SINDHUPALCHOWK, Dec 15: Amid reports of growing number of men seeking divorce across the country after the new civil code came into effect, Sindhupalchowk has not remained an exception in this regard. In the last four months since the code came into effect, 19 men in the district have already filed for divorce. According to the court officials, the number is constantly on the rise.
Earlier, it was not easy for men to get rid of marriage no matter what their level of dissatisfaction with their marital life. Only women could go to the court directly seeking divorce.
According to senior advocate Meera Dhungana, the law earlier favored women because it was assumed that women would try to save marriages till the end unlike men. Women’s economic and social dependency on men would not allow them to take free decision about quitting marriage. However, over the time, things have changed, she remarks.
Marriage laws were revised in view of the fast changing social and economic scenario, where women are growingly becoming economically independent and empowered.
“There are several dimensions of migrant families. Divorce is very common among such couples,” said Lekhnath Poudel, record keeper at Sindhupalchowk District Court. “Since after the new law came into force, men are visiting court to file for divorce. Their number is getting higher each new day.”
Last year, the court had received only two applications for divorce from men. The previous year, it was zero.
“Earlier when we received divorce case filed by men it would have come here through VDC or municipality. If they wanted divorce, men had to file it at the VDC or municipality where they would be given a grace period to resolve their issues. So, it was a lengthy process for them and moreover, the law was so much unfair that the court would hardly decide on their favor ultimately,” he said.
As per the new provisions, the husband can get divorce from wife on the basis of the following grounds - if wife is living away from husband for three consecutive years, if she has taken property as per the law and is living separately, if she has forced husband out of home, if she has seriously beaten or tortured husband, if she has sexual relationship outside of marriage and if she has incurable disease. Women too can seek divorce on similar grounds, said Poudel.
An additional provision is that women can seek divorce when husband attempts forceful sexual intercourse. Such act is regarded as marital rape.
According to Poudel, migrant workers, both men and women, seek divorce also because they re-marry in foreign land.
“This is quite common in cases of both men and women. They go there for work, but in course of time, they develop attachment with other partner there and get married. So, they come here just to get divorce from their previous partner,” he said.
This is the first time men are likely to get divorce even if the wife is not ready for it. Until last year, wife’s consent used to be considered vital.
“In a way, it is justice for men. They would hesitate to file for divorce even if they felt cheated in marriage,” Poudel said.
Meanwhile, advocate Piyush Khanal stated the divorce has to be settled in a better way. Because divorce concerns not only husband and wife but also children in many cases, the wellbeing and rights of children have to be well thought of in the view of the growing cases of divorce, he noted.
“It is not wise to promote divorce, but couples also need a healthy exit if marriage is not really working for them. Here, in between come children and it is important to ensure that they get due space and all means for their healthy development though their parents are not living together,” he added.
Sindhupalchowk is among the districts with high rate of migrant workers.