KOCHI: As Kochi is fast emerging as a cosmopolitan city, the fast and busy lives of its people seem to be affecting their family life. In a worrying sign, the number of divorce petitions filed in the city crossed 3,000 for the first time in a year in 2019.
According to the data from the family court here, the city witnessed 3,122 divorce-related petitions in 2019, an increase of 174 cases from the previous year. The trend seems to be continuing in 2020. In the first 24 days of 2020, a total of 226 divorce petitions were filed before the family court.
In 2018, the divorce petitions totalled 2,948 while in 2017 the number stood at 2,576. On average, 10 divorce-related cases are being filed before the Kochi family court daily.
“It’s for the first time the number of divorce-related petitions filed before the family court here, which has jurisdiction over Kochi city and North Paravur region, crossed the 3,000-mark. There is another family court at Muvattupuzha where around 1,000 divorce cases were filed in 2019. As far as we know, the highest number of divorce petitions were filed before the Kochi family court followed by the family court in Thiruvananthapuram,” an official said.
The Original Petitions (OP) filed before the family court include request for separation and guardianship of children. Apart from that, 454 Matrimonial Case (MC) petitions -- majority of which pertain to return of property, including gold, money, vehicles or compensation -- were also filed in Kochi.
“Regarding the nature of divorce cases here, it is mostly youngsters who approach the court for separation. We had instances in which a couple filed divorce petition after living together for barely 24 hours.
Interestingly, most of the couples are highly educated and hail from well-heeled families. We also get cases in which couples as old as 75 seek divorce. In such cases, most of them may have been living separately for several years. It’s to resolve the issue of dividing property among children that they approach the court for legal separation,” an official said.
Open arguments over custody of children and return of property are frequent occurrences outside family court. However, majority of couples opt for mutual separation. In such cases, it takes around seven months for the divorce to be granted. In other cases, it takes longer—more than a year.
Jesna Sivasankar, a city-based psychologist, said divorce cases are on the rise among doctors and those working in the IT sector.“The lack of emotional connect between couples is a major factor behind the crumbling family life. Even youngsters are not getting training in life skills, which should be provided mainly by parents, and they find it impossibly difficult to adjust to a new environment. Also, busy couples barely have time for each other,” she said.
RISE IN PETITIONS
Around 10 per cent rise in the number of divorce-related petitions filed before the family court
10 cases are filed daily on an average
For the first time, more than 3,000 divorce-related petitions filed before the family court in Kochi
Most cases filed in Kochi
Celebrity divorces were rare in 2019
Kochi: The family court here often draws attention due to the number of divorces involving people from Mollywood. However, in 2019, the number of celebrity divorces were only a few. According to the court records, only two popular actresses filed divorce petitions before the family court here.
Besides, a male and a female actor working in television also sought divorce. “The highest number of celebrity divorce cases are filed before the family court here as most of them reside here. There was a decline in the number of divorce cases involving those from the film industry in 2019,” an official said.