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Maintenance Laws: Rights of a Divorced Woman in India

This post discusses in detail the exact maintenance laws on legal separation in India. One can completely get an overview of the rules and regulations that are binding when a couple decides to get legal separation.

Maintenance Laws

Maintenance laws can be defined as the financial support that is provided by one spouse to another after legal separation. In most cases, it is provided when a spouse is not capable of taking care of his/her basic needs.

There are two types of maintenance laws, which include the Interim maintenance amount that is given while the court proceedings are on and the final amount that is given at the time of legal separation. 

Permanent maintenance laws are provided to the wife or husband under Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act for his or her support and sustenance. In case the wife is a working woman and still, there is a considerable difference between her earnings and that of her husband, she will still be granted Support to maintain the same living standard as her husband provided her. 

In case the wife is not earning, the amount of money will be decided to take into consideration her age, educational qualifications, and her ability to work or earn in the future. In case the wife is earning and the husband is disabled or not fit to work, the maintenance laws amount is granted to the husband by the court. 

Maintenance Laws

What Is the Basis for Maintenance Law Calculation in India by Court?

There is no set formula or hard rule that decides how much maintenance laws need to be paid by either spouse to the other one. The maintenance laws amount can be provided as a monthly or periodical payment or in the form of a lump-sum amount as a one-time payment. 

If the maintenance laws are being paid in the form of monthly payments, the Supreme Court of India has set 25% of the net monthly salary that should be granted to the wife by the husband. In case, the maintenance laws is being paid in the form of a lump-sum amount, it usually ranges between 1/5th to 1/3rd of the husband’s total worth. 

The other factors that are taken into consideration by the court while calculating the maintenance laws amount include: 

  • Social status and living standard of both the parties.
  • The income of both husband and wife and other assets including properties
  • Dependents and liabilities of the husband
  • Child/children’s education and upbringing expenses
  • Health state and age of both parties 
  • The duration for which the couple has been married 
  • Behaviour and conduct of both parties 

Keeping in mind the range of factors and the specific circumstances of each case, the court grants maintenance laws in accordance. Hence, there are no set maintenance laws as the situation is different for every couple. 

Legal Separation via Mutual Concern

When a couple decides to get legal separation mutually, whether maintenance laws or maintenance needs to be paid or not is decided by them in agreement.

This amount of maintenance laws or sustenance is either granted to the wife by the husband or to the husband by the wife. It is subject to the agreement between the couple. The court, under the legal separation maintenance rules, gives directives to the couple on the mutual agreement. The couple is then legally bound to follow it.

Quantum of Maintenance Laws

  • When Maintenance Laws are Paid Periodically: When the maintenance law is paid periodically/monthly, it is set at 25% of the total monthly salary of the husband. The Supreme Court of India, in one of its judgments, stated this 25% is the benchmark amount and is also just and proper. However, it is important to remember that there are no set rules for maintenance laws as each case has different situations and facts. 
  • When Maintenance Laws are Paid in a Lump-sum Amount: According to the legal separation maintenance law rules, no set benchmark settlement exists for one-time settlement maintenance law. It ranges from 1/5th or 1/3rd of the husband’s total worth and is paid in the form of a lump-sum amount. 
  • If the Wife is Working and Earning Good: In case, the wife is working and also drawing a handsome salary, her earnings are taken into consideration along with the husband’s earnings. Depending on these facts and figures, the court decides whether the wife will receive any maintenance laws or not. If yes, then that amount is also decided by the court taking into consideration all facts. 
  • If the Husband Earns Less than His Wife: A Hindu husband is allowed to claim maintenance laws from his wife if his earnings are less than that of his wife or if he does not work at all. Such cases are rare.

In case, there is a change in circumstances after the permanent maintenance law are decided, either of the parties can file a legal separation Petition in court. These changes could include the wife remarrying, the wife starting to earn more than her husband, or the husband being unable to maintain his wife due to financial crisis, the maintenance law the paying spouse starting to earn more, or the maintenance laws the receiving spouse getting richer. In all these cases, one can go to court and see if there is any scope for change. 

What Belongs to a Wife After Separation?

According to the maintenance laws calculator in India, any type of jewellery including gold, silver, alloy, and precious stones, fixed assets such as property, and other assets such as cars, furniture, paintings, appliances, and artifacts all belong to the wife. These could be presented to her before, after, or during the marriage. 

In addition, gifts presented to her by anyone are her property too. These could be from her husband, in-laws, relatives, friends, and acquaintances. The earnings of the wife before or after marriage are also her property. 

What Can the Wife Not Claim After Separation?

The wife does not have any right to any jewellery, valuables, or gifts gifted to the husband by the wife’s parents before, after, or during the marriage. Any asset that was bought by the husband in the wife’s name, without passing it on as a gift, also does not belong to the wife. If the wife has spent any of her earnings on the household, those cannot be claimed. 

In India, as per Laws of maintenance laws, it can be provided to any spouse. But in most cases, it is awarded to the wife by her husband.


These are the exact maintenance laws on 0in India and should be kept in mind when a couple is deciding to get a legal separation. You should be prepared beforehand and be aware of all the laws and regulations For more information, one can also find useful information on Vakilsearch’s official site. 

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