The family affairs court in Jeddah registers 15 new divorce cases every day, Makkah daily reported on Wednesday.
Court sources said the court also handles every day as many as 35 outstanding divorces that were previously tabled for official registration. They said the number of marriages is also on the rise in Jeddah.
According to official statistics from the Justice Ministry, Jeddah accounted for 45.1 percent of all 5,212 divorce cases in the Kingdom last year. A number of Saudi sociologists attributed the rising rate of divorces in the Kingdom to numerous reasons, including the rising costs of living.
Abeer Taha, professor of sociology at Umm Al-Qura University, blamed social traditions and the family for being among the many causes of divorce in the Kingdom.
“The family provides the apartment for their son and ensures him with all the facilities needed for his marriage. However, he does not gain the sense of independence required to shoulder his marriage responsibilities when he is left on his own, so he will get rid of these responsibilities through divorce.”
She said another reason for divorce is that both men and women get married at a very young age.
“In this case, the couple will not be mature enough to handle the marriage, so it is easy for them to end it all with divorce,” she said.
Taha said young men and women may find themselves at odds with each other when they are left alone in their homes.
“Existing social traditions do not enable couples to get to know each other very well before marriage so they many discover later that they are not suitable for each other,” she added.
Saud Al-Dihayan, professor of social services at King Saud University in Riyadh, attributed the high rates of divorce in the Kingdom to the lack of marital training given to prospective young couples.
He said: “The girl lives all her life in her father’s home and she is not responsible for anything.
“She will have everything done for her, so when she goes to her husband’s home she may find herself at a loss, leading her to ask for a divorce.” Al-Dihayan said divorce cases are particularly high in Jeddah, because it is a city with an open society.
He called for prospective couples to be subject to social checkups, similar to pre-marital medical examinations.
“This will enable them to know if they are suitable for each other and if they are both ready for married life,” he said.
He also called for the establishment of marriage counseling centers to deal with marital problems.
Mansour Bin Askar, professor of sociology at Imam Muhammad Bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, believes the growing trend of individuality among young Saudi men and women is another cause of divorces.
“The rapid social changes in Jeddah are responsible for its high divorce rates,” he said.
He said: “Many young men and women are suffering from certain social flaws. “For them, divorce is an easy thing to do and they don’t have any consideration for family life.”