JAD CHAABAN The economics of civil marriage March 1, 2013 Autonomy: Marriage is the only means to have “legal” sex and start a family in Lebanon.

The expensive costs of marriage and economic hardships have caused a rise in the age at first marriage.

Average age of women at first marriage: 22 years old in 1970; 32 years old in 2007.

50% of men aged between 25 and 29 have yet to marry compared to 23% in Asia and 31% in Latin America.

The delay in marrying age creates new socioeconomic hardships as it postpones young people’s acquisition of autonomy: Dependency and autonomy issues.
Divorce (or marriage annulment) rate has risen to 15% to 20%.

The kind of marriage (civil or religious) has nothing to do with its chance of success.

Statistics in Muslim and Christian religious courts reveal that divorce rates have increased over the past few years, knowing that a major gap remains between these rates in Muslim (Sunni and Jaafari) courts and Christian ones.

The effect of the economic crisis
cost of marriage
39,000 religious marriages per year

Christians in Beirut: $2,500 to rent a church – approximate nationwide average $300

Muslims: $200 of average fees for a religious marriage

Minimum average cost of religious marriage: $230

Total costs: $9 million per year

Four times more than the cabinet annual
expenditures on forest rehabilitation
Closest and cheapest civil marriage outside Lebanon: Cyprus

$500 in travel fees, €100 for a hotel room, €465 as marriage cost, i.e. a total of about $1,250

700 civil marriages are celebrated on average in Cyprus every year, a three-fold increase compared to recent years
Facts in marriage in Lebanon
budget of religious bodies
Revenues of marriage contracts: $9 million

The real revenues rise if we count in expected revenues from divorces

There is one divorce for every five marriages in preliminary religious courts and religious courts of appeal

The minimum cost: $1,500, i.e. $6 million of revenues from divorce and marriage annulment fees

The total amounts to $15 million

But there is more to come…
is the budget of the presidency of the council minister per year the same amount as the Ministry of Tourism’s budget. Some clerics are opposed to holding
civil marriages in Lebanon, but they are not opposed to taxes on alcoholic beverages
and gambling, which help to finance their official salaries!

Gambling returns (Casino du Liban)
equal on average 40% of revenues Fee
on liquor (alcohol)
Average fees And all other liquors Grape alcohol – Arak 200 LL/liter
Cognac 750 LL/liter
Beer 60 LL/liter
Whisky 400 LL/liter
Industrial alcohol or acetone
150 LL/liter (92 degrees)

Industrial alcohol 250 LL/liter
(96 degrees)
Law no. 210 dated 1/6/2000
Subject: Exempting every recognized religious community in Lebanon and the legal persons affiliated to them from fees and taxes

Adopted in parliament
The president publishes the following law, the text of which is hereunder mentioned:
Every legally recognized religious community and every legal person affiliated to it benefits as per the law, and before this law is promulgated, from exemption from all direct and indirect taxes, fees and raises to which public institutions are legally entitled.
contracting a civil marriage
Is applicable for those who are currently contracting civil marriages abroad

Allows every bride and groom to save $1,400

Allows society to save $1.4 million at least during a first phase

The second beneficiary is the Lebanese Treasury, the returns of which are set to increase as a result of the fees required to conclude every civil marriage

The losers: 3 travel agencies and the Cypriot state (in a first stage)
Civil legal contract for all the Lebanese

Saving more than $6 million per year, which can save more than 2,500 families from poverty

The losers: Religious institutions
(about 6,000 employees)

The winners: More than 80,000 Lebanese men and women