Manama: The alarm has been sounded again in Kuwait after figures for 2017 show that around 60 per cent of Kuwaiti marriages have ended in divorce.
Figures released by the Ministry of Justice indicate there were 2,001 marriages in January and February, down from 2,425 in the same period last year. The figures also show there were 1,193 cases of divorce in the first two months of 2017, up from 1,180 last year.
According to the ministry, the figures show that the rates of marriages are going down and those of divorces going up, a fact that constitutes new risks to family ties.
A study conducted by the justice ministry on marital status said that in addition to the traditional causes of divorce in Kuwait, two more reasons have been added, Kuwaiti daily Al Qabas reported on Monday.
The study said that the loans and financial assistance provided by the state to newly-wed couples were a major reason for “interest-driven marriages.”
Young people keen on making easy money resort to marriages to obtain loans and once they secure the cash, they file for divorce, the study concluded.
Another reason mentioned in the research was the wish to obtain the Kuwaiti citizenship, the study said.
Calls for action to curb the growing phenomenon of divorce in Kuwait are not new.
Several lawyers and sociologists in the country have been calling for rewriting the divorce laws after official figures indicated that the trend in divorces showed an alarming annual increase.
The lawyers said that the Kuwaiti law was a major factor.
“Under the law, a divorcee gets a salary, a house, a car and a maid and at the same time, she is free of all marriage commitments,” the lawyers said. “The phenomenon is widespread mainly among newly-married couples, which denotes that they were not ready for marriage. Their lack of experience and their inability to appreciate the commitments and responsibilities associated with the marriage are the main cause of this phenomenon,” they said.
Kuwait has one of the highest divorce rates in the region.
In 2015, statistics showed that divorce cases were slightly above half of the marriages in Kuwait in the first six months of the year, statistics indicate.
There were 7,138 marriage contracts and 3,751 divorce filings, an alarming ratio of 2:1, the justice ministry said in its semi-annual report.
The ministry said then that the major reasons for divorce were the hesitation of the spouses to accept each other and the lack of compassion.
Negligence, the inability to shoulder responsibilities and adultery were also cited among the main causes of divorce in the northern Arabian Gulf state.
The blatant interference of families in the lives of the couples was also blamed for the surge in divorce cases.
According to the ministry, a formal end to marriages at a young age should be imposed and massive campaigns undertaken to raise awareness about the institution of marriage with its rights and duties.
The ministry said society should work on consolidating values and on training young people and women on assuming family responsibilities.
Families should not interfere in the lives of the couples, the ministry suggested as one of the solutions to lower the alarming high figure of divorces.
A commission to reconcile spouses and to bridge gaps between them should be set up, the ministry said.