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Divorce: 'Social problems account for 48.3% of divorce cases in Tunisia'

Divorce cases in Tunisia - Divorce cases between couples have been on the rise in Tunisia in the last five years following what officials called 'social crisis and disruptions', according to a study by the Tunisian Women Affairs and Family Ministry.

The study shows that 27% of the divorcees are aged less than 36 years, 58% of the cases happening during the first 10 years of marriage.

The ministry said two-thirds of the divorced families have more than one child while the rest have more than three children.

The study estimated that 82% of divorce cases in Tunisia occur during the first year of marriage, making the country the worst hit in the Arab world.

However, the Tunisian Justice Ministry has slammed the study, arguing that it was impossible to compare Tunisia to the other countries unless they have a similar system of society like Tunisia.

Divorce in Tunisia is a legal matter as opposed to the other Arab countries where divorce is based on religion.

A Tunisian woman can take the initiative to divorce her husband in conformity with chapter 30 of the Family Code.

Meanwhile, the number of women currently suing for divorce has peaked to 50% against the 6% recorded in 1960. 

Experts say most divorce cases are initiated by women who are financially independent.

They said most Tunisian women are free from family pressure and inherited traditions which force them to stay put in marriages no matter the condition.

Apart from social crisis and disruptions, domestic violence is another cause for divorce, accounting for 28% of the cases.

In the last two years, analysts say infidelity is a third cause for divorce in Tunisia.

“Silent divorce”, where couples agree to live under the same roof, so as not to attract attention, is also on the rise.

A social statistics expert, Al-Mondhir Jaafar, has warned against early divorce and its impact on marriage and stability, saying the development could impact negatively on youths.

Khadidja Al-Madya, a lawyer, believed the amendments to the Family Code in 1993 and the subsequent years are very important as they grant three stages of reconciliation to the couples and their children to prevent a divorce.

State institutions as well as civil society organisations in Tunisia have increased their efforts through sensitization campaigns and reconciliations to prevent divorce.

Other experts have asked the Tunisian authorities to study the Malaysian system which has brought down the rate of divorce from 37% to 7% in one decade.

Pana 09/02/2014