divorce laws

Meaning:

Divorce is the legal dissolving of the marital relationship between a man and a woman. the separation order is granted by the court of law after receiving a petition from either of the spouses.

Various Divorce Acts:

All Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains can file for divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act 1955.

The Muslims, Christians, and Parsis have their own laws that govern their marriages and divorces.

Spouses that belong to different communities and castes can file for divorce under the Special Marriage Act, 1956.

The Foreign Marriage Act 1969 governs divorce laws in marriages where either partner belongs to another country.

Grounds Of Divorce:

The various reasons when one can seek a divorce are as follows-

  • One partner has had voluntary sexual intercourse with any other person rather than his or her spouse after the solemnization of marriage.
  • One spouse after solemnization of the marriage has treated the other with cruelty.
  • One has isolated the other spouse for a continuous period of not less than 2 years.
  • One has ceased to be a Hindu by conversion to another Religion.
  • One has incurably been of unsound mind or has been suffering continuously from a mental disorder.
  • One has been suffering from an incurable form of the disease.
  • One has renounced the world by entering any religious order, i.e. forever given up all property and worldly concerns.
  • In the case of the wife, there are additional three grounds as well-
  1. The husband has been guilty of rape, sodomy, or bestiality since the solemnization of the marriage.
  2. That a decree or order has been passed against the husband awarding maintenance to the wife under section 18 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956
  3. That her marriage was solemnized before she attained the age of 15 years and she has repudiated the marriage after attaining that age but before attaining the age of 18 years.

Types Of Divorce:

Divorce laws in India are generally classified into ‘Divorce by Mutual Consent’, ‘Contested Divorce’, ‘Void Marriages’.

  • Divorce with mutual consent-

As per the divorce laws of India, under Section 13-B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the parties can seek divorce by mutual consent by filing a petition before the court through a divorce lawyer.

Mutual consent means that both the husband and the wife agree to live separately. It is the easiest way of getting out of the marriage and dissolving it legally. The consent of the husband and wife is very important.

There are two areas on which both the spouses have to reach an agreement-

  1. Alimony or maintenance issues: There is no minimum/maximum limit of alimony. It could be any amount or no amount as decided by the spouses.
  2. Child Custody: Can be shared by both the partners or can be joint or exclusive depending upon the understanding of both the parents.
  • Contested Divorce-

The reasons are as follows:

  1. Cruelty- Maybe physical or mental.
  2. Adultery- Has consensual sexual intercourse outside of marriage.
  3. Desertion- One spouse abandons the other.
  4. Conversion- One spouse converts to other religions.
  5. Communicable Disease- One spouse suffers from a disease such as HIV/AIDS, syphilis, etc. That can be transmitted to the other.
  6. Renunciation of the world- One spouse opts for sanyas and leaves all worldly concerns.
  7. Presumption of Death- One spouse has not heard from the other for at least 7 years.
  • Void Marriages-

The following are the grounds for void marriages:

  1. Bigamy- None of the parties can have more than one spouse. That is only marriage at a time is acceptable by the law.
  2. Prohibited Relationships- Prohibited relations are those relations in which people are related by blood or marriage.

Documents required for filing a petition of contested divorce-

The documents are as follows:

  1. The address proof of the husband and the wife
  2. Marriage certificate of the spouses.
  3. 4 passport size photographs of the marriage of the spouses.
  4. Evidence proving that the spouses have been living separately for more than a year.
  5. Income tax statements of the last 2-3 years of the spouses.
  6. Details of occupation of both the spouses.
  7. Information related to family background and reference check.
  8. Details of all the properties and assets owned by the petitioner.

Areas determining the Alimony-

  • The age of the person who will receive the alimony.
  • The income and current financial status of the spouse who will pay the alimony.
  • The deteriorating health of the spouses who are going to receive the alimony.
  • The spouse that has custody of the child would have to either pay less alimony or a bigger amount till the time the child is a minor, i.e under the age of 18.

Author:

jahnvi singh Jahnvi Singh | Amity University, Noida

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