Cabinet clears bill: Equal rights in Marital property, Easier divorce.

Cabinet passes bill: Divorce to get quicker and Wives to get share in marital property.

And why is it a good thing?

1. Women to become equal owners of property acquired during a marriage. I have blogged about Right to Marital Property Act earlier, over here. 

Women’s contribution in acquiring of marital property is generally not acknowledged (beyond occasional lip service).  It is seen as normal that most of the family’s earnings are made by one partner, while the other contributes towards unpaid labour, motherhood, elder care and house keeping, all the while when they could be making themselves financially secure. Marriage and motherhood should not mean lost opportunities for women.

Edited and updated after publishing.

Also, women’s inheritance, and when they do earn, their income, are seen as rightfully belonging to the husband’s family, who also might disallow or compel them to work or to give up work.

Do read these two links before you disagree,

i. How are men at a huge financial advantage in our world? Read Samosa of Doom’s comment made into a post here.

ii. Marriage affects career opportunities for women, because they either cannot work after marriage or were able to work in a limited capacity. In about 85 per cent of the cases, separated women “bear the burden of looking after their children single-handed.” [Read the entire article here]

2. Easier divorce but, ‘the Bill provides for some safeguards to women to ensure that the “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” clause for divorce is not misused. There is a provision giving the women right to oppose divorce pleas filed by husbands on grounds of irretrievable breakdown of marriage.’ [link1] [link2]

So it addresses the concerns expressed here, “If one of the parties wants a divorce, it should be granted irrespective of who’s “fault” it is.”

While the Bill can’t stop men from remarrying without divorcing the first wife, or from having relationships outside their marriage (chinna veedu, polygamy etc), it does not empower them to abandon a family dependent on them.

Finally I was delighted to read this tweet🙂

Leta Hong Fincher @LetaHongHT @meIHM #India Cabinet passes bill granting women rights to marital property in divorce. #China needs this. http://toi.in/m643ib

Related posts :

A daughter in law’s legal rights in her in law’s house are the same as her husband’s rights. Whatever is his, is hers.

Why exactly do we disapprove of Live-in relationships and Premarital sex?

Why do women stand by erring husbands?

79 thoughts on “Cabinet clears bill: Equal rights in Marital property, Easier divorce.

  1. I read this news last night with delight. We certainly need this. Now hopefully, women trapped in unhappy marriages would find it slightly easier to walk out of a bad situation..

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  2. I thought a marriage involved a man and woman… As does the divorce…

    So allowing a woman to appeal and not allowing a man to do so.. how is this equal or equality…..

    Just curious… Or is it ok now that one has more rights… Especially since its a woman.

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    • In this case , I agree with what you said. If we are talking about equality , i want neither less nor more. Otherwise it’s no longer equality.

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        • I think if one party wants a divorce, then the marriage is over. I don’t think women should have the right to oppose a divorce plea if men do not have it. As I said in my previous comment, instead of allowing women to have this option, a better idea would have been to make a settlement mandatory on a woman with meagre resources.

          Also, I foresee a problem with this clause. Because a woman can file a plea, she will be in many cases forced to do so by her own family who may not want to provide for her in case of her divorce.

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        • Fem has explained what was in my mind so perfectly. My point being both men and women should have the same rights whether it is the right to appeal or not.

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        • IHM there is no need to plea.. as mentioned if one needs ot divorce the marriage is not going ot work as such..

          I think that if one wants one it should be give straightaway no use trying to mend things , it does not work i think in the long run.

          moreover this is not equality and isn’t that what everyone is fighting for equality..

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        • Bikram divorce in India seems to affect women more than it affects men, they are the ones less likely to marry again, more likely to raise the children, more likely to be financially disadvantaged, less likely to be earning (or earning well because they were the ones who could not focus on their careers) etc – so doesn’t this law make their circumstances somewhat equal?

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        • I did not talk of any of that .. I was talking of the Term equality thats all.

          TO me or if I was law , if there is a divorce anything and everything that man or woman hold should be divided half-half, doesnot matter who is working or not working…

          thats the oath taken when one gets married to share and be there for each other .. so when they part it should be halved and I can vouch if this happens the divorce rate will lessen down…

          I just made a comment on the term equality,, how can it be equal if one can do something and the other is denied ..

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        • men and women should have the same rights whether it is the right to appeal or not.

