DivorceLegal Advice

What Qualifies a Spouse for Alimony and How Do They Get It?

If you are considering separating from your spouse through divorce, then know your legal rights relating to alimony according to the alimony laws in India. Also, get familiarised with the qualification for alimony with spouse and how you can claim and get it.

Alimony is the amount paid or ordered by the court to be paid to one spouse by the other, usually paid by the spouse who has the stronger financial position. As per the alimony laws in India, the alimony is decided according to the personal laws regarding the concerned religion. Alimony is generally provided to either of the spouses for financial support and to let them maintain the same standard of living even after the divorce agreement. However, one should note that alimony is different from maintenance amount. Maintenance amount refers to the amount provided during the divorce case is pending in court. Here, you can get familiarised with the areas involving qualification for alimony with spouse, how one can claim the alimony, alimony amount under mutual divorce agreement and contested divorce, and what the factors considered for the calculation of alimony and other related insights. 

Alimony in Mutual Divorce Agreement VS Contested Divorce 

Alimony varies according to the divorce type. In the case of a mutual divorce agreement, the alimony is mutually decided by both parties and is paid accordingly by one party to the other. Here, alimony mainly depends on the mutual understanding between the parties and can be paid by the wife to husband or husband to wife as agreed. 

However, in a contested divorce, where only one spouse decides to discontinue the relationship and sends formal divorce papers to another spouse, the alimony is calculated and decided on various factors like marriage period, age of the spouse, economic condition, etc. Here, the court has the discretion to decide alimony, and tenure of the same depending on the facts and circumstances of each case. The court intervenes in the contested divorce agreements and decides the temporary and permanent alimony to be paid. Here, temporary alimony is also known as the maintenance amount paid during the pending divorce period. 

HOW DOES ALIMONY WORKS

What Qualifies a Spouse for Alimony and Who Is Eligible to Claim It? 

Alimony laws in India differ according to each religion’s and concerned community’s personal laws. So, the alimony is not the same for Hindus, Muslims, Christian, etc. The divorce and alimony agreement between two parties under Hindu law varies and can differ from divorce agreements in other communities. For example, if the couple is married under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, both the wife and husband have legal rights and are entitled to alimony from another spouse. But as per the Special Marriage Act, 1954, applicable to the whole of India and its citizens, the husband is not entitled to claim alimony from the wife; only the wife can get the alimony amount from the husband. 

Here are some of the common qualifications given that are considered in calculating the eligibility of either of the parties for claiming the alimony. If any one of the qualifications for alimony with the spouse is satisfied, then the aggrieved party can claim alimony from their former partner or ex-spouse. 

Common Qualifications for Alimony with Spouse 

  • If one of the parties is making a low income or their financial position is weaker than the other party
  • If the husband abandons or treats the wife with cruelty, without any justifiable reason and her consent
  • If one of the divorcing party’s health is not in good condition, then the court may order to pay the alimony amount to the sick partner
  • If the wife is a working woman and is earning less than the husband, the court considers the net earnings of both the parties and decides the alimony accordingly 
  • If the maintenance amount or temporary alimony is not sufficient for the partner to maintain their standard of living, the court may decide to award the sustenance or permanent alimony 
  • If the husband’s salary increases, then the wife can file a petition at the court, proving that their partner’s salary is increased along with the inability to maintain herself with the present alimony limit 
  • If the wife or husband is physically challenged, the court may award the spousal support to the disabled partner and decide the alimony tenure and amount based on the facts and circumstances of each case
  • Any other qualification that the court might think is reasonable and justifiable to award the spousal support to either of the parties 

Factors Considered While Calculating the Alimony 

There is no standard formula to calculate alimony. The alimony tenure and amount differ from case to case, as the power to decide the alimony vests with the court. The court looks into the facts of each case and considers various factors before calculating the alimony:

  • Earnings of both the partners
  • Financial status and standard of living of both the spouses
  • Financial needs and reasonable wants of both the parties
  • Investments and net worth of the couple
  • Duration of the marriage and the number of children 
  • If the wife is a working woman, then the net earnings and her wealth are also taken into consideration
  • Since, in most cases, the husband pays the alimony to the wife, his status, financial position, earning capacity, assets, and lifestyle are taken into consideration
  • Any other factor which the court might think is reasonable and justifiable to consider in the alimony calculation

How Can You Claim Alimony from Your Spouse? 

As already discussed, the court has the discretion to decide the alimony limit and tenure, which it thinks is justifiable in the particular case. However, in most cases, the court may award the spousal support either periodically on a monthly basis, quarterly basis, or in a lump sum based on the circumstances of each case. 

Generally, if the alimony is paid monthly, then the amount of alimony is set to a benchmark amount of 25% of the husband’s salary. In the lump-sum case, if the court thinks it is reasonable to award the alimony at a time, then it may usually order to pay the alimony ranging between 1/5th to 1/3rd of the husband’s net worth. 

In this way, the spouse can claim alimony to maintain their standard of living and their children, if any. However, suppose the court decides to terminate the alimony based on the facts of the particular case and what it thinks is reasonable. In that case, it might order to stop the alimony payments and conclude the verdict accordingly. 

Are There any Disqualifications for Alimony with Spouse? 

Some factors and situations are considered disqualifications for alimony with a spouse. After looking into the facts of each case, the court may terminate or not award the alimony as reasonable at its sole discretion. Below are some of the disqualifications for alimony with a spouse:

  • If the marriage duration is not long enough or is less than one year, then the court might not award the spousal support
  • If the wife’s net worth and earnings are significantly higher than the husband’s income
  • If the spouse remarries or starts to live with another partner, then you can file the petition in court requesting to lower or terminate the alimony 
  • If the husband is physically challenged, then it may order the wife to pay alimony accordingly
  • If one partner proves that the other partner does not deserve alimony
  • If any of the partners is accused of adultery, then the court might not award alimony

Conclusion 

Here one can gain more insights related to the qualifications for alimony with a spouse, disqualifications, calculation of alimony, and factors considered. Going through hard times like divorce can be overwhelming and even more challenging with all the sections and laws. Now be worry-free and get your lawyer by contacting the expert lawyers and professional advocates at Vakil Search

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