Muslim marriages in Indonesia
Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population, and they are served by the religious courts with regards to matters concerning marriage and divorce, inheritance, and property. In 2022, almost two million Muslim marriages took place in Indonesia, including informal registrations. Under Syariah law, Muslims are permitted to marry once they reach sexual maturity. This has led to a widespread practice of forced child marriage in Indonesia. In September 2019, the Indonesian parliament passed a bill to raise the minimum age of marriage for women from 16 years to 19 years.
Financial burden of divorce
Forced marriage was cited as a ground for divorce in 377 cases in 2022. The second-most commonly cited grounds for divorce, however, were financial problems and difficulties. Unfortunately, for many women, the financial difficulties would not end with divorce – in fact, it may just be the beginning. Men are typically the primary breadwinner in Indonesia, leaving many women financially dependent on their husbands. As of 2021, only half of Indonesian women had an account in a financial institution. Meanwhile, custody of the children is usually awarded to the woman after a divorce. This leaves many Indonesian women without financial support, and the additional burden of having children to raise alone.
Despite the decreasing stigma of divorce, many women might still choose to stay in a bad marriage to avoid being put in a financially precarious situation.