Indonesian officials in central Java are coming across evidence of a correlation between migrant workers and the divorce rate. The divorce rate in Banyumas regency appears to be directly proportional to the number of migrant workers in the region. Joso Isnuoso notes “Divorces are growing by the month, especially when wives return home from working overseas.” He noted it is not unusual for a wive to return home after working for several months thousands of miles away from home and family in a state of pregnancy.In one village here have been over 150 divorce cases since 2000.
A major factor in creating family tensions arises from pay checks. If the wive is away, the husband expects her to regularly send checks and vice versa for a wife. The lure of money is powerful in rural areas of Indonesia where most people live in poverty. But, the price of family disruption is probably one many will risk because the rewards far out shine the consequences.