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Hardly one-fifth of the people are aware of the services provided by the State Welfare Organization to improve the quality of marital life.
Hardly one-fifth of the people are aware of the services provided by the State Welfare Organization to improve the quality of marital life.

Counseling Saving Troubled Families, Marriages

Counseling Saving Troubled Families, Marriages

The pilot program conducted in the shrine city of Mashhad and five counties in Khorasan Razavi Province last year (ended in March) for registration of divorce under a new electronic system, after which couples are offered pre-divorce counseling, has helped cut the divorce rate in Khorasan Razavi Province by 1.8%.
Pre-divorce counseling is designed specifically to discourage couples from parting ways. It is mandatory in 11 provinces and couples who seek to dissolve their marriage should first refer to the State Welfare Organization (SWO) counseling centers.
From the beginning of summer (starts June 21), requests of couples intending to divorce will be registered under the electronic system in the 11 provinces.  Provinces with the highest rates of divorce include Tehran, Kermanshah, Gilan, Mazandaran and Alborz.
The pattern of growth in divorce rates in the past decade has compelled the government to step in and take measures to check and reverse the rising rate  of marriage dissolution (25%) which has raised serious concerns among social scientists, parents, NGOs, advocates of children’s rights and state authorities.
Two years ago the pilot program was conducted in South Khorasan Province and it was implemented in Mashhad and five counties in Khorasan Razavi Province last year.
“Khorasan Razavi was the third province with the highest divorce rate in 2015 and 2016, but after the program, it was placed ninth,” said Anoushiravan Mohseni Bandpei, head of the State Welfare Organization (SWO), Azad News Agency ‘ANA’ reported.
“The scheme saw a reduction in couples visiting the court to get a divorce by 30%,” he added.
Pre-divorce counseling aims to encourages couples to stick around and improve their married lives. It will soon be mandatory in the 11 provinces, namely Tehran, Alborz, Mazandaran, Gilan, Kermanshah, Ilam, Fars, Isfahan, North Khorasan, South Khorasan, and East Azarbaijan.
Over 3,900 counselors and psychologists are cooperating with the SWO at 1,600 marriage counseling centers.
Marriage counselors have received specialized training. They offer divorce prevention methods and advise on ways of spousal reconciliation.
During the first nine months of the previous calendar year, around 20 divorces were registered every hour, of which six were uncontested divorces, according to figures released by the National Organization for Civil Registration (NOCR) in January this year.
In the same period, 135,667 divorces were registered, an increase of 9.8% compared to the previous year when the figure was 122,340.

   Lack of Awareness
According to Habibollah Masoudi Farid, deputy head of the SWO, hardly one-fifth of the people are aware of the services provided by the State Welfare Organization to improve the quality of marital life.
In the fiscal year that ended in March 2016, around 680,000 marriages were registered, while only around 20% of the couples received premarital counseling.
Marital education programs have proved effective in reducing conflicts and domestic violence, and enhancing happiness and stability in the home and among couples.
A recent study conducted by the SWO suggested that couples who had participated in premarital courses experienced 65% less conflict in their first years of marital life. In Yazd Province, premarital counseling decreased the rate of divorce by 30%-35% last year.
Currently, from every 4.2 marriages in the country, one ends in divorce and most of the divorces take place in the first five years of married life.

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