Divorce Cases Spiked By Over 100% In 2022
At least 30 per cent of new marriages are collapsing within five years, reported The Sunday Mail.
The Judiciary Service Commission (JSC) has said the number of divorce cases filed in courts across the country increased by more than 100 per cent in the 12 months through to December 2022.
The JSC revealed that in 2022, 2 735 divorce applications were received, while 1 351 were received in 2021.
The couples who were divorcing were married either under the Marriages Act Chapter 5:11 or the Customary Marriages Act Chapter 5:07.
Reasons cited in the divorce files include abuse, lack of communication, financial challenges and infidelity.
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Harare recorded the highest number, 981, and Bulawayo was in second position with 403 cases.
Chief Ndima Chimareketa of Chimanimani told The Sunday Mail that there is a need for counselling young couples who lack a basic understanding of marriage. He said:
Divorce cases involving customary marriages are on the rise. We deal with most of them at community level because they were never legally registered.
However, in some cases, where properties are involved and where the two parties cannot reach a mutual agreement, we then refer them to courts.
Depending on the case, sometimes, we try to counsel the couples first. If they still insist on divorce, we then let them be.
We came up with the counselling strategy after noting that some of these young couples lack a basic understanding of marriage and they simply need to be taken through the steps.
Shelter Shenjere, a marriage counsellor, said at least two out of an average of seven marriage-counselling cases she handles per week end up in divorce. She said:
People no longer respect the sanctity of marriage. Divorce has been normalised as one of the “best” ways of revenge or money-making schemes.
Roman Catholic priest Father Paul Mayeresa told The Sunday Mail that most couples are now marrying for the wrong reasons. Said the clergyman:
These days, most couples marry either for money or fame. As a result, most of these marriages lack affection and end up in divorce.
The priest said in the past, marriage was considered sacred but that’s no longer the case. He said:
Divorce was not common in Zimbabwe, hence it was highly stigmatised. However, society has evolved and separation is no longer a surprise.
Although this is not new, traditionally, families had ways of resolving issues behind closed doors, but it is no longer the case these days as most couples lack patience.
Children could even be born out of wedlock, but dirty linen was never washed in public, and because people married out of love, issues were solved, couples forgave each other and they peacefully continued with life.
Psychologist Nisbert Mangoro believes mental health issues are taking a toll on several marriages.
He said due to mental health issues most people now seek solace in drug and substance abuse, which has adverse effects on their marriages or families.
Social commentator Rebecca Chisamba said most marriages are now “business arrangements”, where people get married for benefits, and not love.
She encouraged couples to seek the advice of an independent counsellor as this may help save and strengthen the union.
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