The number of collapsed marriages in Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city exploded in 2020 as families weathered the economic and personal consequences of COVID-19.
Available data shows that 15,956 marriages were dissolved as restrictive measures and tight lockdowns meant families were in close contact like never before, likely prompting the surge in cases.
A large swath of the divorce cases were proposed by mutual consent of both spouses, which helped expedite cases. Local courts chose to provide specific “divorce contracts” to facilitate the speedy processing of cases where both spouses agreed to end their marriage.
The contracts set predetermined alimony, custody and housing allotments which sped up the process.
King Mohammed VI’s Prosecutor Malika Achkoura announced that the local judiciary had been able to decide on 99.3% of consensual cases, avoiding a backlog amid the spike in the number of divorces.
In 2019, roughly half of all divorce cases in Casablanca had been requested by mutual consent. That number rose significantly, with a remarkable 97% of divorces in 2020 stemming from consensual agreements to sever ties between spouses.
Local courts had managed to process 65% of all cases, settling more than 10,000 disputes between former marriage partners
Royal prosecutor Achkoura attributed the remarkable change to the availability of an expedite process for consensual divorce cases that was instituted because of the COVID-19 epidemic that heavily hit the Casablanca region.
During the region’s lockdowns and quarantine efforts, the courts continued to collaborate in order to prevent cases from pilling up.
Unfortunately COVID-19 restrictions also led to an increase in domestic abuse worldwide.
In Casablanca this resulted in 50 divorce cases due to physical abuse, two cases of financial neglect and 101 cases where the husband had abandoned his family.
Another remarkable statistic showed that 268 marriages were dissolved before they were consummated.
in 2019, the High Commission for Planning (HCP) published a report showing that single living was on the rise in Morocco.
The report, “Population and development in Morocco,” emphasized that marriage had been in a continuous decline in Morocco in recent years.