Muscat: A total of 3,570 divorce cases were registered in the Sultanate in the year 2012, slightly higher than 3,553 cases registered in 2011, with Muscat governorate having the maximum 1,013 cases.
While 3,316 divorce cases were filed by Omanis, 33 cases involved Omani men and spouses from other GCC countries; in 65 cases GCC citizens and Omani wives was involved; while in 71 cases Omanis and their expatriate wives separated. In six cases, the rift was between expatriates and their Omani wives and in 78 cases both the spouses involved were expatriates.
The North Batinah governorate followed Muscat in second place with 567 cases, while Dhofar governorate was third with 527 cases. The Musandam governorate with 32 divorce cases recorded the lowest number.
The number of divorce cases rose in the last two years compared to 2010 by 12 per cent, according to the National Centre for Statistics and Information.
Ahmed Al Batashi, a psychological adviser, said the divorce cases slightly increased in 2012 as a result of, what he believed, Omani couples becoming more aware about the importance and role of marriage. "There is an increasing awareness in the country about the widespread increase in the divorce rate and its negative effects. People are becoming aware and receiving counselling from experts, friends and families, which has resulted in a drop in the divorce cases across the country," Al Batashi said.
The GCC countries have taken various legal and social measures to halt the rising trend of divorce. Some are considering implementing new laws that would prevent men from recklessly announcing divorce to their spouses. Another matrimony consultant, Ahmed Al Hajri, said that women are more negatively affected by divorce than their male counterparts.
"Women are still subject to discrimination in divorce cases because of lack of law-enforcement mechanisms to safeguard women's legal rights," he said.
It should be recalled that the Sultanate of Oman had the lowest divorce rate in the GCC region in 2011 and 2012.
Meanwhile, the National Centre for Statistics and Information's statistics showed that the number of marriage cases registered in the country by the Ministry of Justice amounted to roughly 30,000 in 2012.
The North Batinah governorate, with 6,984 cases, topped other governorates in the number of marriage cases filed in the Sultanate, followed by the Muscat governorate with 4,649 cases.
The mass wedding parties such as those in the North Batinah governorate make it easier for nationals to get married because it is cheaper and mostly sponsored by big companies and public donations.