Marriage is a life-altering journey, especially for a woman. You enter a new stage where you start adjusting to a new family schedule, new rules, methods of cooking and cleaning. As you do so, many things are bound to take a turn and change. And with ancient traditions and religious traditions, women follow different rules accordingly. But it is crucial for women to know what marriage law states and what changes legally for a bahu. 

TC46 connected with InstaLawyer, Tanya Appachu to share with us things that change when transitioning from beti to bahu. 

Financial Rights Women Must Know When Seeking Divorce

1. Alimony Is Key

The thumb rule that comes with divorce when it comes to maintenance and alimony is that the wife is to be granted such amount of maintenance as would allow her to enjoy the same standard of living as she was accustomed to while living with her husband.

Regardless of the husband’s income or family, the court looks at the standard of living the wife was accustomed to during the subsistence of marriage. The court may consider the earning capacity of the wife herself while coming to this amount.

2. There Are 2 Types Of Alimonies

It is important to note that maintenance or alimony is of two types. 

  1. Maintenance pendente lite – The maintenance amount payable during the pendency of the divorce proceeding. Maintenance pendente lite is available both under Hindu personal laws and under the Code of Criminal Procedure. 
  2. Permanent alimony – The amount payable upon the decree of divorce.

3. Various Factors Affect The Quantum Of Maintenance

The quantum of maintenance depends on several grounds. Some of these ground include: 

  • Status of the parties;
  • Reasonable wants of the claimant;
  • The independent income and property of the claimant;
  • The number of persons, the non-applicant has to maintain;
  • The amount should aid the applicant to live in a similar lifestyle as he/she enjoyed in the matrimonial home;
  • Non-applicant’s liabilities, if any;
  • Provisions for food, clothing, shelter, education, medical attendance and treatment etc. of the applicant;
  • Payment capacity of the non-applicant;
  • Some guesswork is not ruled out while estimating the income of the non-applicant when all the sources or correct sources are not disclosed;
  • The non-applicant to defray the cost of litigation.
  • The amount awarded u/s 125 Cr.PC is adjustable against the amount awarded u/24 of the Act.

4. The Law Does Not Discriminate Based On Gender

These are all illustrative examples and not exhaustive. Maintenance laws are gender neutral and either spouse may be required to pay maintenance to the other spouse. However, one would be hard-pressed to find instances in our country where a wife was required to pay maintenance to her husband. It would be incorrect, however, to say that is not the intention of the law.

Note: The information contained herein does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. Readers should not take decisions on the basis of this article and should take independent legal advice before taking any decision. The views of the author are her independent views and not necessarily that of the Firm.