More married couples severing marriage ties

KUALA LUMPUR - A mother wiped her tears as she witnessed her daughter pronouncing her divorce to the judge, while another elderly couple bickered in front of a full courtroom, one justifying the divorce, while the other resented the action.

"I cannot live with this man who cheated me," says one woman, while sobbing uncontrollably.

"He abused me and told me that he considered me as a divorcee from the day of our first fight," says another.

Every so often a couple gets their appeal rejected, and that leads the crowd in the courtroom to question what happens after this with the couple. Will they live apart or commit to reconciliation?

Such is the scene in the divorce court on a daily basis as more and more married couples sever their marriage ties.

According to a court assistant at the Syariah court in Jalan Duta, the court sees an average of 210 cases in a day.

"Each court room has an average of 30 cases daily and with our seven courtrooms, that amounts to an approximately 30,000 to 50,000 cases annually, including cases that were not approved.

"It very rarely goes above those numbers, but I was told that there are more Syariah divorces as compared to the high court divorces," he said when met at the court.

In 2013, Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister's Department (Islamic Affairs) Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman said that an estimate of 20 to 25 per cent of Muslim marriages were dissolved every year.

"This was double the rate of their non-Muslim counterparts and is a serious challenge to the Muslim community as it could lead to many social problems in the community," he was quoted as saying at the time.

The National registration Department, which registers non-Muslim divorces, disclosed that divorce rates in the last three years have gradually reduced.

Based on the data, in 2011 there were a total of 9,138 divorces granted, followed by 9,570 in 2012, 7,228 in 2013 and 1,698 in 2014.

Records also showed that the highest number of divorces were in Kuala Lumpur, followed by Johor and Penang.

Similar to the root cause of all other social problems faced by Malaysians, the primary cause for divorce for both Muslims and non-Muslims is financial problems, followed by drug abuse and mental and physical abuse.

A significant number of cases were also caused by religious differences, third party interference and adultery.

During The Star Online's visit to the court, it appeared that divorce is now being treated like a norm.

Lawyers and court officials who worked at there claimed that aggressive arguments over divorce settlements and couples shouting at each other in public is not something unusual.

This is a worrying trend, and people in our community should not be succumbing to it. Instead, couples are advised to analyse thoroughly prior to tying the knot.