News on Sunday

Increase in divorce rate: Who/What are the culprits?

Love is like heaven when feelings are mutual. But when misunderstanding, ego, selfishness, doubts and insecurity start to creep in, the very strength and trust of the couple crumbles. Arguments and various issues arise and often, the only alternative left is divorce. In 2014, Mauritius has recorded 2,262 divorce cases. The trend is not ready to stop soon. When Cupid strikes with his arrow, we eat, drink, sleep and wake up with love in our minds and hearts. However, when problems start to crop up, couples prefer to quit rather than to work things out and have a good marriage. The vow “till death do us part” seems to have lost its meaning. In recent years, divorce numbers are on the rise, according to figures from Statistic Mauritius. People seem less inclined to get married. In 2011, there were 10,499 marriages in Mauritius. Three years later, that figure dropped to 9,959. Regarding divorce, there were 1,788 divorce cases in 2011 as compared to a higher number of 2,262 divorces in 2014. These figures clearly show that there are more people seeking divorce while there are less and less people getting married. What about the long-term trend? According to the publication Gender Statistics 2012, the number of persons married per 1,000 mid-year population fell from 21.6 in 1990 to 16.1 in 2012. The number of divorced persons per 1,000 mid-year population increased from 1 in 1990 to 3.1 in 2012. That is, there were three times more people seeking divorce at the end of that 12-year-period than at its beginning. According to the Gender Statistics of 2013, around 48% of divorce applications were made by women. In addition “1,584 divorces were granted by the Supreme Court, the majority of which (29.6%) occurred after 5 to 10 years of union. The number of divorces after 25 years of union accounted for 8.5% of all divorces. Also, 5 divorces were registered within 1 year of marriage.” The document also revealed that “over one third of the couples who divorced in 2013 did not have children while slightly more than half of them had 1 child to 2 children. There were 9 divorced couples with 5 or more children.” Wahid Lalloo, Principal Civil Status Officer, explains that over the past five years, divorce cases have become more frequent. “Long ago, we could get 1 divorce case per week. Now there is an average of 5 to 6 cases per day. This is definitely a drastic change. We can thus say that the divorce rate has known an average increase of 40 to 50%.” Divorce procedures have become much easier through the Mutual Consent option. What are the reasons that lead Mauritian couples to divorce? Wahid Lalloo reveals that often partners complain about their in-laws and seek divorce due to family issues. “Another reason is incompatibility. Couples do not get along well. Third reason is jealousy. Partners are often jealous that their lovers spend more time with friends or friends of the opposite sex.”  The Principal Civil Status Officer says that among the most trivial reasons couples divorce is over TV. “A couple with two years of marriage wanted a divorce as they had a big fight over the TV.” Wahid Lalloo also reveals that the Internet also plays a major negative role in marriages nowadays. “Instead of spending one-to-one quality time, communicating and sharing, couples spend their time on the Internet chatting with others. They feel more at ease with virtual chats than face to face ones.” Wahid Lalloo gives us the example of a couple who divorced due to the Internet. “That couple were married for five or six years. The wife accused the husband of spending too much time on the Internet chatting with friends than with the family. They finally divorced through mutual consent.” According to sociologist Rajen Suntoo, various factors explain divorces. “The first one is incompatibility. The second factor is socialisation. Many youngsters are affected by problems in their own home between parents and this gets replicated later in their own couple life. The third reason is that the law has become more amenable to divorce through mutual consent. It is so easy now! Young couples already think of divorce when they are getting married. They think that if ever their marriage fails, they can still divorce and remarry.” [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"10336","attributes":{"class":"media-image aligncenter wp-image-17910 size-full","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"550","height":"244","alt":"effect-of-the-internet"}}]] Rajen Suntoo trusts that marriage as an institution has lost its importance over the years. “Marriage is not taken seriously. It has lost the sacred meaning it had long ago and has become feeble. If you have a look, lots of weddings are taking place but it seems to have become like a casual ceremony,” he explains. The sociologist also states that the love between couples has also evolved. “That love is not as strong. The couple’s strength crumbles when other things come along, like children, work pressure and stress, temptations outside, among others. They cannot bear the pressure and prefer to quit.” One of the major factors affecting marriages and which often leads to divorce is the influence of the Internet, he explains. “The Internet is to be blamed in many divorce cases. It definitely has a negative impact on married couples. Partners spend their time on the Internet, on social media and chat applications than focusing on their main responsibilities.” He also highlights that partners are more focused on their individual achievement. “This overshadows achievement of the family,” claims the sociologist.
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