In recent years more and more married couples in India are walking away from their marriages. Court figures and data from crime record bureau reveal that over the past decade, divorce rates have doubled and in some cities even trebled. This trend is evident not just in metropolises but in smaller cities and semi-urban areas as well. It is a reflection of India's changing socio-economic landscape where this phenomenon is not restricted to the affluent, urban populace as it used to be in 1980s.Figures suggest that more people from middle class and lower middle class are opting out of unhappy alliances.
Delhi leads the way registering about 9,000 cases every year, a huge increase from the average 1,000 cases that were registered in the 90s.Kolkata and Chennai have also recorded a rise of 200 % in divorce rates.Kerala has seen a quantum leap of 350%.Punjab and Haryana have seen an increase of 150% in divorce cases.
Incompatibility and adultery are among the most cited reasons by those filing for divorce, a substantive number of young couples. A combination of factors -nuclear family structure, professional ambitions, mismatched expectations and modern life styles is contributing to the increase in the number of couples that decide to part their ways. Youth today do not subscribe to the rigid notions of the sanctity of marriage as an institution.
A significant upshot is that more women are filing petitions for dissolution of marriage something that was unheard of in the 70s and 80s.Women have always had the legal option to walk out of abusive or unhappy marriages in India. But mere legal sanction means little where life is governed by patriarchal social mores. However while women are becoming empowered to take charge of their lives even now only women who are economically independent and have the backing of their families can afford to exercise the divorce option.
Divorce can have negative impact on families especially children who bear the brunt of failed marriages. The problem confronts people all over the world and there is no solution which can make every body happy. It is a reality that calls for us as individuals and as a society to make adjustments to our ideas and expectations of marriage. There is need to have strong support system for people who decide to go for divorce.