Divorce rate falls by almost half in Sharjah while marriages increase

Report shows 49 per cent decrease in divorce cases in first three months of 2021

The number of couples getting divorced in Sharjah fell by almost half between January and March compared with the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the number of weddings increased by 19 per cent as Covid-19 safety measures eased.

The emirate's Department of Statistics and Community Development has revealed 39 divorce cases were registered in the first three months of this year, a 49 per cent drop on the same period a year earlier, when 77 couples sought to legally end their marriage.

Sharjah's population is estimated to be about 1.3 million.

Other northern emirates reported a decline in divorces last year.

Figures were taken from all new marriage and divorce cases registered in Sharjah courts in the three-month period.

Emirati couples accounted for 25 of the divorce cases registered between January and March, compared with 30 a year earlier, and nine involved Emirati men who were married to non-Emiratis.

Four of the cases were filed by residents, compared with 27 in the same period last year, and two by couples in which the wife was Emirati and the husband was not.

It can be difficult to collate data on Emirati divorces because many citizens prefer to settle divorce disputes through traditions and Sharia, rather than official channels.

However, the lives of Emirati women have undergone a substantial change over the years. Aided by the government’s commitment to empower women and provide them with equal opportunities, their status has risen greatly, which could affect the traditional balance in Emirati marriages.

The report also showed a 19 per cent increase in the number of weddings.

Authorities found that 624 marriage contracts were signed between January and March, while 523 were signed during the same period last year.

Of those, 355 were Emirati couples and 175 were non-citizens.

Seventy-eight Emirati men tied the knot with non-Emirati women, while 16 Emirati women married non-Emirati partners.

During the same period last year, when there were tighter restrictions on gatherings, only 20 marriages were registered between residents.

A report from the Community Development Authority in Dubai showed there was a 35 per cent decrease in divorce cases in the emirate between 2016 and 2019.

Divorce rates in some countries have reached between 40 and 50 per cent.

Meanwhile, people in richer countries are getting married later in life, particularly in North America and Europe.

In Sweden, for example, the average age of women who got married went up from 28 in 1990 to 34 in 2017.

Updated: August 24th 2021, 9:32 AM