Divorce in Mauritania: The joyous jamboree of breaking the chains

Divorce in Mauritania: The joyous jamboree of breaking the chains

When it comes to marriage, there’s a lot to celebrate. After all, getting married is the beginning of many milestones: buying a home, having a baby, baby's first steps, etc. As family law attorneys in Washington State, we witness a different kind of milestone more often than happy milestones: divorce. Yes, divorce is a milestone too. That said, many people tend to associate it with sorrow rather than joy. Mauritanians, in particular, have a wildly different perspective — they see divorce as a time to party.

No man, no cry

While getting divorced is often considered one of the saddest and most devastating events in many countries, including the United States, Mauritanian women hold a remarkably different view.

Part of the reason why divorce is seen as devastating can be attributed to the costs involved, including legal fees, settlement agreements, and alimony. Mauritanians, in contrast, appear to approach divorce with a more nonchalant attitude. In Mauritanian society, getting divorced is as normal as getting a facial or picking up the kids from school. They also see it as a cause for celebration, holding divorce parties where attendees eat, drink, and make merry.

And why wouldn’t they? For Mauritanian women, being divorced means they’re back in the dating pool. For them, the freedom that comes from being separated from someone who no longer gives them joy is worth it.

While numerous other cultures often view divorce with a sense of shame, Mauritanian divorcees enthusiastically share their divorce announcements and celebrations on social media, such as Snapchat. This is the kind of positivity the world needs in increasingly bleak times.

A career in matrimony

Note that the concept of celebrating one’s divorce isn’t foreign to certain women in Hollywood who seem to know the joys of separation. Take Jennifer Lopez, for instance. JLo appears to enjoy the whirlwind cycle of getting engaged, marrying, and divorcing, so much so that she seems to have no trouble going through it several times.

We kid, but we genuinely believe that making a career out of getting married and then getting divorced isn’t exclusive to the West African nation of Mauritania.

Numerous celebs have, in fact, remarried several times, including Pamela Anderson, Elizabeth Taylor, Larry King, and Liza Minnelli, to name a few. While celebs arguably divorce with ease because of their vast resources, Mauritanians divorce just as easily, seemingly without requiring the considerable resources of Hollywood stars.

But enough talk about Hollywood stars. Divorce in Mauritania presents a fascinating and complex picture that deserves more than a simple yes or no regarding the ease of divorce based on its Muslim identity. While Islamic law influences family law in Mauritania, the country also has its own codified legal system that sets specific procedures and grounds for divorce for both men and women.

Besides that, Mauritanian women have strong “matriarchal tendencies.” In other words, the women of Mauritania have enough agency to challenge the stigma associated with divorce. So free are Mauritanian women that they’re even able to pursue a “matrimonial career.”

Related reading: Celebrities who have more divorces than Ross Gellar

Divorced is desirable

Throughout history, female divorcees have often been depicted as melancholic figures, seemingly of lesser worth compared to those who have not been divorced. Unfortunately, this prevailing image tends to endure. There are exceptions, of course, such as when you write a bestselling book about your own divorce and casting Julia Roberts to portray your divorced self in the movie adaptation.

Divorced women in Mauritania, by contrast, are said to be desirable, as untying the knot increases their value. This is not to suggest that divorced women in other parts of the world can’t be desirable. The main difference between Mauritanians and women in other countries is that the former are much more open to divorce, especially considering that Mauritania has traditional customs around first marriages in which parents choose the groom and marry their daughters off.

The crucial takeaway here is that young Mauritanian women who marry young and subsequently divorce are by no means considered damaged goods. The parties they host to mark their singlehood serve as evidence that, when it comes to divorcing and reveling in it, they are doing it right.

If you need legal representation for your family law case in Washington State, we are the team to call.