During the COVID-19 crisis, observers noted a 30 per cent increase in requests for divorce and Khula’, a procedure through which a woman can divorce her husband in Islam, by returning the dowry (mahr) or something else that she received from her husband, as agreed by the spouses or court decree.
Among the cases are female doctors, community women and employees who were forced to request annulment of their marriage after they discovered their husbands had married other women in secret, according to Okaz newspaper.
The pandemic, home quarantine and the curfew contributed to uncovering what was hidden, and the courts’ family counsellors try to bridge the rift between the couples away from court sessions to protect families and prevent the dispersion of children.
Some 22 cases were filed by teachers, doctors, and businesswomen, and the lawyer and judicial notary Saleh Musfer Al Ghamdi said he received five divorce requests within two weeks from wives, including doctors and businesswomen. “Among them is a doctor who discovered that her husband married secretly to an Arab resident,” Al Ghamdi said.
The number of marriage contracts made across Saudi Arabia in February reached 13,000, an increase of 5 per cent over contracts made in the same month last year, and Saudi citizens accounted for the vast majority. In contrast, the number of divorce deeds for the same month was 7,482, according to official statistics.
The executive supervisor of the Takamul Aid Initiative, Manal Al Harthy, said that marital relations were not immune to the pandemic, as wives resorted to law firms to request divorce during the pandemic, and some of them filed an electronic lawsuit immediately after receiving legal advice to know the required steps.