Alimony Laws In Mutual Divorce

Understanding alimony laws in India can be cumbersome, however not understanding the intricacies of alimony payments can prove quite costly for those who are experiencing trouble in paradise. Learn all about alimony laws in this article.

Even if the woman is working and there is a substantial difference between her and her husband’s net worth, she will still be granted alimony to provide for the same living standards as her husband’s.

Mutual Divorce: Role of Consent

In India, particularly, mutual divorces are the fastest, easiest and cheapest mode of getting divorced. Consent plays a vital role in almost all stages of marriage, from the free consent given by the partners to begin their relationship as spouses, to the mutual consent given for separating as strangers. Mutual consent for divorce makes the process of getting legal separation much easier than any other ground for divorce. 

Mutual Divorce: Maintenance

One of the primary advantages of divorce is maintenance or alimony, which is paid to the wife by the husband or vice versa, depending on the situation. In general, maintenance is the money given to the dependent spouse by the earning partner to support them after the divorce.

Since there is no law that requires the husband to pay Alimony to the wife; it can also be made payable the other way around if necessary. This is also why alimony or maintenance can be any amount determined by the partner requesting maintenance and agreed upon by the other spouse. 

Usually, in cases of Mutual divorce, courts do not interfere with the alimony set by the couple under mutual agreement, and the couple also has the option to leave the marriage without maintenance under mutual agreement. However, the assessment of the amount declared by the spouse is at the discretion of the court.

Just like how marriages are governed by various personal laws, divorce also comes under the ambit of the religious matrimonial and divorce laws that the couple opts for.

  • Marriage Between Hindus: In case the couple has registered their marriage under the Hindu laws, the marriage and divorce are governed by the Hindu marriage act, 1955. (Section 13-B talks about mutual divorce)
  • Marriage Between Christians: In the case of Christian marriages, disputes in marriages are handled on the basis of the Special Marriage Act,1954 and the Indian Divorce Act,1869.
  • Marriage Between Muslims: Here, the matrimonial disputes and cases of divorce are tried on the basis of the Dissolution of Marriage Act,1939 and the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986.
  • Inter Caste Marriage: Such marriages that involve spouses belonging to different religions, do not come under any specific personal law as they are exclusively governed by the Special Marriage Act,1954. However, under this act, only the wife can claim and the rights do not extend to the husband.

Factors For Determining Alimony:

In case the maintenance claim is contested, the court steps in and takes on the responsibility of determining the amount of maintenance based on the facts of the case. Alimony decided by the partners or by the court can be paid monthly, annually or on a periodic basis, depending on the court’s decision after considering the claimant spouse’s request.

The court also takes into account other factors for determining the alimony to be awarded, such as:

  1.  The financial status of the paying partner: This is considered as a factor, in order to understand the capacity of the spouse for paying maintenance.
  2.  Requirements of the partner being maintained: Alimony is paid based on the reasonable needs of the spouse claiming maintenance. It is ensured that they are given the appropriate amount in order to maintain their lifestyle as it was before the marriage ended. Their age, liabilities and the presence of children in their custody can all have an impact on the amount of alimony awarded.
  3.   Salary of the spouse being maintained: the income of the maintained spouse is another important factor considered by the court in determining the need for alimony. On this basis, the court will decide whether or not to award them alimony.

In most cases, the courts order that one-fourth of the husband’s income be paid to the wife or vice versa for maintenance. A recent Supreme Court decision set the limit for alimony at 25% of the husband’s/net wife’s salary and defined it as ‘just and proper.’

Alimony: Things To Remember

  1. There is no minimum or maximum alimony payment limit, and there are no laws to substantiate the compulsory payment of alimony, hence soon-to-be ex-partners can mutually decide not to pay maintenance.
  2. When the wife remarries, the husband may request that the alimony payment mandate be terminated.
  3. Alimony can be denied if the court: https://districts.ecourts.gov.in/ finds that the partner claiming alimony is financially fit and can look after themselves and will not be needing the amount to maintain their lifestyle whatsoever.

For help getting the alimony & maintenance terms of your mutual divorce finalized, get in touch with Vakilsearch experts.

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