Dutch Christian party: Government should do more to prevent divorces


Western Europe


Earlier campaign of the Dutch Christian party SGP to promote a life-long marriage. At the time, the party was too late with buying the domain name onelifestand.nl. Instead, the Gay Newspaper acquired it before the SGP. Anyone who now searches for onelifestand.nl is directed to the website of the Gay Newspaper. Photo SGP

The national authorities should work harder to decrease the number of divorces, the Dutch conservative Christian party SGP thinks. Therefore, it pleads for more state measures to save relationships. The party is organising a survey to determine the Dutch public opinion on the matter to get support for the proposal.

By means of representative research, the SGP hopes to gather enough support for a more significant role for the state in preventing divorces, the Dutch daily Nederlands Dagblad writes.

According to the daily, last year, 28,500 marriages and registered partnerships did not survive. In almost 50 per cent of the cases, children were in the picture. About 10 to 15 per cent of the separating couples broke up with fights. The number of children that witnessed verbal and physical violence between their parents amounts to 6000.

Problem lies with parents

Divorces are a societal problem, says Kees van der Staaij, the leader of the SGP party. He points out that children of divorced parents end up with mental health problems more often than other children. “Researchers say that for some youth with mental problems, the core problem lies with the parents. How effective is it than to treat the youth themselves?”

In addition to mental health problems, divorces also worsen the issues in the real estate market. People who divorce need two homes instead of one. According to the SGP party, a complex divorce costs about 46,000 euros.

Personal responsibility

The Dutch government does play a role in some divorces at the moment. When a couple has a complicated divorce with lots of disagreements, the authorities aim at mediation so that partners can divorce peacefully. According to Van der Staaij, the Dutch authorities are a little reluctant to interfere in personal relationships. “Of course, the personal responsibility belongs to the parents and not the government”, Van der Staaij says. “Yet, politicians cannot ignore it when children are involved.” He points out that the government does attempt to change behaviour, for example, when it comes to healthy eating. “Why not stimulate healthy relationships?”

A solution would be coverage for marriage therapy with insurance companies or more education about what a healthy and sustainable relationship looks like. And another possibility would be to establish phone lines or a local office for people with relationship problems. Furthermore, Van der Staaij stresses that advertisements for cheating in relationships should be forbidden. He has pleaded for this already several times.

Behind the front door

The government should not interfere with personal relationships too much, the SGP thinks. “We do not want the authorities to decide what happens behind the front door and how people live their personal lives. We only want the government to stimulate and facilitate means to prevent people from separating.”



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