Divorces have always been taboo in Indian society. The acceptance of patriarchy as the dominant and ‘honorable’ social norm has always ensured that women bore the brunt of unhappy marriages. However, the influx of western ideals of individualism, equal rights, and opportunities for both sexes, and the move from joint or extended families to nuclear ones have slowly eroded the hold of patriarchy over the fairer sex in India.
Also Read:- The Grounds For Divorce Under Divorce Law 2021
Grounds for Divorce
Whether it be the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939, the Indian Divorce Act, 1869, or The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936, the grounds for family law divorce in India is more or less the same or similar across them. According to section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, which is the main marital law in India, governing the divorce proceedings of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists, there are two types of divorce petitions – contested and uncontested. Let us discuss some of the reasons that are valid for filing for a divorce.
- Mental Disorder
- Venereal Disease
- Non-resumption of cohabitation
- Non-restitution of conjugal rights
- Presumed Dead
Common Reasons for Divorce
In India, marriages are more than just the union of two people. Here, marriage often marks the beginning of an intermingling between two families. These ties extend to the community level as well and hence, our country has some unique factors that contribute to divorce compared to the rest of the world.
Some of these India-specific reasons are mentioned below.
- Women are getting more independent as education is percolating down to the lowest strata of society. This was not the case before when women were just supposed to take care of the household.
- Interference by family and close friends is another reason for divorce in our country, where communities have a stronger role to play in a person’s life.
Some of the top reasons for divorce in the wider global context are-
- Lack of Commitment or Intimacy
- Miscommunication (Unrealistic expectations and excessive arguing)
- Domestic Abuse
- Lack of Preparation for Marriage
New Rules for Mutual Divorce In India 2021
However, not all is bleak as the judiciary in recent times has taken steps to control the damage done by the outdated marital law India. From January 2022, the grounds for divorce have expanded and now include as valid grounds for divorce:
- Domestic violence
- Dowry harassment
- Child marriage
There have been other historic judgments too, which have set in motion new laws to protect the interest of both parties in case of mutual divorce in India.
- Reprieve from the 6-month cooling-off period
- Decriminalization of Adultery
- Ban on Triple Talaq
- Only Civil Courts Can Order a Divorce
Impact on Society
The impact of the new rules for mutual divorce in India 2021 has seeped into the deepest and darkest cracks of Indian society – which enforced the subjugation and oppression of women under the guise of propriety and goddess worship. The rise in divorces is just the effect of women finally being able to step up and away from these traditionally enforced duties of sacrifice and silence. Some of the ways in which these new laws have impacted Indian society for the better are mentioned below.
Inclusion of new Grounds for Divorce
Marital violence-related deaths are slowly going to decrease as domestic violence, dowry harassment, and child marriage are now valid grounds for divorce in India. Women are speaking up against abuse and mistreatment more and more as these new laws have brought them hope. That is one of the main reasons for the steep rise in the number of women filing for divorce.
The pie chart below shows the percentage of both genders searching for divorce online from December 2021 to December 2022.
Source : Adjuvalegal
Decriminalization of Adultery
The decriminalization of adultery will make it less stressful for men who go through a divorce on the grounds of adultery. Oftentimes, estranged partners file for divorce out of spite. This new law will ease the pressure of having to pay for maintenance on a regular basis on top of a hefty fine that used to be levied earlier for the criminal offense of committing adultery.
Reprieve from the 6-month cooling-off period
The removal of the mandatory cool-off period will allow couples to hire the best divorce lawyer to get the mental ordeal of separation over quickly when they know that their marriage can’t be saved. That way, they can go back to living fulfilling lives quicker and save themselves a lot of mental trauma.
Ban on Triple Talaq
The abolition of triple talaq has given back fundamental rights to Muslim women throughout the country who had been denied any say in a divorce proceeding previously by this draconic practice.
Only Civil Courts Can Order a Divorce
The decision to only let civil courts have the jurisdiction to grant a divorce should save thousands of marginalized women without proper income or education, who were previously left with nothing when their religious village leaders would take matters into their own hands. They can now approach the court for getting a proper divorce which might give them a better chance at life than a family law divorce as the court might grant them maintenance from the husband.
India has had one of the lowest rates of divorce globally, around 1.1%. While divorces globally are initiated by women more often than men, divorce in India has historically seen the opposite trend, with men filing for divorce more than women. However, this is slowly changing as divorces filed by women are now rising rapidly. Deccan Herald pointed out that the number of divorce filings has gone up from 0.50 per 1000 marriages in 1988 to 13 per 1000 in 2019.
Here is the census data for divorce cases per 1000 in India, from 1988 to 2015.
Still, fighting a divorce can be mentally draining for anyone. That is why it is a good idea to let a reputed law firm like LEX Solutions handle your divorce case. They can get you the best divorce lawyer on your team, ensuring that you don’t have to deal with any more harassment or pain while going through a tough time
1. Is Leprosy a valid reason for divorce?
Yes, leprosy falls under the category of venereal disease according to the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
2. What are the conditions for filing a mutual divorce?
There are 3 conditions – the partners have to live separately for at least 1 year or more; they have been unable to live together; they should mutually agree that their marriage is irreparable and should be dissolved.
3. What is the maximum amount of maintenance I can get as alimony and child support?
There is no minimum or maximum limit too when it comes to support (alimony or maintenance).
4. What is meant by non-restitution of conjugal rights?
Non-restitution of conjugal rights means cohabitation has not been restored even after a judicial decree has been passed in a previous proceeding or either partner has wilfully refused to consummate the marriage.