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Marriage and Family

12 Aug, 2021
Topic: Religion and Community
Intended Audience
Visitor: Student, Tourist, Business Owner
Citizen: Parent, Business Owner, Employee
Resident: Parent, Employee

Marriage and Family

Muslim Marriages are performed at the Sharia Court. You must provide two witnesses for the marriage. 

Qatari men who wish to marry non-Qatari women are required to receive permission from the Minister of Interior.

There is no civil marriage for non-Muslims. Some embassies and churches can perform marriages for non-Qataris. Please contact your country's embassy for more information. 

Premarital health screenings are required for all couples planning to get married in Qatar. Qataris must also attend a series of pre-marriage counseling and education programs on the obligations of marriage and importance of family formation in order to receive the state-granted Marriage Fund.

Trends

Following a trend that has become common in many developed countries, more and more Qatari citizens are waiting longer to get married. According to a 2011 report released by the Social and Economical Survey Research Institute (SESRI) at Qatar University, about two-thirds of women either marry late or never get married. Contributing factors include improved education for women and greater female participation in the workforce.

The average age gap between bride and groom ranges from five years to 2-3 years. Family size is also getting smaller. The fertility rate has dropped from 5.7 per woman in 1990 to 3.9 in 2009, and reached 2.8 in 2021. 

The number of divorce cases per 1000 married Qataris witnessed a decline from 11.4% for males and 9.5% for females in 2010 to 7.9% for males and 6.3 for females in 2019, according to the annual bulletin of vital statistics issued by the Qatar Planning and Statistics Authority.

Strengthening Family Cohesion

Strengthening family cohesion is one of the main goals of the Second National Development Strategy 2018-2022. The family is the basis of Qatari society and the foundation of its social structure. The government supports programs that:

  • Strengthen the Qatari family as a pillar of society.
  • Strengthen parental roles and reduce dependence on domestic workers.
  • Reduce the incidence of domestic violence and protect and support families affected by it.
  • Provide support systems for families with special circumstances.
  • Reduce economic and social vulnerability and improve the financial management of Qatari families.
  • Increase children well-being, children welfare and protection.
  • Improve support for working families, particularly for women.
  • Increase the number of women in leadership and decision-making positions while reducing the stereotyping of women’s roles and responsibilities.

Divorce

Marriage counseling and increased support for divercees are part of Qatar's national efforts in reducing the divorce rate. The government aims to reduce the number of Qatar couples seeking divorce before consummation by 20% and after consummation by 40% by 2016. Actions taken in this regard are as following: 

  • Expanding the social safety net for those in need of extra help.
  • Making pre-marriage counseling programs a prerequisite for receipt of the Marriage Fund.
  • Expanding services provided by the Family Consulting Center.

For more information, download a copy of the Family Law No. (22) of 2006.

Population: Vital Statistics and General Ratio

A population bulletin, Sukkan Bulletin, is issued on a quarterly basis by the Permanent Population Committee, to highlight the population condition in the State of Qatar and the endeavors exerted towards improving the lifestyle of the population – whether citizens or residents – in Qatar. This includes statistics and updates on age structure, gender ratio, the progress made towards realizing the Population Policy 2017-2022, among many other useful information.

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