Leading cause of divorce: Alcoholism and poverty

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  • Mar 20,2018
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Some 40 couples marry and 10 couples divorce in Mongolia on average a day. Head of the Authority for Family, Child and Youth Development’s Development Department N.Ulziikhutga pointed out that the most common reasons for divorce are financial problems, unemployment, alcoholism, domestic violence, early marriage, and impatience. Judge of Bayanzurkh District Court T.Bolormaa emphasized that complaints for divorce make up of nearly 10 percent of all complaints submitted to the court. She stated that the court ruled that after divorce, a father is obligated to give child care expenses from his monthly wage to provide his children a healthy living environment outlined in Mongolian laws to fulfill a father’s responsibility, but in reality, most of divorced fathers don’t give their children monthly payments due to unemployment, or small wage. As many young couples get married without realizing that marriage is a big responsibility, they give up at the first sign of troubles in life and choose to end their marriage, leaving many children to become victims of failed marriages. Seniors advise that since everyone faces challenges, it is important for young couples to form a strong bond and build a resilience to life’s challenges by strengthening mutual understanding and trust. Psychologist T.Tungalag stated that the Ministry of Education has to make a request to include a subject about marriage and its responsibilities in the list of compulsory subjects for high school students to the government, and added that divorce rate amongst young couples will keep rising if young people don’t learn more about the responsibilities of marriage. According to the National Statistical Office, there were 81,557 single mothers in Mongolia in 2012; 81,741 in 2013; 80,838 in 2014; 78,606 in 2015; 77,717 in 2016; and 76,893 in 2017. As of February 28, there were 6,492 single mothers with five or more children and 44,606 single mothers with three or four children nationwide. Many divorced mothers are unemployed and living in rented houses, and they are making a living with the state welfare for their children and a welfare for single mothers, which has been provided since January. A single mother residing in Khoroo No.9 of Chingeltei District said, “I and my husband moved to Ulaanbaatar with our three children from my soum seven years ago to look for a better life because we lost our livestock during the 2010 dzud. Unfortunately, Ulaanbaatar was different from what we expected, and my husband and I could not find a job for many months, and luckily, my older sister who lived in Ulaanbaatar helped us live, and finally my husband started working for a tax company as a driver but his job was tough for him because of low salary and long hours driving.This is why he left that job. After leaving the job, he found an assistant’s job at an auto repair center, but he used to drink alcohol every day and he abused us almost every day.” The lady said that as her ex husband is still not giving money to his children despite the court’s ruling that he must provide their children with monthly payment, she relies on state welfare to provide for her children. Alcohol abuse in low-income Mongolian families has an overarching role in their divorce rate as it also leads to domestic violence. To address this issue, a new law to combating domestic violence was passed last year, but some officials of law enforcement agencies note that the implementation of this law is ineffective against domestic violence spurred by alcoholism.  Many say that the legislature and government need to take stricter measures to battle alcohol addiction, but this has had strong oppositions from legislators with interests in the alcoholic beverage business. Spokesperson of the National Policy Agency M.Munkhshur reported that the agency received 430 calls regarding domestic violence by men on March 8, International Women’s Day. An official of the General Executive Agency of Court Decision goes to over 30 different homes a day to meet with men who don’t fulfill their responsibilities that give their children a monthly payment, but most of them are not living in their permanent address, or they have no money due to unemployment and alcoholism. Vice Head of the Mongolian Women Fund NGO B.Erdenechimeg pointed out that the fund is supporting some single mothers to provide jobs for them and address challenges facing them by collaborating with government agencies, private companies and commercial banks. She noted that promoting their efforts and attempts being made by the single mothers through appropriate government policy, and public and private financial assistance is of great importance to encouraging them, especially women who want to open their own business or make their lives better. She added that single mothers who are being supported by the fund and its other partners are actively working to not break their sponsors’ trust. To reduce the number of single mothers, the government should focus on eliminating the most common reasons for divorce. N.Ulziikhutga noted that under an instruction from the government, since January, the Authority for Family, Child and Youth Development is carrying out a program that will support single mothers across the country and give counsel to some couples who are facing relationship problems. Under the program, officials of the authority and volunteers started meeting with single mothers and some couples in need of support to listen to their challenges and find effective ways to resolve their problems. She emphasized that the government expects to see better outcomes for divorce rate and promotion of single mothers in the near future.