          That would be fair IF AND ONLY IF men and women were somewhat equally affected by a divorce. This is NOT the case in India.

          instead of allowing women to have this option, a better idea would have been to make a settlement mandatory on a woman with meagre resources.

          It is already compulsory. It is a precondition to the divorce.

          Because a woman can file a plea, she will be in many cases forced to do so by her own family who may not want to provide for her in case of her divorce.

          An irrelevant point.

          A woman’s family could force her not to file the plea at all. A woman’s family could force her to wear a white sari and spend the rest of her life counting beads. A woman’s family could force her to file a criminal case against her husband. If we are going to get into the “force” thing, the possibilities are endless.

          Filing the plea doesn’t mean anything at all. It is the judge who must be convinced that there is an insurmountable problem with granting a divorce decree. The family/wife/husband/lawyers get no say in this decision. It is made by a judge and can be appealed.

          The bill clearly says:

          Where the grant of a decree is opposed by virtue of this section, then,—
          (a) if the court finds that the petitioner is entitled to rely on the ground set
          out in section 13C; and
          (b) if, apart from this section, the court would grant a decree on the petition,

          the court shall consider all the circumstances, including the conduct of the parties to the marriage and the interests of those parties and of any children or other persons concerned, and if, the court is of the opinion that the dissolution of the marriage shall result in grave financial hardship to the respondent and that it would, in all the circumstances, be wrong to dissolve the marriage, it shall dismiss the petition, or in an appropriate case stay the proceedings until arrangements have been made to its satisfaction to eliminate the hardship

          If the court finds.
          The court shall consider.
          To the court’s satisfaction.

          It does not matter what the woman wants. If the court doesn’t think there’s a problem, she’s out of luck.
          And convincing a court that alimony cannot cover “grave financial hardship” isn’t exactly a walk in the park.

          You need to have real reasons and a genuine problem.

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        • Fem,

          That’s probably just a result of how the legislature works in India.

          Apparently, no one put forward the view that men could also be in that kind of a situation, and should get an appeal, so no such clause is included. I cannot find any public domain record of deliberations over whether it SHOULD be included.

          Frankly, I think it’s a bit of a non-issue, and nothing will really change even if men are given the right to appeal.

          As samosaofdoom has said, men start out at a huge financial advantage over most women, and aren’t shunned after a divorce like women are. It is incredibly hard to imagine a situation where a man could convince the court that if the marriage were to be broken up, he’d have nowhere to go and would end up destitute.

          In a society where men and women participated in the workforce equally in every way, a gender neutral rule would have been required.

          That’s not how it works though, and a good lawmaker makes rules based on how it is, not how it should be. In this society, it doesn’t matter. The only people who can even hope for such a plea to result in a favorable outcome are women, and not even all women, but very disadvantaged women (not your average, middle-class Mrs Verma from Noida).

          It’s a compromise.

          The main purpose of the bill is to speed up divorce, after all.
          So I suppose they just removed situations which are theoretically possible but practically never seen.

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        • So the plea only works when it is a question of finance and there is no doubt that the woman actually cannot survive without her husband providing for her? As in the example I gave, the man is ready to make a settlement on his wife if the divorce goes through. In that case, the fact that she doesn’t want it on social grounds would not be taken into consideration?

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        • Fem,

          It may be taken into consideration, and she may claim that it would be “wrong in all the circumstances to end the marriage” but I believe it would be extraordinarily difficult to get a favorable judgement without demonstrating valid financial reasons for not ending the marriage (such reasons may be, for example, that her family cannot afford to support her, and that the best possible “fair” settlement that the court can grant – perhaps by giving her a 5-15% larger share in the marital property- is inadequate to support her for any length of time as well, and that she has little chance of gaining employment in the future).

          The stigma factor only really comes into play for people who have nowhere to go, and are literally kicked out of every place apart from their husband’s home.

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    • Agreed Bikram. It only reinforces the idea that marriage is (or must be) more important for women than for men, and men find it easier to break the bond. This is not true. What they could have done instead is to make husbands of non-working women to make a settlement on her if he wants a divorce.

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  3. I woke up to this news this morning and I can’t put it in words how delighted I am about it. It is going to make a big difference in the lives of people like me.

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      • The money that has now been siphoned is lost for good and isn’t part of the divorce case but easier divorce gives me the power to seek legal separation. The property I am to inherit isn’t mine yet so the bill won’t worsen my condition on the property front.

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  4. I just read the bill in full.

