Three divorces every hour in Saudi Arabia, prompting scholars to push for pre-marriage training
Saudi Arabia has an average of three cases of divorce every hour, official figures indicate.
The total divorce cases recorded in 2012 were more than 30,000, an average of 82 a day and 3.4 an hour, according to a study published in local daily Al Eqtisadiya.
The figure was slightly higher than in 2011 when 29,800 couples filed for divorce and in 2010 with its 27,200 divorce cases, an average of 75 cases a day and 3.1 an hour.
The report, based on data released by the justice ministry, said that 90 per cent of the divorces occurred between Saudi husbands and Saudi wives.
Divorces among couples were neither of the spouses was a Saudi national constituted seven per cent of the total figures with 2,174 cases.
The figure among couples in which the husband was a Saudi citizen and the wife non-Saudi was two per cent with 575 cases while the number of divorce cases between Saudi wives and non-Saudi husbands was 207, or one per cent of the total number.
According to the study, the figures showed an average of 2.5 divorce cases for every 1,000 men aged above 15. The total number of males who were more than 15 years old in the kingdom in 2012 was 12 million.
The figure places Saudi Arabia second in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the alliance that brings together Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Bahrain topped the list with an average of 2.7 divorce cases for every 1,000 men aged above 15. Oman was third with an average of 1.9, followed by Qatar with 1.2. The study said that data for Kuwait and the UAE was not available.
Saudi authorities, alarmed by the high rate of divorce, have been pushing for a better approach by young couples to the concept of marriage with proper training and advice for matrimonial lives. Several religious scholars have also been calling for imposing mandatory training courses before marriage.
However, the endeavours have to put up with formidable social challenges with families almost invariably encouraging early marriages in line with strong customs and traditions.