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The Spectre of Divorce

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The Spectre of Divorce

In 2021 alone, around 40,000 marriage dispute cases were dealt with by the family courts

Family courts in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad have heard a large number of divorce cases in the past year or so which is, indeed, a matter of grave concern for the society.

Just last year, around 40,000 family-dispute cases were dealt with by the courts, in which around 4500 ended up in separation among the couples.

In most of these cases, it were the women who approached the court for divorce (khula). A careful analysis into the rising cases of divorce brought to fore several reasons for the disputes among which the transformation in social fabric was blamed as a major reason.

With the women getting more aware of their rights in the new Millennium than at any time before, they are demanding more independence in the society which is often directly related to them earning their own money through jobs and pursuing the careers of their choice.

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Around 15 percent increase is recorded in the divorce cases as compared to the previous year. A high number of cases are still pending in the courts concerning divorce, return of dowry, guardianship, children’s custody and maintenance.

While talking to ‘Bol News’ advocate Sana Hafeez – who has been dealing with family cases for nearly two decades – said the main dispute in most cases of khula are the forced marriages in which one partner reluctantly agrees to get married just to fulfill the family’s wish and to protect its honour.

She further said there are two types of classes approaching the court with the divorce disputes of late. One is the uneducated class who want to teach each other a lesson by taking each other to court, while the educated couples who realise their relationships are emotionally barren and want to break up to avoid physical or emotional abuse.

She said that mostly couples from the uneducated class approach the courts for return of dowry, children’s custody and maintenance after their divorce.

Advocate Sana said that in most of the khula cases, the females blame physical abuse from her spouse just to end the relationship because this is the easy way to get divorce. “In many cases physical abuse allegations prove correct and the women subsequently approach the courts to end their marriage rather than dragging an abusive relationship.”

She said in the arranged marriages men claim big things about themselves, but a number of them turn out to be unemployed after they get married. “When the women demand from them to earn a living for the family, the men resort to violence, assaults which compel their partners to file for khula. This is mostly the case in the uneducated class.”

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She said that in her chamber, she receives 10 to 15 applications of judicial separations on a daily basis.

Sana said it’s not like the courts order separation in all cases. It gives time to the grieved women for reconciliation with their husbands and try their best to settle the disputes. “In a large number of such cases, the females compromise because of their children’s future and also due to social pressures.”

She said that in her experience, most of the free-will marriages also end up in break-ups because the families of both sides do not accept them and keep pushing the men and women to separate.

Sidra Akhtar, a physiatrist said that there is a need to educate the younger generation about the importance of marriage and its responsibilities. “Unfortunately, we are not giving training to our children about how to create a balance among all relations and in relationships.”

She said parents are not giving proper time to their children and have left them at the mercy of the internet while the drastic trends in movies and dramas are also leading to unrest among the married couples and the families. “But this is not our culture and our religion also teaches us to maintain a balance in relationships and be tolerant. But the new generation is not really bothered about acquiring these values.”

Sidra said in many cases the parents are responsible for bitterness in marriages since they just want to get their lazy, irresponsible sons to get married without realizing the fact that the girls also have their own identities and are keen on disciplined, caring husbands.

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“Most parents think their sons will shape up and will suddenly become responsible after marriage which is just not the case,” she insisted.

“In order to avoid the post marriage issues, both side of parents should investigate the boy and girl thoroughly and about their nature, behavior and attitude towards their family members. That can really help in keeping the couple together afterwards.”

She said parents should give proper time to their children. They should give them confidence so that they can discuss any problem with them. “There is also a need to keep an eye on what children are watching on the internet and which type of games they are playing. There are many famous online games which are affecting children’s minds adversely because there are no rules or ethics there. That’s why we have witnessed so many cases of late where a child has harmed or even killed his friend and his family members.”

She added that children from broken families may experience more problems including poor performance in academics, loss of interest in social activity, difficulty in adapting to a changed environment, becoming emotionally over-sensitive, angry or irritable, resorting to destructive behavior, countering health problems and loss of faith in marriage and family unit etc. “This is why counselling from an early age is so important in today’s world.”

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