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3 Legal Rights About Getting Divorce

Getting a divorce can be a painful procedure. While the emotional struggle is already overwhelming, the legal procedure can be difficult to handle. However, whether you are getting a divorce or thinking about it, it is essential to know your legal rights.

Divorce is a difficult process. Both physically and mentally, the process can take a toll on the ones who are going through it. There are 3 legal rights about getting divorce which we will read here.  Only when you know your rights can you protect them. Also, knowing what life looks like during and after a divorce can prepare you for what is about to come. Let’s explore the key legal rights that can guide you through the complexities of the divorce process.

Apply for Mutual Divorce

Grounds for Divorce

Both men and women can apply for divorce on the following grounds:

  • Mutual Consent
  • Cruelty
  • Adultery
  • Desertion 
  • Conversion
  • Mental disorder
  • Communicable disease
  • Renunciation of the world
  • When the spouse is presumed dead

Based on any of these grounds, a divorce petition can be filed in court. Once the divorce proceedings begin, the three most contested areas are maintenance, property, and child custody. We will discuss the rights of the parties in these regards elaborately. They are:

  1. Right to Maintenance
  2. Right to Custody
  3. Right to Property

Right to Maintenance

Maintenance is an amount one spouse has to pay another after Divorce to ensure they are financially taken care of. The idea of maintenance was started because women were completely reliant on men financially and this made them stay in a bad marriage. Things are changing now and women are growing to be financially capable of taking care of themselves.

So, now maintenance can not only be claimed by a woman but also by a man under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Only the wife could claim maintenance under the Special Marriages Act, of 1954-, but that is also changing.

Conditions to Claim Maintenance

  • The marriage is legally valid.
  • The person who supported the household has stopped providing for the spouse.
  • The spouse claiming maintenance is not capable or is unable to maintain themselves. 

If a person is healthy and capable of getting employment good enough to be self-sufficient, then they cannot claim maintenance. It is important to know that it is not just a spouse who has a right to maintenance. The following people have it too:

  • Minor children
  • Adult children if they are physically or mentally challenged and it makes it difficult to maintain themselves.
  • Adult unmarried daughter
  • Mother or father of a spouse who cannot maintain themselves or when their own children cannot maintain them. 

The maintenance grant will be such that the dependents can continue to sustain their current standard of living. Maintenance will be paid at regular intervals.

Interim Maintenance

Interim maintenance is the financial support provided to the wife during the pendency of the divorce (from the date of filing to the date of decree or dismissal). This is provided to ensure that the wife can sustain herself during the duration of divorce proceedings.

That said, a spouse is not entitled to maintenance in the following circumstances:

  • When they get into an adulterous relationship during the time of marriage.
  • Once the divorced spouse marries again.
  • When they become financially self-sufficient.
  • If the spouses are staying separately based on mutual consent.
  • If the wife refuses to reside with the husband without proper reasons.

Right to Custody

Many assume that the mother always gets custody of her children. This is not the case. While the courts usually agree to the parents’ decision in a mutual consent divorce, the courts will look into the child’s best interest. For example, in a contested divorce, the courts will examine the ability of the mother or father to be a parent to the child.

Who earns more is usually not taken into consideration. Usually, the court provides custody of their children to non-working mothers, but the fathers are expected to provide financial support.

Most of the custodial questions are answered following the Guardian and Wards Act, of 1890, which clearly says that the welfare of the child should be given more importance over customs or traditions.

If a child is below the age of 5 (or 7 in the case of Muslim personal law), the custody right goes to the mother as intensive care and nurturing are needed in the infant years.

Right to Property

As far as the law is concerned, a specific property belongs to the individual in whose name it has been registered. It doesn’t matter who put cash into it, or who’s the primary contributor, or anything of that sort. The sole owner gets to keep the property as long as it is not contested.

If the property has been purchased under one person’s name while the other person has made significant contributions to it, then they can claim their share by producing sufficient evidence to the court. Financial statements and records can be submitted as proof of this.

If it is a joint property, on the other hand, claims can be made on them. The court will thoroughly study the contributions made by both parties before deciding on how the property is to be divided. Typically, the property is given to one person and they are expected to pay back the contributions of the other.

A man’s ancestral property will not be up for claims.


Streedhan is the gift a woman receives from her relatives at the time of her marriage. It is known to be a dowry and can include both movable and immovable properties. This property is not up for question and goes to the woman. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I ask my husband/wife for divorce?

To initiate divorce proceedings legally, you may engage a family law attorney to file the necessary paperwork, such as a petition for dissolution of marriage, with the appropriate court jurisdiction, ensuring compliance with legal requirements and procedures while minimizing emotional entanglements in your discussion with your spouse.

What are the rights of a wife in a divorce?

In cases of marriage breakdown, the Hindu Marriage Act grants women the legal entitlement to seek financial support for themselves and their children from their husbands, both during (interim maintenance) and after divorce (permanent maintenance).

How can I get quick divorce?

Quick divorce is a divorce with mutual consent.

How do I get divorce if my husband is not ready?

You have the option to submit a petition in court based on cruelty under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, where you need to present evidence to support your claim. Despite your husband's disagreement, you can pursue a divorce decree through this legal process even if he or his family members oppose it.

Can a man refuse to divorce his wife?

In many legal systems, including those governed by the Hindu Marriage Act in India, a man can indeed refuse to divorce his wife. However, this refusal doesn't necessarily prevent divorce proceedings from occurring. If one spouse wishes to divorce and the other refuses, the divorce process may become more complex and lengthy, involving legal intervention and court proceedings to resolve the matter. Ultimately, divorce laws and procedures vary by jurisdiction, so the specific legal avenues available to spouses seeking divorce may differ depending on the country or state in which they reside.

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