Riyadh: The subject of marriage and divorce has dominated in the kingdom amid the measures taken by the rulers for curbing the deadly coronavirus.
30 pc increase in divorces
In February, 13,000 marriages were solemnized in the Kingdom, an increase of 5 percent over weddings performed in the same month last year. In contrast, the number of divorce deeds for the same month was 7,482, Dubai-based Gulf News cited official figures on the portal of Saudi Ministry of Justice.
This statistic makes to 30 percent increase in requests for divorce and khula. Khula is a procedure through which a woman can divorce her husband in Islam, by returning the dowry (mahr) or something else that she received from her husband. A woman may also request annulment without compensation if she proves her husband guilty of any harm towards her.
As per reports, 45 percent of the total marriage contracts were made in Makkah and Riyadh. Among the cases are female doctors, community women and employees who were forced to request annulment of their marriage after they discovered their husbands had married other women in secret, according to the prestigious Arabic daily Okaz.
Hidden truths uncovered
The pandemic, home quarantine, and the curfew contributed to uncovering what was hidden. The courts’ family counselors try to bridge the rift between couples to protect families.
“Marital relations differ from one person to another, and they become more coherent and stronger when an external threat to the individual, family or society occurs,” said Talal Muhammad Al-Nashiri, a social worker and head of the Jeddah Therapy Association to Gulf News.
“We observe the cohesion of members of society and their solidarity in facing diseases, epidemics and disasters, and this is the nature of human beings who unite and show more cohesion against external influences. We also observe a large percentage of society members who apply isolation and care for the safety of family and community members,” he was quoted as saying.
“Isolation strengthens family relations and increases family bonding with their participation in all matters of family life. The number of marriage contracts made daily in Saudi courts ranged between 285 and 938 before the coronavirus crisis,” he added.
The number of divorce deeds for the February reached 7,482, and 52 percent of the total divorce deeds were made in Makkah and Riyadh. While the number of divorce deeds made daily across the Kingdom ranged between 163 and 489 before the coronavirus pandemic, and the number of monthly divorce deeds ranged between 3,397 and 7,693 over the past 12 months.
Sources said that though the electronic portal of the Ministry of Justice has stopped publishing any statistics since February because of the closure of courts due to lockdown, law offices recorded a remarkable increase in requests for divorce, khula by 30 percent during the coronavirus crisis, the Gulf News report said.
5 divorces in 2 weeks
Among the 22 cases filed, several are from teachers, doctors, and businesswomen. Saleh Musfer Al-Ghamdi, a judicial notary said he received five divorce requests within two weeks from wives. “Among them is a doctor who discovered that her husband married secretly to an Arab resident,” Gulf News quoted Al-Ghamdi as saying.