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Proposed Changes in Marriage & Divorce Laws

Divorce has ceased to be a taboo, and has gained a lot of social acceptability, incompatible couples are increasingly seeking divorces to start their lives afresh instead of being in an emotionally dead union, however if both are not at the same page as regards divorce – it becomes very difficult as specific fault grounds such as cruelty/adultery need to be strictly proved.

The Government has passed a cabinet proposal (actual implementation would still take some time) – which seeks to enable spouses to obtain divorce on the ground of „Irretrievable breakdown‟ of marriage. This dispenses with proof of fault on the part of erring spouse, and enables court to grant divorce where the marital tie appears to be broken beyond salvage, practically unworkable for whatever reason.

This manifests the oftquoted adage “where bitter waters are flowing it is not necessary to enquire from which source they spring”. This steers clear of fault of parties and adopts a pragmatic Approach. Divorce on this ground could be granted until now only by the Supreme Court.

Introduction of Irretrievable breakdown as a ground is a definitely a progressive step in matrimonial jurisprudence.

 

Another amendment on the cards is one that purports to Introduce concept of marital property – which seeks to give Women equal share in the property of husband, acquired post marriage, at time of separation in addition to her rights of maintenance. The proposed amendment in its present form is subject to a lot of objections primarily on the ground of it’s not being gender neutral and not subject to any exceptions. It may lead to a situation where a man even if he succeeds in getting divorce from a wife who has been adulterous within a year of marriage, would still have to shell out half his property at time of separation.

Food for Thought !

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