Last year, there were three times more divorces in Saudi Arabia than there were marriages.
According to numbers from the country’s justice ministry, there were 33,900 cases of divorce in 2014. By contrast, there were only 11,818 marriages in the same time period.
The number of divorces in 2014 represents a 32 per cent rise since the previous year, when 25,583 cases were held.
Jeddah, Makkah and Taif, cities in the western regions of Saudi Arabia, saw the highest number of divorces last year with 16,715 between them.
While the official figures did not list reasons given for the divorces, Dubai-based news site Emirates 24/7 cited a report which listed common reasons for marriages ending in the country. These include major social issues such as ‘Misyar’ marriages, forced marriages and social barriers, and everyday grievances such as excessive snoring or lack of affection.
Misyar marriages allow couples to briefly marry in order to have sex without violating Islamic law. Despite it being a marriage contract under religious law, the couple do not have full marriage rights. For example, they do not live together, nor is the wife entitled to maintenance.
“Misyar is seen as a temporary marriage and that is why divorce rates have increased in the Kingdom”, said family affair consultant Sheikh Mohammed Al Falaj.
Last October, the Saudi government announced a study in the hope that it would assist their efforts to bring the divorce rate down.
Photo of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia by toyohara via Flickr