    Here’s a link if anyone else is interested in reading it:

    I have to say I’m extremely pleased with it.

    It addresses most of the concerns about men abandoning wives and leaving them penniless, and coupled with equality in marital property, could offer a serious boost to women in troubled marriages.

    Section 13(d) provides that the woman can appeal the divorce decree on the grounds that she would face “extreme financial hardship” and that “it would in all the circumstances be wrong to dissolve the marriage”.
    The first part (financial hardship) is both obvious and necessary.
    The second part is a little vague, but it is presumably meant to provide a little “headroom” for the judge. I think this is necessary too in a country where divorce carries a huge amount of stigma. Men face this stigma too, but at a level which is positively tame compared to what women tend to face. It would be very unfair to force women to face social sanction (and possibly family sanction) by not allowing them to contest the divorce.

    Section 13(e) makes adequate maintenance arrangements a prerequisite to divorce. What is more significant is that apart from minor children, it also includes ” unmarried or widowed daughters who have not the financial resources
    to support themselves” and “children who, because of special condition of their physical or mental health, need looking after and do not have the financial resources to support
    themselves” in the purview of people for whom maintenance can be claimed.

    I think the unmarried daughters part is simply bizarre.

    A healthy adult woman is not the responsibility of her parents. As an adult, she should be responsible for herself. As long as she is perfectly capable of working, there is absolutely no reason that her mother/father should be entitled to maintenance on her account.

    No one fights custody battles for healthy adult children. Then what is the meaning of granting corollary relief on their behalf?

    The part about children with physical and mental disabilities is far more sensible.

    On the whole, it’s a good law, though. For once, a pat on the back for Indian legislators.

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      • I do not think it is overly unfair for reasons I have already pointed out.

        In a patriarchal society, the costs of divorce do not fall equally on both partners.

        It is the woman who must face the brunt of stigma, social sanction, isolation and mental trauma, not the man.

        As well, in a society like India, women tend to be disadvantaged from an economic point of view. It is often the case that the husband simply does not have the means to provide adequate alimony to an ex-wife; some couples are barely making ends meet, even with the substantial cost savings of living together under the same household.

        In such a scenario, it is prudent and fair to safeguard women by allowing them to appeal in cases where they believe they may face grave economic hardship and/or harassment as the result of a divorce they do not want.

        It is important to remember that this is ONLY an appeal, meant to be used in rare cases when the women believes that she would be exceptionally disadvantaged by a divorce.

        The power to appeal is not the same as the power to veto a divorce, nor is it meant to be a routinely used tactic to try and keep an unwilling spouse in a marriage. It is to be accepted only if the judge is convinced that there is no other way.

        The ultimate power is still in the hands of the judge, who must take all aspects of the case in mind. Even if the judge dismisses the divorce petition on the grounds of an appeal, the man can still get a divorce if he later satisfies the JUDGE (not his spouse) that adequate financial arrangements have been made.

        Many people will not be convinced by this argument.

        Let me point out the other options :

        a) Remove a woman’s right to appeal – and thereby leave many women penniless, with no support system whatsoever, as well as a level of social stigma that men simply do not have to face; and

        b) Grant everyone the right to appeal, and thereby dilute the proposed changes to the point of irrelevance.

        Applied well, this law is possibly the fairest compromise one can come up with in an intensely patriarchal society. People who just want a quick exit get that, and the scope for misuse is reduced.

        I would have preferred it to be gender neutral, but I realize that this is simply not in line with the realities of contemporary India. So yes, it is a compromise, but it is a good one. Perhaps our “least worst” option.

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    • That is correct.

      The exact split is always decided by the court, and cannot be legislated upon.

      In cases where there is evidence of abuse or cruelty, the judge may choose to give a larger part of the marital property to the abused spouse.

      Judges also tend to give a larger share to the spouse who bears more economic responsibility, and/or is unlikely to do as well as the other, economically.

      Except in cases of abuse, the split is still almost even. The difference does not, in the vast majority of cases, exceed 15%.

      This is the scenario in the West. I do not know what it will be like in India, but I presume it would be similar.

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  5. YES YES YES! Easier divorce- a much-needed step. Delighted.
    Though I had this debate with my mom and she says “Marriage is not like clothes or movies. That you discard or leave if you dont like it”. Well, since theres no point arguing with her i kept quiet.
    I am not sure about the Equal Rights in Marital Property… I can see the possibilities for abuse of this one🙂

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  6. @Fem – One reason why some women might oppose a divorce is the stigma divorced women face. It is tougher for women to have a family (children, husband) after divorce (in case they want one), so they would rather live with whatever they have than have no family. Men on the other hand can remarry even while they are still married.

