Divorce rate in Kuwait reaches an alarming 60 percent this year – ‘Interest-driven marriages’

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KUWAIT CITY, May 21: Around 60 percent of marriages in Kuwait have ended in divorce so far this year, according to statistics issued by Ministry of Justice for the first quarter of 2017.

The total number of marriages registered in the first two months of 2017 was 2,001, while the registered number of divorce cases was 1,193.

In the same period last year, the number of marriages was 2425 and number of divorces was 1,180. This indicates that the rate of marriages has been declining while the divorce rate is increasing in Kuwait.

According to the results of a field study conducted by Ministry of Justice on the marital situation and causes of divorce in Kuwait, there are several factors behind the increasing divorce rate. However, a new phenomenon has emerged in the society which has been contributing to the increase in the divorce rate. It is the so-called “interest-driven marriages”.

The study explained that the loans and financial assistance provided by the state to newlymarried couples are the major factors behind the emergence of this new phenomenon. Many young people, who are seeking ways to make easy money, have been resorting to “interest-driven marriages” in order to obtain loans and benefits.

However, after they achieve the objectives, they file for divorce with the agreement of the spouses and even the guardians in some cases. There are many other factors that have led to the growing popularity of this phenomenon such as the desire to obtain Kuwaiti nationality among several others.

Such interest-based marriages usually end in divorce after the desired objectives are achieved. There have been continuous calls for curbing the increasing rate of divorce in Kuwait throughout the past years. Many lawyers and sociologists in the country have been stressing the need to amend the divorce laws especially with official figures indicating an alarming annual increase in divorce rate.

According to lawyers, the Kuwaiti law plays a major role in the increasing divorce rate. They said, “As per the law, a female divorcee gets a salary, a house, a car and a housemaid, and she is freed from all marriage commitments”. The lawyers explained that this phenomenon of interestdriven marriages is widespread mainly among the newly-married couples. This means they were not ready for marriage.

They added, “The lack of experience among these young divorcees and their inability to appreciate the commitments and responsibilities associated with the marriages are the main cause for this phenomenon”.

Kuwait has one of the highest divorce rates in the region. According to statistics of 2015, divorce cases were slightly above half of the marriages in Kuwait during the first six months of the year. There were 7,138 marriage contracts and 3,751 divorce cases, constituting an alarming ratio of 2:1. Ministry of Justice, in its half-yearly report issued in 2015, explained then that the major reasons behind the increasing number of divorces were the hesitation of spouses to accept each other and lack of compassion within the families.

Negligence, the inability to shoulder responsibilities and adultery were also cited as the main causes of divorce. In addition, the interference of families in the lives of couples was also indicated as a cause. The ministry stated that marriages among very young people should be brought to an end, insisting on the need for campaigns to raise awareness about the institution of marriage, and its rights and duties.

It insisted that the society should work on consolidating values and training young people especially girls on taking up family responsibilities, adding that families should not interfere in the lives of the couples, as this could lower the alarming high divorce rate. The ministry also stressed the need to form a commission to reconcile spouses and bridge gaps between them.


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