Can ‘experimental marriage’ lower divorce price in Egypt?

Dec 28, 2020

While on the verge of breaking apart along with her fiance, Rawda Hassan heard a few new initiative known as “experimental marriage.” She thought this initiative might give a kiss of life to her relationship.

“I’ve been engaged for two years and I’m still not sure if I’m ready for marriage. We always quarrel about many issues; that’s why I’m always afraid. But after my friend told me about the initiative, I guess I’ll think about it,” Hassan, 26, advised Al-Monitor.

The initiative, titled “Experimental Marriage,” was launched by Egyptian lawyer Ahmed Mahran to assist {couples} keep away from early divorce. Yet it has induced an uproar in Egypt.

The initiative consists of including to the peculiar marriage certificates a civil settlement contract with articles written and agreed on by the couple. It offers them the suitable to finish the wedding when any of them break the situations listed of their contract. The one who breaks the rules pays all of the monetary rights for the opposite.

“I’m a specialist in women and family legal cases, and I find that most reasons for divorce are always very trivial. Some newlywed couples don’t show any responsibility and don’t understand the values of family,” Mahran, who can be the supervisor of the Cairo Center for Legal and Political Studies, advised Al-Monitor.

According to a 2018 report by Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, one-fifth of marriages in Egypt finish in divorce annually; 40% of divorces happen inside the first 5 years of marriage.

“We have about 8 million divorced women, and that’s a huge number. That’s why I thought about this solution to decrease the divorce rate in Egypt,” Mahran stated.

“Women want to get divorced, but men are always refusing it because they have to pay a lot for women for livelihood (alimony) afterward,” Mahran stated.

According to the lawyer, monetary losses after divorce have a big impression on the couple’s choices.

“Some couples, when they know how much money they will lose after divorce, take a step back and decide to find other solutions for their marriage life instead of divorce,” he defined. 

According to research by the Cairo Center for Legal and Political Studies, most divorce circumstances occur amongst newlywed {couples} who divorce throughout their first six months to 1 yr of marriage.

“With our initiative, we oblige the couple to stick to the rules they already put to avoid divorce and also avoid paying lots of money,” Mahran stated.

“In the contract, we identify — with the couple — the problems that they may face in the future and agree on the solutions and write this in the contract, which will shape their marriage life. We ask them to follow the contract rules that they added for at least three years or more (as they list in the contract) as a way to help them not to be fragile when facing early problems that usually happen during the first years of marriage,” Mahran defined.

“We hope that after they spend over three years with each other, they understand each other better or even become parents for a child and the problems will be minimized then,” he added.

The situations {couples} put within the contract could embody regardless of the couple needs. A spouse can demand that her husband not marry one other girl nor pressure her to depart her job, and that he can not prohibit her from touring alone. A husband can ask that his spouse not have social media accounts or a job, they usually each can ask for situations relating to youngster custody within the occasion they divorce.

In peculiar circumstances, if a lady needs a divorce and her husband refuses, she goes to court docket and spends at the least 4 to seven years to get a few of her rights. But with this contract, she’s going to get her rights a lot sooner, since such circumstances would have already been lined by the couple, in accordance with Mahran.

Although the initiative could assist {couples} guarantee a wholesome relationship, Islamic students reject it and describe it as in opposition to the traditions of Islam. This is as a result of the contract could give the implication that there’s an “intention for divorce.”

Islamic students additionally argue that these marriages are invalid as a result of they’re like a mut’ah marriage, or a pleasure marriage.

“Islamic scholars who attack the idea in the media don’t understand the details, so they should not give an opinion about the initiative,” stated Mahran, who added that he has written about 50 contracts for 50 {couples} since he launched the initiative a number of weeks in the past. He stated that married individuals may also signal a contract for his or her relationship to enhance it.

Samia Khedr, professor of sociology at Ain Shams University, advised Al-Monitor this contract might make it potential for {couples} to govern one another.

“In the ordinary marriage certificate, the couple can write whatever they want regarding their rights and duties, so the initiative is not a new thing; it is just propaganda that may lead the couple to more problems,” stated Khedr.

“Marriage should be built on love and compassion, not contracts that can even add difficulties to marriage,” she added.

Khedr stated there must be campaigns that assist {couples} know easy methods to deal with one another and respect the sacred relation of marriage.

“We should also think about easing marriages to help more people get married. Family relationships should be secured to make our country secured,” she added.

While Hassan is considering becoming a member of the wedding “experimentalists,” Nesma Ahmed, 32, an single artwork instructor, has one other opinion.

“If there is love in the first place, we won’t seek a contract to regulate our lives. What a stress to live under rules everywhere,” Ahmed advised Al-Monitor.