Minister tells FNC that counselling helps avoid divorce

Nearly half the couples who file for divorce are reconciled after intervention by court family guidance departments, the Federal National Council heard on Tuesday.
Mariam Al Roomi, the Minister of Social Affairs, during the FNC session. Ravindranath K / The National
Mariam Al Roomi, the Minister of Social Affairs, during the FNC session. Ravindranath K / The National

ABU DHABI // Nearly half the couples who file for divorce are reconciled after intervention by court family guidance departments, the Federal National Council heard on Tuesday.

The Minister of Social Affairs, Mariam Al Roomi, told members the courts were required to pass divorces case to their family guidance departments in an effort to reduce the numbers.

The minister attended the FNC at the request of Ali Al Nuaimi (Ajman), who said he had official statistics showing the number of divorces rose from 2,351 in 2012 to 2,443 last year, an increase of 4 per cent, and that this year there had been 11 divorces a day.

“I agree on what the member said that divorce is on the rise, but we have no accurate statistics,” Ms Al Roomi said. “This calculation is difficult.

“We have agreed with all courts that no divorce case is reviewed before being passed to Family Guidance, so that a specialist can look into reconciliation.”

The ministry also offered lectures and appeared at majilis to address issues such as family violence and reasons for divorce, the minister said.

The ministry had also reviewed ways to encourage fathers to be more involved with their children; passive parenting was found to be one cause of divorce, Ms Al Roomi said. “We worked on this before, we will again.”

The minister said the Cabinet’s decision to build nurseries at all government agencies was another way to support mothers and reduce the number of marriage disputes. However, the plan had not yet been implemented by the vast majority of employers.

Marriage problems were also common when the husband retired from work. The minister said they were encouraging men to volunteer after retirement.

“Divorce is an issue,” Mr Al Nuaimi said. “There is a rise in cases, and this is despite the ministry’s programmes. The increasing number affects society negatively. It’s not just about the married couples and children, but also the relationship between two families. It also means more people get social aid.”

He said 7,700 divorcees were receiving aid. “So why did the ministry remove this strategy from their future plans?”

He also asked if the ministry was studying the reasons for filed divorce cases.

“Divorce has bad implications on society, there needs to be a limit on it as much as possible, particularly in families with children,” he said.

“I hope the ministry continues to work on this and does not neglect it.”

The minister said she hoped divorce solutions would be addressed by 2021.

osalem@thenational.ae

Published: December 16, 2014 04:00 AM

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