Marriage Dissolution Rates Increasing In Singapore

Marriage dissolution rates among recent marriage cohorts have increased compared to those in the past, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) announced on Monday (Apr 6).

Among those who married in 2003, 16.1 per cent had their marriage dissolved by the 10th year of marriage. In contrast, 8.7 per cent of the 1987 cohort had dissolved their marriage by that time, the ministry said.

Similarly, 20.3 per cent of the 1998 cohort had dissolved their marriage by the 15th year of marriage, compared to 12.3 per cent of the 1987 cohort, it added.


Among “younger grooms”, who were aged between 20 and 24 years old, there is a higher proportion of dissolved marriages.

Divorce rates for younger grooms in civil marriages are twice as high, compared to those aged 25 and above. Thirty-three per cent of marriages involving younger grooms who married in 1998 ended in divorce before their 15th anniversary, the ministry said.

However, recent cohort Muslim divorce rates before the 5th year of marriage has bucked the trend. Divorce rates decreased from 14 per cent for the 2003 cohort to 11.4 per cent for the 2008 cohort, MSF noted.

“The improvement may be due to community initiatives in marriage preparation, enrichment and counselling for Muslim couples. Since the Marriage Counselling Programme for Muslim marriages began in 2004, more than 27,000 referrals were made. Forty-four per cent of couples in the programme decided not to proceed with divorce,” the ministry said.

The rise in Singapore’s marriage dissolution rate is in line with similar trends in other developed countries, and generally remains lower than those in countries such as the UK and New Zealand, MSF added.


In the same press release, MSF said it will be rolling out a new marriage preparation programme called Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Programme (PREP) from May this year.

This 12-hour programme is a more comprehensive version of the free two-hour Introduction to PREP course, which had been attended by more than 400 couples at the Registry of Marriages since the start of the year.

The programme will be held over two days, covering topics such as communication, conflict management and commitment. It is free for the first 200 couples who sign up, while couples who attend other such courses supported by the ministry will get a S$70 rebate.

Non-profit organisation Families for Life (FFL) said it welcomes the new marriage preparation programme. “Too often, couples are overwhelmed by personal work schedules and wedding preparations, and as such, feel that they have no time to attend such programmes. Such free programmes at ROM and convenient community touchpoints are likely to boost interest and participation among couples,” said FFL council member, Anita Fam.



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