Young couples give up early

Pursuit of financial independence prime reason for divorce

At least 80 to 85 per cent of divorce cases in the country are initiated by women, according to the 2001 census.

Most divorce cases happen in the age bracket of 25 to 39 years.

Shaifali Sandhya, US-based psychologist and author of Why the Indian Marriage is Burning, said after a study that divorce rate was 7.41 per 1,000 in rural areas in 1991, while it was 11 per 1,000 in urban areas.

In 2008, at least 8,000 to 9,000 divorce cases were predicted annually in Delhi — twice the rate four years ago.

Family counsellors say the increasing number of divorce rates in urban areas is primarily due to equal expectations from women, refusal to live in an unhealthy or violent relationship, and the pursuit of financial independence.

According to Ranjana Kumari, director of Centre for Social Research, more people in the age bracket of 25 to 35 years have been filing for divorce in urban areas.

Some experts say the institute of marriage is being questioned by the younger generation, and this transformation has been slowly taking place.

More singles now

“The number of singles has increased if we compare it with the last few decades,” said Renuka Singh, professor of Sociology at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Though family counsellors and lawyers say there has been a rise in divorce rates, not being married at all is still a road less taken.

“I still find that those who are really able to resist marriage, or want to resist, are still a minority. They may marry late but it is an inevitable thing,” said Janaki Abraham, professor of Sociology at Delhi School of Economics.

Abraham said rise in divorce rates itself is not a bad thing.

“On the whole there needs to be a review of the institution of marriage,” she said.
The rise in the number of economically independent women has led to equal expectations from their spouses.

Rise of nuclear families

Kumari talked about growing aspirations and financial independence too creating tensions in relationships. The rise of nuclear families across the country is also a factor.

According to Singh, striking a balance between job and personal life is a difficult task.

Kumari said the reason behind increasing number of divorce cases in Delhi is because “systems are more functional in the capital”. A high migration rate to cities for better opportunities also leads to filing of more cases there, rather than in hometowns.

According to a member of Legal Aid Service, Delhi had just about two family courts in the 1980s. The number has crossed 10 now.

“Divorce cases are on the rise. Why do you think there was a need for matchmaking websites such as secondshaadi.com, which targets divorcees and widowers.

Do a search on it, and you will see thousands of profiles in the age group of 25 to 35 years,” said district court lawyer Rohit Khurana.

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