Parental divorce or separation is associated with an increased risk for child and adolescent adjustment problems, including poor performance at school, disruptive behaviours such as conduct and drug addiction and exposure to bullying, according to a family counsellor in Abu Dhabi.
Yahya Al Harbi, a family counsellor at the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, pointed out that the latest field study that was conducted in a number of courts from the GCC nations, which includes the UAE, concluded that 88 per cent of personal status cases handled by courts are those filed after couples have separated and not while still in marriage.
He explained that some of the cases filed by divorced couples include dropping of alimony, allocating alimony and custody of children, among others.
“This is the reality that we observe today in the corridors of the courts. The real differences between the couples begin after divorce has occurred, which involves the emergence of behaviours such as stubbornness, revenge and financial claims, a problem that needs to be resolved,” said Al Harbi during a recent radio interview.
The family counsellor noted that when the Almighty God legislated divorce, he said in his book the Holy Quran: “Divorce must be pronounced twice and then (a woman) must be retained in honour or released in kindness.”
Al Harbi explained that to put divorce in the rank of benevolence, which is a higher rank in the degree of favour, God wanted to show the believers that the consequences of divorce and its effects are more severe and greater, and that there are challenges that require a person to deal with a life partner with kindness, and not just a favour.
He also praised the relentless efforts by the judicial department’s social, psychological and legal family counsellors in family reconciliation which has enabled many spouses to resolve disputes and reach settlements and amicable solutions that satisfy all parties.
In July this year, the Department of Community Development in Abu Dhabi (DCD) launched an initiative to reduce early-stage divorce rates. The first digital platform of its kind in the emirate that was rolled out in cooperation with the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and private sector partners, aims to raise awareness about the importance of seeking professional help at the first signs of conflict to reduce divorce rates during the early stages of marriage.
Dr Layla Al Hyas, executive director of the Social Monitoring and Innovation Sector at DCD in Abu Dhabi, said results of research conducted by the department showed that approximately 62 per cent of Emirati couples in Abu Dhabi face divorce during the first four years of marriage.
Infidelity, lack of preparation and commitment, poor or lack of communication, physical and verbal abuse, social media, unrealistic expectations and a delay or reluctance in seeking marriage counselling are some of the main reasons for early divorces in Abu Dhabi, according to psychologists.