According to Brunei Darussalam Statistical Yearbook (BDSYB) for 2011, which was released last week, marriages lasting 10 to 14 years have consistently topped the divorce rates over the past 5 years. Divorce rates in the country continue to rise among Muslim couples who have been married for 10 to 14 years.
Citing figures from the State Judiciary Department at the Prime Minister's Office, the report indicated that Muslim couples who have been married for more than a decade are up to 5 times more likely to end in divorce. According to the Minister of Religious Affairs, the common causes of divorce were irreconcilable differences, followed by neglecting responsibilities and providing nafkah (sustenance). Another leading cause cited was neglecting one's responsibilities and nafkah.
Other reasons for divorce in the country which included infidelity, violence, absent spouse or foreign spouse not returning from the country of origin, polygamy, drug abuse and spouse in detention or prison. In a move to tackle divorce rates, YB Pg Dato Dr Hj Muhammad said the ministry regularly conducts talks on family institutions for civil servants and new converts. Other initiatives include pre-marriage courses for future brides and grooms that are held twice a week. Since July, the content of the courses have been extended to cover topics on health and household financial management.