    “Not giving a divorce is also the only tool that separated women have to negotiate terms of settlement with their spouse as their legal rights are insignificant.” (from the article below)

    And the settlement is generally not enough, not sure how much this would change.

    For Indian women, divorce is still a raw deal
    The courts can take several years to settle a case and often women cannot afford the several rounds of litigation involved. Even if a woman does go to the court, in most cases it is an “uneven fight” between a man and a woman, she said.

    “Men have more access” to the legal system in India, Ms. Singh said.

    Under the Indian legal system, a separation or divorce entitles a woman to “maintenance” from her spouse, in the form of financial support. The amount requires authorization from a court and is based on the income of the man. But it is the woman who has to produce evidence of her spouse’s earnings before the court.

    In India, where tax authorities estimate just 3 per cent of the population pays personal income tax and “black money” or under-the-table cash is common, the man’s actual earnings are often hidden, Ms. Singh says. Additionally, the wife may not have access to documents that prove what her husband earns, Ms. Singh says. Even if she does, the maintenance amounts are tiny.

    Citing courtroom experience, Ms. Singh says judges generally fix a share of 2 per cent to 10 per cent of the husband’s annual earnings for maintenance amounts.

    When a woman leaves a marriage, unless she is very well to do, “there is very little left to her,” to be able to sustain herself, Ms. Singh notes. The property goes to the person in whose name it is, and in most cases assets are in the name of a man, she points out.
    ….

    Read more at: http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/for-indian-women-divorce-is-still-a-raw-deal-189116&cp&cp

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    • Thanks for the detailed explanation, IHM.

      My take on this is that if women find it easier to divorce, and there are lot more women going separate, the stigma on divorced women will automatically lessen. Parents and relatives cannot any longer force her to make a plea for saving a marriage that might be abusive to her.

      I know of a case where the man is ready to settle any amount on his wife for a divorce and is also ready to share custody of the kids amicably. But the wife is not allowing it because she wants to remain married, no matter that the frustration of this situation is often taken out on her.

      So what we are seeing in this case (and I am sure in many other cases) is an abusive marriage where women are being abused merely because their families want them to stay in an abusive marriage in spite of the man being ready to do his bit for his freedom. This is totally unfair on all parties concerned, including the man.

      NB: I do not condone abuse of the man of his wife, merely pointing out the situation is unfair to both.

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  7. This bill should give a confidence boost to women stuck in bad marriages who stick on for fear of losing financial security. Theoretically we can assume that this will increase the number of divorces we see, since more unhappy wives can see a way out, and in the long run this will be a very good thing because the more the number of divorces, the less will be the stigma associated with it. And perhaps, divorced men and women won’t be looked upon as oddities in our marriage- prescribed society.

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  8. A few problems with the bill:

    1. It should not be MANDATORY that the woman gets a share of the husband’s assets, but has to be decided on a case to case basis.

    Eg: My wife and I keep our finances strictly separate. We share the electricity bills, food bills, I pay for my purchases, she pays for hers, we invest separately etc.

    In our case, it would be an injustice for her to have to a share in my assets in case we get a divorce. And since laws are meant for everyone, no one can say that this is a “fringe case”. All laws have to cover fringe cases too. That’s because laws are applicable to “everyone” in the country and not just a select portion.

    2. NEITHER the woman nor the man should have the right to oppose a divorce on grounds of “irretrievable breakdown”. No human should be forced to remain in a marriage for the sake of the other. Of course, we have concepts like maintenance and property division, child support etc which will ensure that the woman (or the man) doesn’t suffer financially.

    The courts or the laws should not be pandering to the “social stigma” aspect of marriage. That is a societal prejudice and not one the government or the laws should adopt.

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    • The courts or the laws should not be pandering to the “social stigma” aspect of marriage. That is a societal prejudice and not one the government or the laws should adopt.

      Completely disagree.

      A sensitive government must always take into account prevalent social prejudices when formulating legislation to safeguard the interests of a disadvantaged community.

      The “pandering” is fair.

      Social stigma is a real, not abstract, concept and it causes real mental and economic harm to divorced women, which far exceeds the harm it causes to divorced men.

