Saudi Arabia: Driving licence 'needed to get married'

Woman walks past wedding dresses in Saudi shop The Saudi authorities are concerned about a rising divorce rate

Saudi Arabia may start requiring people to prove they have a driving licence as a condition for getting married, apparently in order to limit the rising number of divorces.

Under plans being studied by the kingdom's justice ministry, possession of a driving licence could become a prerequisite for finalising a marriage contract, the Arab News daily reports. Couples may also be asked to attend mandatory "marriage training" before tying the knot.

Family consultant Abdulsalam al-Saqbai says the idea came about after a previous attempt to stem divorces - a government medical test to check the couple's health and fitness - didn't work out. Saqbai says there turned out to be no correlation between the test results and divorce and separation rates.

The Saudi authorities say the divorce rate has risen sharply in recent years, and are worried about the impact on the kingdom. Government statistics quoted by the Saudi media suggest most divorces are blamed on the husband's refusal to let the wife continue to work after marriage, or on issues relating the husbands' control of his wife's salary.

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