Study shows alarming increase in UAE divorce rate

Absence of communication is one of the major reasons behind divorce among Emiratis

Divorce papers
Image Credit: Gulf News
A wife in Ras Al Khaimah was in for a shock after her husband decided on the spur of the moment to divorce her. Having accompanied his divorce-seeking brother to court, the husband saw the documents, decided that his wife treated him the same way, and walked out with his form filled in as well. The Family Guidance Committee and the RAK Family Court have contacted the two women to attempt a reconciliation.
19 Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Why has the divorce rate increased in the UAE, and how did it impact women and children in the Emirati society?

A study, by Marriage Fund along with the University of Sharjah in 2011, involving 1,742 Emirati divorced women, revealed that absence of communication due to lack of harmony in the marriage is one of the major reasons behind divorce among Emiratis.

Constant bickering lead to the absence of love and inability to agree on issues of daily life. Stubbornness of a partner regarding his views, the inflexibility to accept a partner’s opinion were among the major causes of divorce. Other causes are over-defensiveness and anger during discussions which leads to animosity.

Due to traditions that forbid a pre-marital relationships, many women discovered traits in their husband’s personality that they were not aware of and found difficult to tolerate.

Interference by in-laws has also played a significant role in divorce. Some 54 per cent of divorced women were living very close to their parents and allowed significant interference in their marriages.


Polygamy, physical abuse of the wife, refusal to share the responsibility of looking after the children and pushing it entirely on the women, lack of, and the inability to provide financial support and forcing the wife to work and contribute part or her entire salary, are also considered major reasons of divorce.

The study further identified secondary reasons that lead to divorce. This includes a lack of understanding by the man about his wife’s jealousy and concerns especially when multiple wives are living together, alcohol and drugs, illness whether physical or mental, and the significant difference in age in some cases.

Other secondary reasons are marriage among relatives, which provides more opportunities for in-law interference, and many family issues including raising children and the inability of one partner to have children, plus the additional pressure on the family to have a child.

Impact on children

The study further defined and analysed the impact of divorce on the children, revealing that divorce is likely to induce significant changes in children’s character and considerably affect their mental and physical health, as well as their personalities and behaviour.

Some of the changes in children include defiance, stubbornness, sadness, hostility, isolation, hyperactivity, concentration deficiency, sense of guilt, lack of self esteem and renegade behaviour.

The children are also bound to be negatively impacted by the financial problems that divorce causes, as each parent may push the responsibility of the children’s financial needs on the other.

The children will also likely suffer from a sense of not belonging, feeling lost between mother and father, which could further lead to not obeying one or both parents. Absence of control could also develop into rebellious behaviour that may lead to crimes, such as stealing and may also lead to bullying.

Other negative effects include loss of friends and the inability to make friends, fearing marriage in the future and self-inflicted pain.

Divorce might also cause children to be hostile and break school rules, miss school, perform poorly academically, and lose interest in higher education.

With regards to health, children may suffer from insomnia, weight loss or just the opposite excessive eating habits, depression, migraine, stomach pain, speech problems, and bed-wetting, the study found.


  • Anonymous

    Jun 15, 2012 5:30

    Ahhh wake up!! It doesn't matter where you are in the world it's the same all over, some people get married because they think they will gain something and fix everything, for materialistic things, that's why it fails eventually.

  • Anonymous

    Jun 15, 2012 4:49

    Marriage is permitted by Allah to share love, pleasure, sadness and happiness. However, in the absence of proper understanding between husband and wife it will lead to arguement, fighting and untimately lead to a divorce. I believe most divorce cases happening in UAE due to the fact that wife is not a real wife to husband, her behaviour is not in accordance with the teachings of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

  • Mathew Litty

    Jun 15, 2012 4:21

    At Anonymous, I find it hard to digest the fact that your wife filed a divorce because you had problems with credit cards taking various loans. But when it comes to marriage shouldn't your wife also help you financially? Was she working that time? There is nothing like its my money. its for both of you. This is another main reason for clash between two couples. They fail to understand each other. There seems to be some sort of an ego clash or complex happening to both the couples.

