In a worrying trend, the number of couples seeking divorce is on the rise in this conservative city with younger generation, particularly the stress-prone IT professionals, breaking marriages even on trivial issues.
Gone are the days when divorce was largely confined to the higher strata of conservative Chennai and considered a stigma. Now people from the middle class are also approaching courts seeking to annul their marriages, says lawyers and activists.
Collapse of joint family system, economic independence, fast paced lifestyle and ego wars coupled with lack of conflict management skills were often the reasons behind divorces, they say, adding even a wrong choice of shirt or colour of saree can now tear asunder the matrimonial ties.
The number of divorce cases registered in the city family courts had increased to 3,874 in 2007 from 3,374 cases in 2006. Last year, the dowry and divorce cases had crossed the 4,000 mark, family court sources told PTI.
More alarming is the fact that nearly 50 per cent of those seeking divorce are below 35 years of age. About 40 per cent of the divorce cases filed in Chennai was by professionals in the IT/ITES sector and the people from the film industry.
The trend is keeping busy family counsellors and lawyers in patching up the crumbling marriages.
Rajani Nandakumar, a pre-marital counsellor with matrimonial portal Bharat Matrimony.Com, said the main reason for the increase in divorce cases of late was mainly due to less tolerance level among younger generation.
"Now-a-days, when young couples indulge in petty quarrels, they try to bring the past conflicts into the scene. So the misunderstanding aggravates leading to lot of complications in their life", she said.
Expectations were high among both men and women, who belong to this generation. "A growing awareness about their rights is also convincing them to rush to family courts to file cases for separation and divorce, which was not the case earlier," she said.
Nandakumar suggested that like selecting a marriage hall and analysing the horoscope, people should come forward to get pre-marital counselling where they can learn conflict management skills.
Ravi Chandran, a divorce lawyer, said there were instances when couples seek to end their marriage on petty issues. "One of my clients sought divorce because his wife always declined to cook fish."
On reasons why more IT people are going for a divorce early in their married life, he said, as IT field is a brain-taxing competitive job, the professionals get into emotional problems, which reflect on their marital life.