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Divorce rate up in SVG

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The increasing rate of divorce in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is threatening the nuclear family structure.

Statistics show that between 1990 and 1999, there were 913 applications made to the High Court for the dissolution of marriages, an increase of 241 over the previous decade.{{more}}

Given the present trend of an average of 125 to 130 applications per year, projections are that by 2009 there could be another 1300 such cases.

And already for the first three months of this year, another 47 applications have been forwarded to the High Court to take the procedural legal course.

Chief Statistician at the Ministry of Planning, Selwyn Allen, said that while the figures may seem alarming, the issue of “broken families” is worse than interpreted from the data.

Allen said that his department is aware of several marriages that have been ruptured, but the parties have decided to go their separate ways instead of using the court as their final course for nullification.

This trend of a spiralling divorce rate becomes more of a concern as, according to Florry Leach Database Programmer at the High Court, “once the parties make their applications, there is hardly reconciliation between them.”

He said based on recent evidence many couples who have been living apart for many years are coming forward to have their marriages dissolved.

Leach said that because of the nature of divorce cases and the processes involved an average of about 60 cases become “absolute granted” each year.

Leach said that his department has sought for the past four years to pinpoint the reasons for persons wanting divorce.

He listed the main reasons as “intolerable behaviour, adultery, living apart and desertion” as the more popular.

Leach disclosed that unlike several years ago, when mainly females applied for divorce, recently, “more men are coming forward”.

He said that many persons are not using the court for fear of the expenses involved and that they may not get the justice sought.

But while the data show increases in divorce applications, marriages over the past five years have leveled off to about 500 per year. Based on data, divorcees account for about 17 percent of the yearly marriages, with more divorced men choosing to remarry.

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