Divorce rates in Morocco reach highest level since 2004

Divorce cases in Morocco during 2021 have risen to their highest levels since the implementation of the new family code “Moudawana“ in 2004.

While answering a written question in parliament this Friday, the Ministry of Justice said that divorce cases have witnessed a slight decrease since the entry into force of the Family Code until 2021.

The number of divorce cases went from 26,914 in 2004 to 20,372 cases in 2020, rising again in 2021, reaching a total of 26,957 cases.

In all, 135,724 divorces were confirmed in 2021 against 7,6936 the previous year. In 2005, 28,232 divorces had been registered, while 270 weekly divorces were pronounced in 2017, due to rectifications made to the Family Code.

The same ministry indicated that consensual divorce has become the largest portion of divorce cases over the years, as it moved from 1,860 cases in 2004 to 20,655 cases in 2021.

The reasons behind this rise was attributed to a number of factors, including the growing awareness among spouses of the importance of ending marital relationship in an amicable manner.

Resolving family disputes through dialogue to reach agreement, as well as the flexibility and ease that characterize this type of divorce resulting from the agreement of the spouses were also noted as motivations for couples resorting to amicable legal separation.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Justice revealed that retroactive divorce experienced a noticeable decline year after year, with the number of cases stabilizing in 2021 to 526 divorce cases, compared to 7,146 cases in 2004.

The same authority pointed out that “the dissolution of the marital pact by divorce should only be resorted as an exception and a final solution,” after the couple has exhausted all other existing options available to salvage their marriage.

In this regard, the Moroccan Family Code stipulates that it is mandatory to attempt reconciliation between spouses in all cases of divorce, except for cases where one of the spouses is absent.

The family court does not authorize testimonies for divorce until after completing the judicial procedures related to reconciliation, and declaring the reconciliation attempt failed.

A regional trend

A report by the British Economist published this month revealed that divorce rates are on the rise across the Arab world.

The percentage of women who initiate divorce proceedings has increased compared to years before, as the report indicated that divorce has become increasingly common in Arab countries at a time when it is declining in Western countries.

In Egypt, for example, divorce cases have doubled since 2000 when the process became easier for women as a result of amending laws.

In Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, more than a third of marriages end in divorce, and in Kuwait it exceeds that and reaches nearly half, according to the magazine.

The Economist’s report adds that one of the reasons for the rise is “the decline in the influence of parents on perpetuating unhappy marriages.”

In addition to the declining influence of religious figures and family members on the decision to divorce, female participation in the workforce has given millions of women financial independence, continues the same source.

A study by the Egyptian Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center found that Saudi Arabia recorded 7 divorce cases every hour, with an average of 162 cases per day.

In Tunisia, 940 divorce cases are registered per month, an average of four cases every 3 hours.

In Algeria, divorce cases rose to 64,000 cases annually, an average of one case every 12 minutes. In Jordan, divorce cases reached 14,000 cases annually.

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