      The government cannot just close its eyes to social reality. It is simply not justifiable to put a person into a position where she must suffer abuse and social sanction via a legal decree, even when it is formally acknowledged that there was no fault on her part. There must exist some mechanism whereby such a person can appeal the decree that puts her in that miserable situation.

      The law provides that mechanism, and I think it is all to the good.

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      • That’s a very short sighted way of looking at matters. By acknowledging and pandering to social sitgma, the government gives it life, gives it oxygen to breath, and ensures its continued existence.

        Look at reservations. The caste system in India will NEVER go away until reservations are abolished. Why? Because the reservations system keeps hammering it into people’s heads that the caste system is alive, well and thriving. There’s no opportunity to let it die out naturally. There’s no chance of the next generation “forgetting” about the caste system. Not until the government itself “forgets” it.

        Take the case of blacks in the US just 50 years ago. They were second class citizens, were forced to sit in the back seats of buses LEGALLY, had to use different bathrooms LEGALLY etc. In many ways, their case was worse than what SCs and STs had in India at the same time.

        After the landmark case in 1965, discrimination was abolished and 40 years later, look at them! They’ve progressed so much. Color considerations are greatly removed from US society. No reservations…nothing. Just a law banning discrimination universally. No special privileges for blacks etc.

        Laws once created, are notoriously hard to change. The caste system will NEVER go from India…all because the government acknowledged it in law instead of just banning discrimination.

        Pandering to social prejudices might seem like the right thing to do in the short term, but it causes incalculable harm in the long term. It prevents anything from ever getting better.

        By enshrining the lower status of a woman after divorce in law, you can be assured that it will sink into the consciousness of people who have never thought about it till now and even the next generation.

        Congratulations.

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        • I don’t think reservation is responsible for continuation of caste system and the atrocities, Dalit rapes and bias that we see against so called lower castes. I am sure it is better to be employed and be seen as lower castes than be deprived while being treated as untouchables. The bias based on caste, religion and gender thrived for centuries even without any reservation.

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        • So you claim that it is okay to force people to suffer because this may, in the long term, improve their status?

          It is not okay to provide them a helping hand now, because this will hurt them in the future?

          Isn’t this a horribly condescending view of things?

          With all due respect, the analogy with reservations is a straw man.

          Appealing against an injunction that has the potential to harm you more than the complainant is NOT a special privilege. It is a right that is granted to everyone within the legal system, from the vilest criminal to the innocent respondent.

          I really do not understand what is “short-sighted” about acknowledging prejudices that do, after all, exist, and providing people with some measure of legal remedy against having to face these prejudices against their will.

          In many rural settings, divorced women are arguably treated just as badly as dalits. If someone is going to force you to become a dalit in a setting where such things really matter, should you not be allowed to appeal it? Why not? How would allowing you to appeal exacerbate pre-existing divisions? Even if it did exacerbate those divisions, should you be disallowed from appealing?

          In any case, the amended bill itself does not even mention social stigma, so let us not waste any more breath talking about that.
          I suggest you read it, as I have, just a while ago. It’s not that bad.

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        • @Praveen,

          If the problem is discrimination against divorced women as you say, then make a law outlawing discrimination with criminal fines…the way it’s done elsewhere in the world where discrimination is encountered.

          Don’t try and give a woman special privileges by forcing a husband to remain married to her even if he doesn’t want to. That kind of law is crying out to be abused.

          And when you say “force people to suffer”, you’re only talking about social suffering presumably. Not financial or physical. In which case, yes – the state shouldn’t interfere in “social suffering”. It should ensure that the woman doesn’t suffer financially or physically or be treated in a discriminatory manner. That’s it.

          Take care of these and the “social suffering” will end by itself.

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        • “Look at reservations. The caste system in India will NEVER go away until Look at The caste system in India will NEVER go away until reservations are abolished. Why? Because the reservations system keeps hammering it into people’s heads that the caste system is alive, well and thriving. There’s no opportunity to let it die out naturally. There’s no chance of the next generation “forgetting” about the caste system. Not until the government itself “forgets” it.”

          In essence what you seem to be saying that laws should not be enacted because they would highlight the problem they mean to prevent. By that logic, no law should ever be enacted because people will keep remembering there is a problem because the law exists.

          The purpose of the law in this case is to level the playing field. You may argue that this method of levelling does not work and therefore oppose it. But to oppose it because it doesn’t allow anyone to forget that an unequal playing field exists sounds ridiculous to me.

