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Polygamy a major cause of divorce: study

Eman Al Baik
Filed on December 9, 2005

DUBAI Bigamy plays a major role in the break-up of national families in the country, a study published by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs magazine has revealed.

Of all the divorces that take place in the national community, 31.9 per cent is on account of men's bigamy, says a study published by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs magazine.

Of all the marriages registered in the UAE by nationals, 28 per cent happen between UAE national men and foreign women, and most of these are second marriages, provoking the first wife to seek divorce, the study reveals.

About 23.7 per cent of the divorces result from financial problems, where as childlessness accounts for 23.4 per cent. Parental interference seals the conjugal fate of several men and women, constituting about 21.4 per cent of divorces.

Sixteen per cent of divorces spring from arbitrary spousal behaviour on the part of the men and 13.8 per cent due to drug addiction and resultant problems. About nine per cent of all divorces result from spousal infidelity and less than one per cent on account of the wife's illness. Interestingly, three per cent of divorces occurs because of husband's stinginess.

The study notes that most of these divorces could have been avoided had proper education been given to the couples on the art of leading a married life. As for the national men's preference for foreign women, the study attributes it to the financial boom. Some men have enough means to set up a second family abroad.

The national men who practise polygamy are mostly aged over 60, whereas their second spouses are in their 20s. This has been seen as one reason for the government to include foreign widows of national husbands in the social security scheme.

Delay in marriage age is another factor highlighted in the study, attributing it to the social development of the country. When women seek higher education, they spend about 16 years in their studies, bringing the age of marriage up to 22. The fact that marriage has become an expensive business also accounts for the delay.

The survey showed that of all the unmarried women in Sharjah, 64.8 per cent are aged between 23 and 49 years.

Likewise, 54.6 per cent of all the spinsters in the country are working women. The study recommended a nation-wide campaign to create awareness about the issues highlighted in the study.

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