Zimbabwe recorded a 100 percent increase in divorce cases in 2022, statistics from the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) show.
In 2020, 1 117 couples filed for divorce and the figure went up to 1 351 in 2021.
In 2022, the figure doubled to 2 735 cases against 13 436 recorded marriages.
This means that twenty (20) percent or one in five Zimbabwean marriages are likely to end in divorce.
Of the 2 735 divorce cases filed last year at the High Court in Bulawayo, Masvingo, Harare, Mutare and Chinhoyi, 1 561 were completed.
Bulawayo recorded 613, Harare 1 731, Masvingo 145, Mutare 156 and Chinhoyi 90 divorce matters.
Family lawyer Shepherd Chingarande told the Chronicle that one of the factors pushing up the divorce rate is that some people marry for the wrong reasons. He said:
People marry for the wrong reasons and that is how many get it all wrong. Some are under pressure from parents and friends based on the biological clock and they just marry whoever comes into their lives first.
Compatibility is key and when two do not have anything in common after sex, the relationship is likely to end in divorce.
Others ignore red flags with the hope that marriage can change a person and upon disappointment, they opt out.
Marriage at a young age or lack of skills to deal with tough situations can be stressful
Chingarande cited domestic violence and addictions related to drug abuse as the other factors behind the breakdown of marriages. He added:
Infidelity or adultery, ethnic differences and even high expectations driven by social media can also be another source of friction leading to divorce.
Psychologist Jacqueline Nkomo said that though the breakdown in marriages often comes with several consequences for the couple, children, extended family and community, in some instances, divorce is necessary. She said:
Although divorce is not commendable, sometimes it’s necessary to deliver abused spouses from toxic relationships.
However, whenever people choose to go separate ways they must go through counselling and be equipped with coping strategies to handle after effects which are more negative than positive.
Divorce disturbs the order of what has become normal to us as humans and once two people separate, children and family members suffer.
Children whose parents divorce also battle low self-esteem and may develop depression coupled with anxiety emanating from the changes that the development brings into their social, emotional and sometimes financial lives.