Divorce Rates Rising . . . in Iran

By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Divorce on Wednesday, November 26, 2014.

Around the world couples are splurging on divorce parties. It is a sign of an undeniable trend: divorce rates are rising. This angers clerics in Iran. So what’s behind the increase over there?

As Reuters recently reported, Mustafa Pour Mohammadi, the current justice minister, said that 14 million divorce cases within the judiciary is “not befitting of an Islamic system”.

Some of the causes for divorce in Iran, like Florida, include economic problems, adultery, drug addiction or physical abuse. But the increase in the divorce rate has also been linked to a growth in individualism.

Women are more educated and have increased financial empowerment. It used to be that a woman would marry and she would just have to get along. Now if she’s not happy, she’ll separate. It’s not taboo.

In Iran, the government doesn’t like divorce to come from the side of women. Marital law in Iran traditionally favors husbands, who have the right to ask for a divorce.

In the cases where the husband refuses to divorce, the wife must legally prove that the husband is abusive, has psychological problems or is somehow unable to uphold his marriage responsibilities in order to separate.

Another alternative is to enforce the Mahr agreement. I’ve written about Mahr agreements before.

Mahr agreements are common in Iran, are negotiated before the marriage and have two parts: a premarital payment in exchange for marriage vows, and a post-nuptial payment made if the marriage ends in divorce or death. Mahr agreements in Iran are usually based on gold coins.

The rise in the divorce rate worries government officials in Iran because it comes as the birth rate is plunging. Last year, parliament’s social affairs committee proposed that $1.1 billion be dedicated to facilitating marriages but the motion did not pass in parliament.

A more controversial proposal has been to create a Ministry of Marriage and Divorce, which some officials have criticized on the grounds that a new ministry would create more bureaucracy rather than address the overall issue of rising divorce.

The Reuters report can be read here.