x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Marriage Fund goes hunting for divorce clues in court records

Fund is granted access to Dubai court records detailing divorce statistics, a decision experts hope will allow a more comprehensive analysis of marital patterns in the Emirates.

DUBAI // The UAE Marriage Fund has been granted access to Dubai court records detailing divorce statistics, a decision experts hope will allow a more comprehensive analysis of marital patterns in the Emirates. The information will be used to conduct research, said Dr Salem al Tunaigi, the director of the fund's grant department, and to ensure that couples who receive grants from the organisation remain married.

"We need the studies for the government and to know how many people were married in the last year," Dr al Tunaigi said. "Also, because of the grants, we need to know if the marriage is going well or not." The fund provides grants of Dh70,000 to Emirati couples who are in financial need as they embark on married life. Of that amount, Dh40,000 is dispensed to the groom when the couple signs the marriage contract, Dr al Tunaigi said, and the other Dh30,000 is given later on. If the couple divorce in the first year of wedlock they are not eligible for the Dh30,000 and the groom is required to return the initial Dh40,000.

"We want to be sure if the couples are going OK or not," Dr al Tunaigi said. "If they are OK, then this is our target, to help them establish a family." The fund already has access to marriage and divorce information from the courts in Abu Dhabi. It is working on similar arrangements with the courts in Ras al Khaimah and Sharjah. "The idea," Dr al Tunaigi said, "is to work in partnerships with the courts so we can conduct studies."

As part of the agreement, which was announced in December, Dubai courts are working to develop specific statistical information requested by the fund, said Mohammed Abdel Rahman, the director of the Dubai courts personal status department. The organisation, which also underwrites mass weddings, was established in 1992 by Sheikh Zayed, the founding President of the UAE. Although there are no official statistics, recent estimates put the divorce rate at more than 30 per cent.

A recent study by the Marriage Fund investigated the main reasons behind divorce. The survey found that "misunderstandings" between spouses were the most common cause of divorce, followed by interference in the relationship by family members. zconstantine@thenational.ae