Divorce is increasing in Bangladesh, 1 divorce in 40 minutes in Dhaka

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By Mir Afroz Zaman,

The number of family breakups in Bangladesh is increasing day by day.

The number of divorces is highest in the capital. Last year, 1 divorce took place every 40 minutes

in Dhaka. Separation is increasing outside Dhaka also.

Women are filing for divorce more. Self-respecting women seek release from torture. Settlements after filing for divorce are very low—under 5 percent. This picture of divorce was found by analyzing the data of the two city corporations and the district registrar’s office in Dhaka.

The Muslim Family Act of 1961 is still in force in matters of divorce. According to this law, the application for divorce in the capital has to be sent to the mayor’s office of the two city corporations

of Dhaka. The application is first registered there. The application is sent from the address where

the wife originally resides to the regional office.

According to data from the mayor’s office of two cities in Dhaka, a total of 13,288 divorce applications were received in 2022. Among them, 7 thousand 698 in South City Corporation, 5 thousand 590 in North City. According to this, about 37 marriages are breaking up in the capital every day, that is, 1 divorce is happening every 40 minutes. And the number of applications in January and February of this year is 2 thousand 488.

In 2020 and 2021, the number of divorce applications in the capital was more than 12 thousand. According to the data of the mayor’s office of the two cities of Dhaka, 12 thousand 513 and 14 thousand 659 applications have been submitted in these two years respectively. 52 thousand 964 divorces took place in the last four years.

The fact that divorce has been increasing over the years can also be seen in Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) data. Increasingly among educated couples. According to BBS’s 2021 ‘Bangladesh Sample Vital Statistics’ report, the divorce rate has been on the rise for 15 years. Most in Rajshahi division, less in Sylhet.

When a divorce petition is filed, the authority sends a compromise notice to both the petitioner and the respondent. If there is no agreement between the two parties, the authority has no further responsibility. A divorce becomes effective if neither party compromises or withdraws the petition within 90 days of filing.

Regional Executive Officers are responsible authorities in this regard in the City Corporation area. They sent a compromise notice. 5 thousand 590 people applied for divorce in Dhaka North City Corporation last year. Only 128 were compromised. Compromise is like 2 percent compared to application.

City Corporation officials say that in most cases the husband or wife finalizes the decision and

applies for divorce. Spouse or husband—Notice of an application usually does not appear on the other side. Even if the two sides never come, there is no compromise. In most cases, divorce becomes effective after 90 days.

According to the data of the two city corporations, it is seen that more divorce applications are

coming from the wives. About 7 out of every 10 applications are made by the wife.

In 2022, a total of 7,698 divorces took place in Dhaka South City Corporation. Of these, wives

applied for 5,383, which is 70 percent of the total applications. The picture in Dhaka North is

also the same. In 2022, 65 percent of divorce petitions there were from women.

Officials of the two city corporations say that earlier the society’s attitude towards divorced women was very hostile. Even her own family did not want to give shelter to her daughter. Now the awareness has increased. The family is reaching out to the girl to save her from the torture of family life. Self-esteem of women increased with financial independence.

Law and Arbitration Center (ASAC) advises many aspiring divorcees. ASK director Neena Goswami told UNI that majority of married girls are victims of physical and mental abuse in their husband’s family. When the back is against the wall due to constant abuse, there is no other option but to decide on divorce. Among them, those who are educated and self-respecting, can easily take the decision of divorce.

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