Divorce Lawyers, Laws, And Procedure To Get Divorce In India
The concept of divorce in India, and Indian marriages is undergoing a metamorphosis from commitment to convenience. This couldn’t be more evident than the rising rates in the country with infidelity and incompatibility cited as the most common reasons.
Till 1990s, India had amongst the lowest instances of separations in the world, as low as 1 %. The last five years however have seen a steep increase with surveys stating that the rate in Delhi has doubled in just 4 years. Other Metro cities like Mumbai have reported figures as high as 2 out of every 5 marriages ending in a legal breakdown. Even conservative and family oriented states such as Punjab have seen a 150% increase.
Divorce Laws In India
Legally, a petition can only be filed after one year has elapsed from the date of marriage unless there are exceptional circumstances. The Hindu Marriage Act 1955 lists 9 grounds for divorce. Namely –
- Conversion of religion
- Unsoundness of mind / serious mental disorder
- Virulent and incurable form of leprosy of partner
- Venereal and communicable disease suffered by a partner
- Renunciation of the world
- Unknown whereabouts of partner for more atleast 7 years
In addition to the above grounds, parties may also file for dissolution of marriage on the grounds of mutual consent, no resumption of cohabitation or no restitution of conjugal rights for a period of one year or upwards after a judicial decree of separation has already been passed.
Women have certain additional grounds for filing, namely – polygamous husband, rape or sodomy inflicted on her, or if she was married before she attained the age of 15 as long as the marriage was repudiated before she attains the age of 18.
Because our country is a culturally and religiously diverse country, there are more than one set of Personal Laws. Muslim law does not require seven years of unknown whereabouts of husband. Four is sufficient period for the wife to file for divorce. Similar is the case for the wife of a man who has been under imprisonment for more than 7 years.
A Changing India
Courts have always considered the breakdown of marriages as the weakening of society but the judicial system is slowly coming to terms with the fact that marriages are dissolving faster and for a number of varied reasons such as exposure to globalisation, financial liberation of women, sexual incompatibility of spouses etc. New trends also suggest that women are becoming more proactive in seeking separation.
The Rajya Sabha has recently proposed an amendment to marriage laws and is seeking to provide additional grounds, thus simplifying the process by repealing certain provisions, such as repeated appearance before the court in cases of divorce by mutual consent.
Though there is stark opposition to the above move, it is comforting to see that Indian laws are trying to incorporate the current reality of marriages and are moving away from the age old concept of matrimonial alliances.
Not only has the the country begun to open its eyes to the many hassles of an increasingly urban lifestyle, it has now begun to accept the fact that the dissolution of a marital union is as natural a process as the act of committing to it in the first place.
Browse through the site to find more in-depth information about divorce in India, including guide on the procedures for filing, child custody, alimony, contested and uncontested, and more.