High divorce rate still prevails in Czech Republic

Statistics say that every third marriage in the Czech Republic ends in divorce, while in the capital Prague the figure is one in two. The country has suffered high divorce rates for decades and the rapid social changes since the fall of Communism have done little to slow the trend, as marriage guidance counsellor Helena Klimova told Alena Skodova.

"Quite many things are changing: lifestyle, which is very important for family life and partners' life, values are changing, for example things which were not important during the old regime, are becoming most important - for instance money, which actually was not much in people's minds, now became very significant. Then the time - people work much harder and they have no time for family life, some people work for 12 or 13 hours a day which is very destructive for family and partnership, other things have become significant - such as the appearance of a person, his or her social position and so on," Ms Klimova said.

Despite the many new pressures on marriages in Czech society, Ms Klimova says she and her colleagues still enjoy success in reconciling couples who've grown apart.

"Yes, we try and sometimes we succeed. And it very much depends on the time when the couple comes. When the couple comes at the very beginning of the conflict, it can be solved and they can be helped much more easily than if the conflict has been going on for a long time already. Once people start being hostile to each other, it is not easy - but if they come at the beginning, when something does not work but they still want to stay together and love each other, it's always more feasible."

Ms Klimova said her clients can seek help even after a marriage ends in divorce, to avoid a repeat of failure the next time round.

It is possible even if they are in the process of divorce, we can, say, minimise the effect if they are willing to co-operate, but what is most important - to find the reason why the previous partnership did not work, to find patterns which were wrong and to help the person not to repeat the same patterns which could lead to disasters.