Govt. Steps Up Measures to Reduce Korea's Divorce Rate

With almost one out of every two couples in Korea filing for divorce, the government is looking into measures to help marriages in trouble stay afloat by urging the partners to attend counseling sessions before taking steps to end their union (2001). Also to tackle another major social concern, faltering fertility rate, the government plans to offer financial assistance to families giving birth to two or more children.

Married couples may have to go through mandatory counseling sessions before they can untie their knots. Plans are in the works by the Health and Welfare Ministry to revise family litigation procedures by institutionalizing counseling programs for separating couples. The latest move comes in aims to prevent hasty breakups in light of the country's rising divorce rate of more than 47 percent, the third highest in the world, trailing closely behind the United States and Sweden.

In contrast to efforts being made to discourage couples from separating, another set of measures are under review to encourage more child bearing. The ministry plans to shoulder half the delivery expenses for every second baby while making it completely free of charge when giving birth to more than three as Korea's fertility rate continues to drop to record lows, currently standing at less than 1.2, the lowest among the member nations of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

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