An email – “Divorce by Mutual Consent: How to protect my child’s interests?”

Sharing an email, please help with advice and information. 

Dear IHM,

After almost eleven years of a passive abusive relationship, I have finally decided to go ahead and seek judicial separation, however I am concerned about my 7 years old daughter’s future considering I have nobody on my side of the family. I have no siblings and my mother is 70.

I am highly qualified but not working due to mental health issues (depression) and some medical issues.

My husband is apparently in a relationship with someone but he has never admitted and I have no evidence to prove it. How can evidence be collected for adultery?

What all conditions must be put in a mutual settlement agreement for the safety of my little girls’ future? Her father owns no immovable property, only monetary savings etc.

He is in a private sector job which he is about to quit (seems to avoid paying alimony/maintenance.)

What should I do?

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7 thoughts on “An email – “Divorce by Mutual Consent: How to protect my child’s interests?”

  1. Dear LW,

    I am sorry that you have to go through this. Being in a stressful situation is bound to get you in depression.Its sad that he is looking for ways to avoid maintenance for his own daughter. Have you spoken to him regarding the savings for the child? I think only a lawyer will be able to answer how to collect evidence for adultery. There is limited information regarding your health. What are the medical issues and how serious are they? Have you started counseling or therapy for your depression? Do you have savings to go by till you are better and ready to take up a job?

    Like

    • There has been a verbal agreement about putting some percentage of his savings for her but that’s only verbal still and I know the instances of even written agreements not fully valued is quite high. Yes I have been into therapy for the last few months , ever since I also lost a parent this year. Health issues are genetic that restrict my options for jobs that demand everyday commuting or lot of physical stress. Luckily I have some inheritance to fall back on.

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  2. Dear LW,

    I do not have the qualification required to answer your question about the settlement agreement to ensure the safety of your daughter’s future, I am sure your lawyer will be able to help you with that. I understand that you have some inheritance and your daughter’s father might provide for her as well. You have also written about your physical and mental health conditions that makes it difficult for you to take up certain kind of jobs. However, if possible please try to keep yourself involved in some work, apart from housework. Perhaps some job – part time/voluntary to make use of any of your skills/qualification that keeps you engaged may add meaning to your life during this phase of transition.

    Good luck.

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  3. Dear LW, you have not mentioned which city you are based out of. I live in Mumbai, and have an acquaintance who approached Majlis, a women’s legal aid non-profit founded by Flavia Agnes.

    This acquaintance told me that Majlis was able to secure a sizeable settlement for her (she was in an abusive marriage) and that it isextremely wwwell-regarded in Mumbai’s family courts.

    If possible, please pay them a visit. If you reside in another city, you can nevertheless approach them for help and advice. You should be able to access their contact information by googling “Majlis”.

    My own divorce was facilitated by a lawyers’ collective called the Alternative Law Forum (ALF), based out of Bangalore.

    My lawyer told me matter of factly that a divorce by mutual consent would be my best option, if money wasn’t a consideration. Men employ all kinds of tricks to wriggle out of alimony and child support.

    For men like your husband and my ex, a soon-to-be ex wife is just an inconvenience, and you should be prepared to witness the worst kind of behaviour from him. Remember to detach your emotions — only then will you be able to secure a fair deal for your daughter. Be absolutely single-minded and unflinching in your resolve to do so.

    Your ex will try to paint you to be a heartless gold-digger, all because you expect child support. Many women lose their resolve in the face of such skullduggery. Remember that you are entitled to child support, and be prepared for your character to be maligned. Don’t be deterred, or feel guilty, for asking for what you are rightfully owed.

    It going to be a long haul — in all probability, you have no idea of his finances, and no means to access bank accounts or investments.

    I would advise you to not be hasty. This is like a game of chess — you have to catch your opponent unawares. Don’t give your plans away. Meticulously gather information about his financial holdings — payslips, IT returns, bank statements.

    Were you a joint holder in his bank accounts/investments? Proceed slowly. Consult a good lawyer. Start maintaining a journal — chronical all instances of abuse in great detail. Start building a case.

    I hope this helps. In fact, to other words reading this — stay abreast of your family’s finances. Insist on being a joint holder in all your husband’s bank accounts, investments and property.

    Most women realise the importance of this only when it is too late.

    Like

    • Some excellent advice reg the emotional angle (I am not qualified to talk about the legal part). LW, be ruthless when negotiating if need be, since your daughter’s future is at stake. It might even be a good idea to jot down things – it is easy to forget in a stressful situation.

      Best wishes and hope all ends well for you at the end of this tough ride.

      Like

    • Hi,
      Do you (or anyone else in the IHM community) know of a similar lawyer’s collective in Delhi/NCR? Am contemplating divorce myself and am at sea regarding supportive, smart counsel.
      Thanks.

      Like

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