When Divorce Becomes the Last Resort
Indonesia is a country that still esteems highly its oriental cultural roots, where
marriage is considered as something sacred. However, the rate of divorce cases
arbitrated in Religious Courts (Pengadilan Agama) throughout Indonesia cannot be
considered as insignificant. Divorce cases in Aceh demonstrate that there are couples
who submit divorce applications to the court in just months after their marriage, due
to disharmony in their newly formed families.
When someone decides to marry, the decision is taken with a long-term view of
maintaining their life because marriage is often considered as a factor that could
perfect one’s life. Nevertheless, the number of marriages that end up in court for
is not small. Although permissible, divorce is not something
recommended by religion, particularly for Islam that considers divorce as a last resort.
Divorce rates in areas that have been influenced by modernization tend to show a
growing trend. In the city of Banda Aceh, for instance, since 2005 the divorce rate has
shown a progressive increase. Many reasons are put forward by couples submitting
Basri, S.H., a Panitera Muda Hukum (Junior Clerk of Court) in the Mahkamah
Syar'iyah (Islamic Court) in Banda Aceh City, maintains that from the cases arbitrated
at the Court it shows that disharmony in the family (9 cases) was the dominant
reason for divorce applications lodged at Banda Aceh Mahmakah Syar’iyah in June
2008. Other reasons cited for divorce applications included polygamy (2 cases), moral
crisis (1 case), violence (1 case), involvement of a third party (1 case), and
irresponsibility on the part of the spouses (3 cases).
Data from the Mahkamah Syar’iyah show that the number of law suits and divorce
applications has increased, as can be portrayed in the following table: