How does Nanook of the North OR London OR Divorce Iranian Style confirm or contradict your expectations of what a “documentary” should be? You should focus principally on ONE film but you may refer to other films insofar as they serve your argument.
Family Court Rooms in Iran
The number of Divorces registered in recent years has been on the rise. More people are gaining access to the internet and social media, which is influencing the number of divorces. Similar to many courtrooms across the globe today, the number of divorce cases being filed is on the rise in Iran’s as well simply due to couples being given the opportunity to opt for divorce. In many situations, the couples find themselves incompatible and relationships break apart over time, leading to divorce. This is the same in Iran too, where the number of divorce cases being registered each year is on the rise and observed across all age groups. To understand the divorce process in Iran, the documentary “Divorce Iranian Style” shall be reviewed and important points highlighted (Hosseini, 1999). This will help determine the court's approach towards handling divorce applications and whether those are fair towards both the man and women seeking a divorce. The case study will also touch on social aspects which play out at the family court on a daily basis and determine their effects on the court employees and people attending the divorce proceedings (Shahidian, 2012).
Family Court Rooms in Iran
The documentary has been filmed in an Iranian family courtroom and focuses on the divorce proceeding for several couples falling under different age groups. Each couple has its own reason for requesting divorce thus each case is analysed to determine the actions taken by the court judge and staff with regard to processing divorce proceedings (Bøe, 2015). The family court is made up of three main staff members namely the judge, the court secretary, and file manager. Each plays an important role towards the divorce proceeding as explained below:
The family court judge’s role is to review the divorce request from both the members and determine if they are willing to proceed with the divorce. It is imperative for both members to be willing to proceed with the divorce before any further proceeding can be considered (Donna Lee Bowen, 2002). In situation where both members do agree to file for divorce the man is expected to compensate the women with a marriage gift in form of finances compensation will be calculated based on their husband or families wealth.
The court secretary is responsible for recording the court proceeding and processing any documentation required by the couples to proceed with the divorce proceeding. She often finds herself being approached by desperate wives who are looking to secure a divorce quickly but cannot influence the divorce process (Palmer & Mattar, 2016). She, therefore, can only provide guidance on how to approach the situation next and offers the required paperwork for the proceeding.
Family Court Judge
The case file manager is responsible for filing all proceeding and paperwork related to each divorce case in their respective case files. He is also often found dealing with argumentative couples who are requesting for their paperwork to be filed quickly so as to speed up the process (Bureaucrat, 2004). The filing systems manual thus requiring for the filed to be organized in sequence so as to be easily detectable when required. Most files will require a minimum of one week to be updated and be available for the case.
The documentary helps determine an important point linked to the divorce system in Iran which favours the flea for divorce made by men as opposed to those made by women. Women remain underprivileged in the Iranian family court and have limited number of reasons to file for divorce. Only in situations involving the man’s infertility, abandoning of marriage or marriage to another woman without permission from the first wide are consider processing the divorce proceedings filed by women (Honarbin-Holliday, 2013). In this situation, both the man and women must agree to divorce and medical examinations also performed on the man to prove his infertility before the divorce can be processed. On the other hand, men have a much wider number of reason for which divorce can be files thus demonstrating favour towards the man. In both situations, the Man is expected to provide marriage gift to the women in form of finance as compensation for divorce (Afary, 2009).
Each courthouse has two entrances one for men and another for women. Both entrances are used as security points to ensure people entering the court are not carrying any dangerous weapons and mobile phone to the courthouse (Sarah Ansari, 2014). Mobile phones are strictly banned in the court thus people visiting the courthouse will have to surrender their mobile phones and any weapons before entering the courthouse.
Women entering the courthouse will have to undergo one more requirement which involves being inspected to ensure they are adhering to the court's women’s dress code. The women must wear hijab /headgear and be dressed as per the court dress code (Cronin, 2012). Women will have to remove all makeup worn on their face before entering the courthouse. This is another important point which is limited to women thus demonstrating a bias towards men who are not scrutinized for these factors.
The divorce proceedings are not simple and will require several visits to the courthouse before the final ruling can be made and divorce granted. The court commences by summoning the plaintiff who is asked regarding the reason for filing for divorce (Fathi, 1885). Once the case has been registered the case will require for both the many and women to attend court and testify regarding their divorce. It is imperative that both the man and women agree to a divorce so as to prevent a long court battle. Once agreed the man also need to commit to the amount of compensation he intends on providing to the wife in exchange for a divorce. Women are not required to provide any compensation for divorce which can be directly associated with their inability to work and earn. This is contradictory in the modern work since many modern Iranian women are also establishing business and earn money thus it’s important for the compensation law to be reconsidered to help reduce the expectations for compensation which is likely to also have an effect on the number of divorces being filed (Moghissi, 2016).
The documentary covers three divorce cases involving three couples facing different marital issues and documents how the family court handles the request for a divorce. Each of the cases is unique and differs from the other but each has the similar trend which is used with the hope of resolving the care or granting the divorce (IranDocumentary1, 2013).
This divorce case involved a woman named Macy who has been married for 5 years and unable to bear children. She has filed for divorce on the grounds that she is unhappy and her husband is baron thus she is unable to have any children (Boe, 2015). She has, therefore, file for divorce on these grounds and is expecting the marriage gift from her husband but he is resisting attending court and avoiding divorce so as to not pay the marriage gift. Before proceeding can begin the judge request for his attendance after which the issues for a warrant of arrest and for him to bring to court. The judge has also requested for Macy husband to undergo a fertility test to determine her claim before the divorce can be processed. After struggling in court for several days and to avoid a long court battle, Macy decides to surrender her compensation claim so as it secure a divorce and continue with her life. Only after she surrenders her compensation claim is the case closed quickly delivering relief to both individuals who are both prepared and ready to undergo divorce.
Zeba is a young girl who was forced into an arranged marriage while still in school and is unhappy in her marriage. She is applying for divorce on the grounds that she unhappy and her husband’s inability to give her happiness as well as the desire to return to school and complete her education. She claims she was underage when the marriage took place but the court rule claims a woman is ready for marriage once she has entered puberty (Shahidian, 2002). Similar to Macy this claim is not adequate to file for divorce and the couple are asked to consider reconciling before a divorce proceeding can be initiated. She is also expecting compensation which her husband is unwilling to provide and likely to result in a long court battle. According to Islamic law, the claim related to being underage is not valid since women are ready for marriage as soon as she enters puberty. With no age limitation linked to women marriage, it’s difficult to use this claim as supporting the reason for requesting for divorce. She also claims her husband spends many hours and nights outside the home for which he claims he is a driver and has presented a drivers log as proof. The divorce case is delayed due to the lack of proper reason to file for a divorce thus forcing Zeba to also consider forfeiting her compensation claim so as to be freed from this marriage and secure a formal divorce.
Case File manager
The Jamila Divorce case is related to her husband opting to marry a second without the consent of his first wife. As per Iranian Islamic laws, a man is allowed to marry more than one wife as long as they get consent from the first wife. Failure to secure consent and marry a second with can result in the first wife requesting a divorce and compensation for her time invested towards the marriage. In Jamila’s case, she is totally dissatisfied with her husband’s decision to marry other women and is not willing to consider any other alternative other than divorce (Karim, 2002). The family court requests the couple to give the decision sometime to determine whether it’s their final decision but Jamila is adamant and want the divorce to be processed at any cost. She also opts to forfeit her marriage gift claim so as to secure divorce but the court again requests the couple to reconsider the situation before making a final decision.
Findings and Conclusion
The Iranian family court has been identified to discourage women from filing for divorce by limiting the reasons a women can file for divorce. Men have more options to consider but in most situations, the divorces cases are filed by women. The reason linked to this could be the expectation of compensation from the divorce. This increase in the demands for divorce has also been registered in other nations like India which has given women more rights than men in certain respects which have resulted in a large number of women filing for divorce with the main objective being to secure compensation inform of finances or property (Emery, 2013). With the trend very similar in both countries, it can be considered that a major factor influencing the increase towards divorce claims is compensation since all women from the documentary claim compensation for divorce but are willing to forfeit the compensation for divorce. The rule related to the man only offering compensation is therefore incorrect and requires amendments. The court should be able to analyse both partners and their family background and also request the party requesting divorce to compensate the other. This is likely discouraging women from filing for divorce and allows them to focus on maintaining their marriage and family life. The same has happened among men across the world where many avoid divorce due to the simple fact they would be expected to compensate the women. By making it a rule that the party requesting for divorce be liable to pay compensation the number of divorces is likely to automatically reduce. This is the main objective of every family court which discourages divorce and put more emphasis on the couple resolving their difference with divorce being considered as the last resort to resolve family disputes and difference among couples.
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