JEDDAH: ARAB NEWS
Published — Sunday 23 December 2012
Last update 24 December 2012 3:52 pm
Saudi Arabia has the lowest divorce rate in the Gulf region according to a statement made by the Ministry of Justice. “There is no basis for the notion that divorce is a phenomenon in the Kingdom. Current divorce rates are not worrisome and have fallen considerably in recent years,” a statement of the ministry said recently.
More than 60 percent of the cases presented before the ministry’s reconciliation offices have been successfully resolved, a local daily reported yesterday.
“This shows the success of Sharia’s alternative divorce litigation methods. The reconciliation offices also help reduce cases related to custody, guardianship and expenses, which previously used to end up in the law courts,” the statement said.
Nasser Al-Aud, adviser to the Minister of Justice and the ministry’s social services administration supervisor, said 1,295 divorce cases were settled through reconciliation in 2010 and the statistics for 2011 will be published before June of next year. Riyadh province witnessed the highest number of peaceful reconciliations with 797 cases in 2010; Jazan followed with 316 cases; and Makkah came in third position with 99 cases. No reconciliation instances were recorded in the Eastern Province for that year, while there was one case in Baha and four in the Northern Border Province, Al-Aud said.
“We have observed a steady rise in peacefully settled divorce cases in the country over the past five years. In 2009 there was a 22 percent rise in the number of reconciled cases, and a 13 percent increase in the following year,”Al-Aud said attributing the improvement in divorce rates to the various social programs adopted by the ministry in the past few years.
Al-Aud added that the reconciliation offices in the law courts are undertaking the corporate responsibility services of the ministry.
The ministry has signed a number of agreements with the Ministry of Social Affairs to create awareness campaigns for improving family relations. Furthermore, the Ministry of Justice plans to recruit more psychology and sociology graduates for family counseling jobs. These social science graduates will also be assigned to work as advisers to judges on family cases. The ministry is offering special training to officials working in the reconciliation offices and plans on establishing female sections, in addition to appointing 370 female employees in courts.
The ministry is cooperating with foreign universities to organize advanced training programs for officials working in the reconciliation offices.