  • Xami Khan

    Jun 15, 2012 3:56

    Social Component is of the most important aspect of a county across the globe. Societies are known by the language they speak, Custom and traditions they carry, One historical background and living in a territorial boundaries. However; any one of characteristics is not being followed strictly, rest of them will go in descending orders. Custom and traditions are highly considered in every state of the world, which unites the societies in one hand and destroy them in other hand. Family system comes under the custom and tradition and how they will be followed strictly, remained the call of the day, as the writer has tried to bring in notice. Divorce increasing ration is an alarming call if thought upon deeply. In states like Gulf the family system is literally being put backward due to many reasons, which I guess the writer could have brought in consideration. Divorce ratio is increasing due to many reasons, but what I think is:1) Multi-cultural society: UAE is a fast growing multi-cultural society for which it is hard to keep alive the traditional norms and values. An open market which is positive for economical purpose but extremely negative for social aspect of the states. The social fabrics and cultural sensitivities get affect up to a great extant.2) Education: In true sense the educational aspect is to be taken in consideration, which deals with social well-being and cultural sense. There should a huge portion in syllabus for cultural empowerment, but I guess it is absent in the very syllabus. Education which improves the analytical skills, gives a sense of comparison, gives a sense of self-improvements.3) Legal perspective: What one can suggest, that the Divorce should be given a hard time. Inter-cast, inter-nations marriages should be appreciated like in other countries of the Globe. There should also be equal rights for male and female.4) Cultural perspectives: There should be cultural festivals which improves the social norms values.If the ration of divorce goes like this, I am sure the states will lose their identities, cultural norms values, status and can also leads to a heterogeneous society.That’s my own opinions and I may be wrong.

  • Anonymous

    Jun 15, 2012 3:44

    "...many women discovered traits in their husband’s personality that they were not aware of and found difficult to tolerate""Polygamy, physical abuse of the wife, refusal to share the responsibility of looking after the children and pushing it entirely on the women..."Mr. Khan, if you really read the report you would realise that feminism did not cause the above. Feminism tries to help women realise their own potential and worth. Feminism helps women recognise a bad relationship and gives them the strength to get out of it. Feminism has done more for the betterment of women than the anti-feminism brigade. Divorce is almost always a two-way street so there's no need to point fingers.Divorce is problematic and no one ever thinks it's a good idea. But bad things happen and we must do our best to avoid getting to a place where it is the only option. The only way to do that is to really be aware of what you are getting into when marrying. That doesn't mean have relations before hand, but express your likes and dislikes, be honest about yourself etc.

  • Anonymous

    Jun 15, 2012 3:04

    Post recession I had problems with my credit cards and a loan which was unbearable. It was a problem for both of us. She filed a divorced, mutual consent. We separated in early 2010. I'm still going through the nightmare which was caused by the bank. I lost the job and went behind the bar for 2 weeks and back and I got 2 more cases to resolve and visa got expired but fortunately my labour contract and labour card has been renewed. I would put the blame completely on the banks for not letting us sleep peacefully. I have been in UAE for the past 8 years, but unfortunately since 2010 I started to become a defaulter. Please save marriages.

  • Mathew Litty

    Jun 15, 2012 2:59

    Hello Mr. Khan,You say that feminism is the main cause. Can you elaborate that for me?

  • Masoom

    Jun 15, 2012 2:45

    If all marriages will be held arranged through parents I'm sure and it has been seen in the society that the most of the love marriages get in trouble and after few months or years cause divorce.In love the boy and girl just show their good activities just to keep relation but the same couple after marriage they gradually know each other and the fight starts...Hope all married couples keep their life successful.

  • Firos Khan

    Jun 15, 2012 2:36

    Pre marital counseling is important. Before proposing get information about if he/she is spiritually qualified. Feminism is a cause of most case.

  • Moh Kasadi

    Jun 15, 2012 2:36

    I think it happened everywhere in the world specially with the wealthy society... I saw the same reason in Spain.

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Latest Comment

Ahhh wake up!! It doesn't matter where you are in the world it's the same all over, some people get married because they think they will gain something and fix everything, for materialistic things, that's why it fails eventually.


15 June 2012 17:31jump to comments