Forum: Personal responsibility needed to save marriages

I cannot but disagree with Forum contributor Patricia Tan (System that focuses on marriage recovery, counselling needed, June 20). Implicit in her assumption is that society should bear the burden of saving marriages.

Mrs Tan suggests that family life professionals be rewarded $7,000 in tranches if they are able to save a marriage.

If we extend collective responsibility to its fullest, should we not also bear the costs of other problems, for example, the abortion of unwanted pregnancies arising from consensual pre-marital sex?

Surely, this cannot be the case for personal responsibility matters.

Marriages are entered into voluntarily. If couples see no hope in remaining in this contract, they should have the right to appoint lawyers and attend counselling sessions at their own cost.

The family justice system has programmes in place to balance the interests of families with that of the public.

For example, the collaborative family practice scheme at the Singapore Mediation Centre prevents lawyers from representing their clients in future litigation if parties cannot settle their differences.

The need for parties to bear the costs of mediation would nudge parties towards reaching an early and amicable settlement.

Even when parties commence litigation, the courts may direct parties to undergo mediation or attend counselling sessions.

While I agree with Mrs Tan that it is in society's interest to keep the number of divorce cases low, individual couples, too, have a role to play in preserving their marriage.

Faisal Maricar

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