          You seem to think that if the reservation law didn’t exist, the problem would disappear. If only. The problem exists and will continue to exist without reservation because the caste system privileges one set of people and privileged people do not let their advantages go easily. Reservation may not be the ideal solution to the problem but it is not the cause of the problem as you seem to suggest.

          “Take the case of blacks in the US just 50 years ago. They were second class citizens, were forced to sit in the back seats of buses LEGALLY, had to use different bathrooms LEGALLY etc. In many ways, their case was worse than what SCs and STs had in India at the same time.”

          You seem to be speaking in ignorance of what Dalits go through even now. I don’t see how the case of the blacks was worse…because that sort of discrimination was legal in India until the Constitution post-Independence, which happened in the 50s around the same time as the civil rights movement in the US, I think. In fact, blacks in the US and Dalits in India found common cause on many issues.

          “After the landmark case in 1965, discrimination was abolished and 40 years later, look at them! They’ve progressed so much. Color considerations are greatly removed from US society. No reservations…nothing. Just a law banning discrimination universally. No special privileges for blacks etc.”

          There is a concept called affirmative action in the US and it is controversial but those who have seen how it made a positive difference would argue for it just as those who have seen the same results from reservations for the Dalits would argue for it.

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        • It is a common misconception that there’s no form of “discrimination” in US. As ‘The Bride’ points out, you need to read up on ‘affirmatve action’ that universities there resort to to pick up students not just on merit but also on race and ethnicity.

          The purpose of reservations is not just to produce a meritocratic society but a meritocratic and an egalitarian one. Reservations have been beneficial in removing caste barriers. The cut-off marks for Maharastra UPSC for both general category students and those from reserved sections are almost the same, so much so that it doesn’t matter if you are born a brahmin or a dalit.

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      • “Affirmative action” as per US law is VERY different from reservations. Several US judges have clarified over the years that affirmative action is NOT quotas or reservations. For those interested, wikipedia has a good article on affirmative action which clearly explains why it’s not the same as reservations as well as comparisons with India’s system.

        In short, the argument that the US has a similar system in place like India is plain wrong.

        @The Bride

        I’m not saying that real financial or physical injuries and discrimination should be ignored. If you read what I’ve been saying, you’ll clearly see that I support general laws for non discrimination.

        My basic point is this: Social discrimination CANNOT exist for long if there is no financial or physical discrimination. “Social” discrimination can be dealt with as long as a person is treated fairly in terms of money and fundamental rights.

        Let people treat dalits, unmarried women etc with equality as far as FINANCIAL cases are concerned and as far as REGULAR PHYSICAL transactions are concerned and no one will care if they hate them or don’t interact with them.

        The progress of other groups around the world show that when an oppressed section has equal access to financial laws/physical rights, the rest will correct itself over time.

        Similarly, the laws in India have to make sure the woman is financially secure after divorce and that she’s not discriminated against via job selection etc… Forget about “social stigma”. No one will care about that once these are taken care of.

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  9. A good decision!! I guess it particularly will help because all the work that goes in maintaining, building a home is unpaid and often, unrecognized!
    Also, at the cost of sounding stupid, what does “lip service” mean? in
    “Women’s contribution in acquiring of marital property is generally not acknowledged (beyond occasional lip service).”

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  10. This is a wonderful thing, except….
    for the part where a woman can appeal a divorce. It would have been perfect if it said she can combine or add a clause for hardship and support/division of property tacked on to the divorce, but by no means should anyone be able to appeal the divorce itself.

    C’mon he DOESN’T WANT YOU, doesn’t want to have anything to do with you, yes he said he would stick by you for good or bad, now he changed his mind, get support, divide the property and give him his freedom. everything else is very unfair to the man.

    One of our friends is going thru a divorce, the husband MADe the wife quit her job, MADE her stay home to raise kids, egged on by the mom. he’s a spineless jerk. Now he wants to divorce her, he wants to remarry someone else. and the wife is stalling. is that fair ?

    In my mind : NO. she can take him for all his wealth, get her revenge, make him provide a lifetime of support for loss of her job, loss of skill and future sustenance, but in no way can she stop him from pursuing his happiness ( or rather the unhappiness of his soon to be wife🙂 )

    yes historically women are the underdogs in a divorce but that doesn’t mean men have to be punished, the law made them unedrdogs, now straighten the law.don’t swing the other way.

