Divorce And Legal Rights Of A Woman
To make things somewhat less excruciating for women, the Honorable Supreme Court has cut down the cooling off period for a divorce by six months. The court ruled that now divorce can be granted to couples without the earlier provision of mandatory 18 month separation period. It means that the 18 months period can be waived off by the courts with the mutual consent of the couples. The Section 13B of the Hindu Marriage Act 1976 enables both parties to dissolve the marriage by mutual consent if there is no chance of reconciliation.
Women can invoke maintenance rights
Maintenance is an amount which a husband has to pay to his ex-spouse to successfully end a divorce. The objective is to provide financial independence to the ill-fated women. Section 125 of Criminal Procedure Court provides remedy to the women who are neglected and are seeking maintenance. However, there should be no doubt in one thing that only legally wedded women are considered as wives, and are entitled to maintenance.
Right to Interim Maintenance
A wife can get interim maintenance during the course of the divorce case right from the date of filing of the divorce petition to the date of dismissal or the final verdict. A woman can seek it on the grounds that she needs financial assistance during the proceedings of the case as she cannot remarry to have her financial needs secured. As long as the case remains pending in the courts, she receives the interim maintenance.
A look at the Maintenance under Indian law
Section 125(4) of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides if husband and wife are living separately with mutual consent, a woman cannot claim maintenance. On the other hand a divorce by mutual consent doesn’t disentitle the wife from claiming maintenance. The court has discretion to fix it at any amount.
Can a woman claim maintenance before divorce?
A divorce petition can be filed in a district court dealing with family matters. As for maintenance for woman two possible scenarios can arise out of it.
- The woman who works cannot claim maintenance before divorce or without separation.
- The wife retains the right to residence till divorce but does not have the right to property during the lifetime of the husband.
Indian laws protect woman from any social or financial harassment in the wake of a divorce.