What is the Divorce Act in India?

What is the Divorce Act in India?

04-Jul-2021 | Article by Legal White Official

At the time when India was ruled by the British, they enacted a law by the name “Indian Divorce Act”, it was implemented to govern the divorce between Christian couples in India. As we all are aware, divorce is a way to dissolve marriage between a couple (man and woman) through the law. This law was enforced in the year 1869.As for the people from different communities such as Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, where the procedure and rules of divorce are a bit different from that of the Christian community, the Indian divorce act formed a basis on which separate Acts and laws were made for these communities. Some of the laws are, “Hindu Marriage Act 1955”, “Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936” etc. A “Special Marriage Act, 1956” was also implemented to settle the divorce matters for inter-community Marriages.

As per the Divorce Act in India, the divorce can be classified into two main types, one is consensual divorce and the other one is non-consensual divorce. Let us discuss each one of them briefly.

  • Divorce by Mutual Consent: As the name suggests, when both partners and spouses agree for divorce mutually, it is considered as mutually agreed divorce. There are some rules that have been laid down by the law:

·      A couple should be living separately for over a period of 2 years. This type of divorce is generally inexpensive and relatively quick.

·      Alimony, child custody and property rights can also be agreed upon mutually as per the law.

·      The law doesn’t prescribe any limits with regards to the maintenance amount. It ranges from nothing to anything.

·      Same goes for alimony and property, as long as both partners agree, it is fine as per the law, even if the share is not equal or the consented figure is not fair.

  • Non – Consensual Divorce: This kind of divorce is something in which one partner is seeking the divorce while the other is contesting it. According to the Indian Divorce Act, there are certain rules and grounds for seeking and granting of divorce.

Below are some of the major grounds for divorce as specified by the Act.

  • Adultery – When either of the partners indulges in any consensual sexual relationship with another person while being already married is considered as adultery.
  • Desertion – It occurs when one spouse leaves the other with the clear intention of doing so. Hindu Law states that, divorce can be filed in case the husband has left for two years.
  • Conversion – If a spouse converts to another religion, it is a valid ground for divorce.
  • Abuse – Any kind of abuse is one of the most common and valid reasons for filing a divorce. It is important that abuse is not just physical, it can be mental, financial, psychological etc.
  • Presumed Dead - If the spouse is not heard from over there is no information, it is referred to as presumed dead; in this case divorce can be granted.

In order to conclude, there can be number of other factors for seeking the divorce according to the law. There have been several efforts in the recent past to enhance the scope of the law and to give more teeth to it.

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