SOCIETY

Divorce up in Hong Hong's couples married 21 years or more

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 February, 2014, 4:38am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 February, 2014, 12:55pm

Couples married for fewer than 10 years and more than 21 years are increasingly seeking divorces, statistics from a marriage advisory body show.

The Hong Kong Catholic Marriage Advisory Council found that 32 couples it worked with that had been married for between six and 10 years decided to end their marriages in the 2012-13 financial year, double the number in the previous year.

Among those married five years or less, 10 couples chose to divorce in the same period, compared to only six the year before.

For couples married 21 years or more, the council also found a rising trend of divorce, with 23 couples splitting in 2012-13, up from 14 in the year 2009-10.

The council dealt with 927 cases of divorce consultation between April 2009 and March last year, 322 of which ended in the couples choosing to end their marriages after mediation.

Sheron Li Yuet-yi, a therapist at the council, said about 36 per cent of the couples who sought divorce consultation did so because of personality differences and conflicts - about four per cent more than the number seeking help due to an affair.

"Couples with fewer years of marriage decide to break up more easily when they experience differences in personalties because they usually don't have children as a burden," Li said.

"At the other end, those who think they've been suffering with such rough personality differences for more than 20 years often think they've had enough, and get a divorce because their children have grown up."

Angela Chiu Chui Yuen-fun, executive director of the council, said: "Couples are spending more time, and especially money, to prepare for their wedding ceremony nowadays, but many of them seem to have forgotten to prepare themselves mentally for their lives after being married."

Chiu called on couples to learn how to express their emotions and appreciate their partner in order to maintain a long-lasting and healthy marriage.