The young are fast becoming upwardly mobile and rich in the Millennium City of Gurgaon but the economic prosperity seems to have come with a price — their married life is falling apart. Over the past five years, the number of divorce cases filed in the family court here has doubled — and most of them are young couples. The reasons range from ego to stress to professional competition.
Family counsellors and lawyers say the trend may play havoc with the institution of marriage. “There was a time when I used to get about 30 cases a month. But today I see 60-70 cases a month,” said Dr Gitanjali Sharma, a city-based marriage and family counsellor who has been in this field for the past 16 years.
Of the 25 matrimonial dispute cases registered every month at the mediation and conciliation centre (MCC) in Gurgaon, more than 10 are divorce petitions. “At least two cases settle for a divorce every month. Most of these successful divorces are by mutual consent,” said Harish Bharadwaj, advocate and mediator at MCC.
Established in 2010 in the city, the MCC is an alternative resolution mechanism wherein the mediator (a legal practitioner) makes the parties sit across the table and helps them resolve issues amicably and cuts down the pendency of cases. The mechanism is particularly useful in cases of matrimonial discord, alimony, divorce and compensation.
Most of the couples filing a divorce petition in the family court at Gurgaon’s Rajiv Chowk are working professionals in the age group of 25-35 years. Experts say divorces are increasing due to frequent ego clashes and work stress.
“Corporate culture demands long working hours and increases stress levels in young people. Also, there is professional competition among the spouses,” said Ritu Dhingra, a psychologist and counsellor.
In another stunning revelation, 70% of the total divorce cases are filed by husbands. “In the corporate world, a man fails to give sufficient time to his family. This directly affects his relationship with wife. Also, husbands want to save their skin from other allegations,” said Dhingra.
Almost 80% of divorce cases come from new Gurgaon areas, which have several posh localities. All these cases are of mutual consent, wherein either the wife has admitted to an extra-marital affair or there is severe parenting conflict.
A ‘progressive’ individual culture is also responsible for the upward trend. Spouses are no more dependent on each other, financially. Counsellors believe that this over-independence leads to break-ups in the first five years of marriage.
Also, ego plays a major role. Lawyers dealing with such cases say couples with irrevocable differences prefer divorce by mutual consent as it goes a long way in saving time and money.
“It’s easy for couples to get out of relationship in the first five years of their marriage. There is a high sense of intolerance and immaturity among young couples these days. It is the modern culture and materialistic attitude of people that has to be blamed,” said Sharma.
Another reason for divorce in Gurgaon is rising cases of domestic violence. Most of these cases come from old Gurgaon, where the wife is a victim of physical abuse. They are usually contested and take longer to reach a settlement.
“These cases are either of domestic violence or maintenance issues. And it is the wife who usually files for the divorce,” said Bharadwaj.
Infidelity ended their marriage
Dhruv’s life turned upside down when he discovered his 33-year-old wife (Reshma) was cheating on him. Residents of a posh condominium in New Gurgaon, the couple has two children.
The husband is placed at a senior position in an MNC while the woman is a home-maker. Dhruv filed for divorce seven months ago and the court recently granted the same. The 10-year-old love marriage has come to an end, but not without repercussions. The younger child has turned aggressive and has become a bully at school while the elder one has retreated into a shell.
(Names changed on request)