DIVORCE is too easy in Hong Kong and the law should be tightened to encourage couples to save their marriages, the Director of Social Welfare, Ian Strachan, said yesterday. ''I personally think it is too easy to get divorced in Hong Kong. By making divorce easier we are encouraging people to opt out of the relationship,'' he said. Mr Strachan, speaking at a Zonta Club lunch meeting, departed from his set speech to take up the issue. ''I have seen a number of my friends divorce recently and what has been worse in all of that has been the effect on the teenage children. They seem to lose all sense of continuity in their lives,'' he said. ''Hong Kong's divorce laws are lax. I think we need to be more careful about getting the balance right between the parents who want to separate on the one hand, and the damage that the divorce causes to the children.'' Mr Strachan did not go into details on how the law should be changed. ''It is quite a complex issue. My view is that now that we as a government are providing a lot more services to help couples, we should not be making divorce very easy.'' The Government is considering whether to reform the divorce laws. A Law Reform Commission report recommended halving the present two-year waiting period for couples who agreed to divorce, and cutting the wait in cases where both parties have not agreed to divorce from five years to two. The report said the existing separation periods under the law were so long that couples were discouraged from using them as grounds for divorce, preferring the quicker but more hostile methods of claiming adultery or unreasonable behaviour. Figures from the Census and Statistics Department show that in 1992 one couple was divorcing for every eight that married. Mr Strachan said a wide range of advice was available to couples whose relationships were in difficulty. ''Prevention is better than cure, and that is what we are trying to ensure by the better provision of services,'' he said. Mr Strachan said the aim was to help couples before they started taking action, whether violence or one partner walking out forever.