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Divorce law in India

Any marriage can be dissolved by a decree of divorce on the ground that the other party has had voluntary sexual intercourse with any person other than his or her spouse after solemnization of marriage, even a single act of sexual intercourse with any person other than his or her spouse entitles the petitioner to decree of divorce.
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When one Can Seek Divorce

Any marriage can be dissolved by a decree of divorce on the ground that the other party:
(1) has had voluntary sexual intercourse with any person other than his or her spouse after solemnization of marriage;

Even a single act of sexual intercourse with any person other than his or her spouse entitles the petitioner to decree of divorce.

(2) has, after solemnization of the marriage, treated the spouse with cruelty;

It means when conduct of the other party is of such a nature that it causes a reasonable apprehension in the mind of the petitioner that if the petitioner lives with the other party it will be harmful or injurious.

It is also ,significant to note that if you seek divorce on the ground of cruelty, you should not have condoned acts of cruelty.

Condonation means to forgive the other party and restore the marital ties by placing the other party in the same position as he or she earlier was.
(3) has deserted the spouse for a continuous period of not less than 2 years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition;

It means when the other party has abandoned the petitioner without reasonable cause and without the consent or wish of the petitioner. Such abandonment must be abandonment of or disregard of duties and obligations of married life. Such abandonment must be with intent to bring cohabitation to an end permanently and that too continuously during a period of two years.

(4) has ceased to be a Hindu by conversion to another religion;

(5) has been incurably of unsound mind; or the other party has been suffering continuously or intermittently from mental disorder; that such mental disorder is of such a kind and to such an extent that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the other party;

(6) has been suffering from a virulent and incurable form of leprosy;

(7) has been suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form; or

(8) has renounced the world by entering any religious order; It means the other party has forever relinquished all property and worldly concerns.

(9) has not been heard of as being alive for a period of seven years or more by those persons who would naturally have heard of him/her, had the party been alive.

Section (IA) provides that either party to a marriage may seek decree of divorce on the ground:
(i) that there has been no resumption of cohabitation as between the parties to the marriage for a period of one year or upwards after the passing of a decree for judicial separation in a proceeding to which they were parties, or;

(ii) That there has been no restitution of conjugal rights as between the parties to the marriage for a period of one year or upwards after the passing of a decree for restitution of conjugal rights in a proceeding to which they were parties.

In case of wife, she is entitled to decree of divorce not only on the aforesaid grounds, but on following two additional grounds also:
1. that the husband has, since the solemnization of marriage, been guilty of rape, sodomy or bestiality;

2. that a decree or order has been passed against the husband awarding maintenance to the wife under section 18 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 or in proceeding under section 125 Cr.P.C and since the passing of the decree or order, cohabitation between the parties has not been resumed for one year or upwards;

3. that her marriage was solemnized before she attained the age of 15 years and she has repudiated the marriage after attaining that age but before attaining the age of 18 years.

Divorce by Mutual Consent

Section 13B of the Act provides for a decree of divorce by mutual consent. Such a decree is granted on a joint petition filed by both the parties to the marriage together. It cannot be filed by one of the parties. The ground to be put forth in the petition is that the parties have been living separately for a period of one year or more. It is also to be averred that the parties have not been able to live together. It is further to be averred that the parties have mutually agreed for dissolution of marriage. There should lie no collusion between the couple in filing such a petition.

Petitioners are required to make motion before the court six months after the filing of petition, but not later than eighteen months of its filing. Court is to conduct enquiry and to satisfy that marriage was solemnized between the parties and that averments made in the petition are true. During enquiry, court generally records statements of petitioners. Terms and conditions of settlement between the petitioners are generally incorporated in the statement. Therefore, petitioners should settle all claims before filing of such a petition so as to avoid any further litigation.

It is noteworthy that consent once given by a party in filing such a petition together with the other party is revocable. To have a decree of divorce by mutual consent, it is necessary that consent to have such a decree shall not be withdrawn during pendency of the petition.

Law provides that when a divorce is sought on the ground of mutual consent, Court is to be satisfied that such consent has not been obtained by force, fraud or undue influence. (Section 23).

Decree obtained by practising fraud can be recalled by the Court.

Procedure followed in Matrimonial Petitions
Section 21 of Hindu Marriage Act provides that all proceedings under this Act shall be regulated as far as may be, by Code of Civil Procedure.

Restitution of Conjugal Rights
A husband has the right to require his wife to live with him wherever he may choose to reside. On the other hand, it is corresponding duty of the wife to live with her husband

What should an Aggrieved Person do in case of Domestic Violence
If you, being the aggrieved person, have reason to believe that an act of domestic violence has been committed or is being committed or is likely to be committed, you may give information about it to the concerned Protection Officer.

Maintenance and Residence of Female Child
Under the Hindu Marriage Act, there is provision for permanent alimony or allowance. Under section 4 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, in case of annulment of a child marriage

Hindu Marriage Act
Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, came into force on 18th of May, 1955. It has amended and codified the law relating to marriage solemnized between two Hindus.

How Can A Hindu Marry from other Religion
Marriage between two persons, who are not Hindus, it would be a case of special marriage. In this regard, reference may be made to provisions of Special Marriage Act (43 of 1954)

Judicial Separation
Section 10 of Hindu Marriage Act provides for judicial separation. It provides that either party to a marriage can file a petition before the Court for such a relief.

Maintenance for wife, children and parents - Section 125 CrPC
When any person neglects or refuses to maintain, his wife, children or parents, than they can claim maintenance by filing an application before the Magistrate under Section 125 CrPC

Maintenance Pendente Lite and Expenses of Proceedings
Under Hindu Marriage Act where in any proceeding under this Act it appears to the Court that either the wife or the husband has no independent income sufficient for her or his support, Court may order for payment of monthly maintenance to the petitioner by the respondent.

Nullity of Marriage
A void marriage as par hindu marriage act is one that requires no formality to terminate, as it was invalid from the very beginning as it did not follow the strict grounds of a valid marriage as prescribed in the act.

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