Lawmakers suggest this as a way of dealing with increased divorce rates " />

Prenuptial contracts may become mandatory in Azerbaijan

Lawmakers suggest this as a way of dealing with increased divorce rates

Sadagat Valiyev, an Azerbaijani MP, has proposed to introduce mandatory prenuptial contracts.

Should the initiative pass through the agenda and reading stages in Parliament, and the President signs the corresponding decree, then the amendments will be introduced to the Family Code. “If this contract is made mandatory, the divorce rate will drop significantly,” said Valiyev. The divorce rate has been increasing in Azerbaijan year after year, which according to the MP is due to a ‘lack of responsibility’.

Eldar Zeynalov, Director of the Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan, believes that the practice of concluding prenuptial contracts may take root in Azerbaijan.

“When you come to think of it, something similar already has been practiced in Azerbaijan, though we’ve found it to be offensive. For example, it has been manifested in the ‘Kalim’(bridewealth), i.e. public inventory of the bride’s dowry. Sharia law also provides for prenuptial contracts. At the same time, the bride should be paid compensation (mahr), which is stipulated in advance. Compensation is also envisaged in case of divorce at the wife’s initiative,” he said.

“In fact, the prenuptial contracts that are concluded in Muslim countries like Iran, if properly drawn up by the parties, can remove the majority of mutual claims. Not so long ago there were precedents in our neighboring countries that can respond to the myth about prenuptial contracts being a recent European invention,” Zeynalov said in an interview with the ‘Echo’ newspaper.

Divorce rates are increasing in Azerbaijan. According to official data provided by the State Statistics Committee, crude marriage and divorce rates in 2010 were 8.9 marriages and 1 divorce per 1 000 people, whereas in 2016 there were 6.9 marriages and 1.4 divorces per 1 000 people. In other words, the divorce rate increased by 40%. No data is available for the end of 2017 as yet, but the divorce rate for the last eight months of 2017 had already reached 1.5 per 1 000 people.

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