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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH — As the Kingdom battles the deadly coronavirus by taking extreme measures like lockdowns, curfews and home quarantines, the subject of marriage and divorce has hogged the limelight.
Dubai-based Gulf News cited official Saudi figures as saying that 13,000 marriages were solemnized in the Kingdom in February, 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, Gulf News cited statistics in the electronic portal of the Saudi Ministry of Justice.
This means a 30 percent increase in requests for divorce and khula, 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, as agreed by the spouses or as per a court decree. A woman may also request annulment without compensation if she proves that she has been harmed by the husband.
Statistics showed 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.
The pandemic, home quarantine and the curfew contributed to uncovering what was hidden, and the courts’ family counselors try to bridge the rift between the couples away from court sessions to protect families.
The Gulf News quoted Talal Muhammad Al-Nashiri, a social worker and head of the Jeddah Therapy Association, as saying that 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.
“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.
From this standpoint, he added, 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.
On the other hand, 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 the electronic portal of the Ministry of Justice has stopped publishing any statistics since February because of the suspension of work at the courts. Law offices recorded a remarkable increase in requests for divorce, khula, and annulment of marriage of about 30 percent during the coronavirus crisis, the Gulf News report said.
Some 22 cases were filed by teachers, doctors, and businesswomen, and the lawyer and judicial notary Saleh Musfer Al-Ghamdi said he received five divorce requests within two weeks from wives, including doctors and businesswomen. “Among them is a doctor who discovered that her husband married secretly to an Arab resident,” Gulf News quoted Al-Ghamdi as saying.
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