threatens the very fabric of families because parties can marry on a whim, and exit any time they feel like it, exposing children to greater vulnerabilities.

For the sake of our families, children, marriages and society, I strongly urge that "no-fault" divorce not be implemented in Singapore.

Kang Zhi Ni

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