Adultery and desertion of partners continue to rank as major factors in the increase in divorce cases, so far at 986 this year, private legal practitioners say.
Thabiso Tafila, partner at Minchin & Kelly Attorneys, says living apart for more than two years and the decline in morality are other influences in the rising number of wrecked marriages.
“There is no stigmatization of adultery and therefore there is no retribution,” said Tafila. “The society is so permissive and adultery charges are also affordable to a lot of people.”
Raising concern about youth marriages breaking down, he said a lot of people get married for the wrong reasons ÔÇô especially those who go into it for financial gain.
The Matrimonial Clause Act 29: 06 of Laws of Botswana, which governs divorce, states that the sole ground for divorce is when the marriage relationship between the spouses is found intolerable.
Attorneys like Tafila observe that unreasonable behavior in marriage has been the leading ground of divorce in the country for a very long time.
Also, social and cultural barriers are still some of the major factors leading to the high divorce rate in Botswana.
Three out of every five women experience violence in their lifetime. It is an example of a complex and challenging issue in the marriage setup, lawyers say.
The Northern and Southern High Courts have already registered 986 divorce cases this year.
Information from the Lobatse High Court, Civil 2 Registry Matrimonial cases reveals 679 registered cases from January to October 2010. The most affected age group is that from the mid-thirties to 40.
While Botswana’s divorce rate has gone up, the country has been experiencing a declining marriage rate, at 18 percent.
The Central Statistics Office census indicates that women form the overwhelming majority of the divorced ÔÇô 86 percent compared to 14 percent of all men. The analysis data notes that more than 50 percent of the female population over 65 years was widowed compared to only 10 percent of all males.
Civil 2 Registry at the Francistown High Court has so far registered 307 matrimonial cases. A comparison of the last two years shows that 2009 saw 288 registered marriages while the previous year had a higher rate at 334.