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    • radha,

      The appeal option is not MEANT for people like her!

      An educated woman who has actually worked in the past and is probably from a reasonably well-off middle class background would find it well near impossible to even claim any substantial corollary relief (“maintenance”) in case of a divorce, unless she brought up the abuse issues.

      Do you think she could actually go and convince a court of law that she’d be in financial trouble if the course dissolved the marriage?

      yes historically women are the underdogs in a divorce but that doesn’t mean men have to be punished

      It’s not about punishing men, or correcting some great historical wrong.

      It’s much more real than that. It’s simply about safeguarding women from having to live on the streets.

      And I’m not talking about women who live in the suburbs and can fall back on family resources in times of crisis.

      I’m talking about women who literally have nowhere else to go.

      Nearly half of all divorced women in India have no regular income, and of the other half, 28% live on less than $50 a month (an amount that mid-level associates at my firm earn every forty minutes or so).

      Very often, their parents do not welcome them, and they have to live with other relatives who tolerate their presence. Remarriage is, in many cases, a virtual impossibility. They are condemned to a lonely future, where they must single-handedly raise a child, on a pittance of an alimony.

      Do you blame them for wanting to stay married, even if it is abusive?

      Is it too much to ask that they be allowed to plead their case if they want to stay in the one place which they can call home, in the one place where they can make their children feel secure, in the place where they will not be continually taunted and shunned?

      For many women, the situation really is that desperate. It goes beyond abstract conceptions of happiness, and appropriateness of relationships. It is about survival. Hard as it is for people like us to believe, these are the people who form the bulk of the cases in court.

      And those are the people this law is for.

      Not for smart, educated women who want to cling to their husband purely because of outmoded social conditioning. That is bad enough, but it’s not the worst thing there is.

      Like

      • It seems you agree that if a woman is taken care of financially after marriage, nothing else matters. We don’t have to care about things like “being shunned”, “social stigma” etc, as long as she has money enough for herself and her children and is not being discriminated against in everyday transactions.

        Am I right in thinking this is what you mean? If so, then how does giving a woman the right to appeal a divorce further this goal as long as the ancillary actions of a divorce provide for property division, maintenance and alimony?

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  11. IHM,

    I have a question regarding women being able to appeal a divorce plea and the men not. Does this not reinforce the “get married, stay married” attitude ? Given the accompanying law, that a woman will get equal share in property acquired during marital years, why would she want to stay on in an obviously broken relationship?

    Maybe I am naive, but in my mind not having this clause would benefit women more… parents of girls will no longer be able to depend upon marriage as the ‘secure life’ option and thus will actually focus more on making daughters independent (career, financially). When marriage doesn’t offer this (albeit imagined) kind of life-long security, parents might actually stop spending obscene amounts to get her married and rather spend it to make her independent. Secure future of their girls will not be ensured in marriage, so they will look for other options.

    Like

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  14. Who Says So ?

    Who says Mumbai is lagging behind the US of A ?
    At least not in the matter of divorce
    28,465 marriages were registered in Mumbai during 2011-2012
    In same period , 11,546 divorce cases were filed
    But at 40 % , that is a significant improvement over 2010-2011 !
    When the percentage was 46 % ( 10,892 divorce cases against 23,743 marriage registrations )
    At this rate , India’s commercial capital may soon overtake America’s entertainment capital Las Vegas – also famous for its quickie divorces !
    Hum kisise kum nahi !

    With regards

    hemen parekh

    Jobs for All = Peace on Earth

    Like

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  23. This bill is not cleared in Lok Sabha and signed int a Law. Until then rejoicing is not meaningful. Western countries have passed similar laws in the 1970’s and 1980’s. We are still way behind them inn accepting the importance of women in the society. Husband rarely acknowledges his wife. It is only the sun who will acknowledge his mother, that too after his marriage and to keep his wife at his control. This kind sick thinking is what retards India. A woman should have equal right and equal access to all the property of the husband during marriage. A married man by Law should not be allowed to have a single bank account, or acquire property (house, land, business), singularly. The wife should be legally a partner of all the assets and there should be law to do this within a month of marriage.

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    • once think about your father and brothers.is they did not do anything for you.
      no more male and female.we are family always loves us.and no more support to gender bias laws.these lays are made for votes.they will do anything for it.even they will touch our feet for votes.

      Like

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