“What we want to do is to help couples"
The Indian state of Goa will initiate premarital counselling for couples in a bid to tackle rising divorce rates.
The counselling will be mandatory, and put in place for engaged couples in the state.
Goa’s law minister Nilesh Cabral made the announcement in light of the increasing number of divorces across the state.
He said that divorce rates have risen compared to the past decade.
Therefore, registrars will now be ensuring complete awareness amongst engaged couples about their marriage duties before they tie the knot.
“We are coming up with a new policy to make premarital counselling mandatory in the state.
“We may also rope in religious institutions for the same.
“Many divorces are taking place within six months to one year of marriage.
“As a policy, we thought that premarital counselling should be made compulsory to create awareness among couples.”
Cabral also said that the Goa Institute of Public Administration and Rural Development (GIPARD) will finalise the counselling course and its format.
According to reports, the Department of Registration will carry out the counselling program in the 15 days between the registration and solemnisation of marriages.
Speaking of the program, Nilesh Cabral said:
“The annulment of a marriage has to be notified.
“If you go to the Gazetteer of Goa, you will see that there are at least 10-15 marriages annulled every 15 days.”
He also said that the idea of premarital counselling has been created as a “social responsibility” of the Department of Registration.
According to Cabral, the department should “sit with the couples after the first signature and tell them what their duty towards each other is, what their duties and responsibilities towards their children are, and what their duties towards their in-laws are”.
Cabral said that the premarital counselling sessions will be a half-day classroom program.
Couples will only receive their marriage certificate after attending it.
Speaking of the counsellors they want to have running the sessions, Registrar-cum-Head of Notary Services Ashutosh Apte said:
“We are getting in touch with counsellors who may have studied this.”
“What we want to do is to help couples in understanding each other and tell them what the value of family in Indian circumstances is.”
According to Nilesh Cabral, Goa’s Catholic community already conducts premarital counselling for couples held by the Church.
However, the government will now hold counselling sessions for couples across religions, which will be a first for Goa.