Should couples’ assets be treated as joint property?

Traditionally whatever belongs to either of the couple, belongs to both, but generally the husband and his family have the right to decide how it is to be spent or invested.

And traditionally in case of a separation the wife’s biggest fears are financial insecurity – many Indian marriages ‘survive’ because the woman has no way to support herself and their children, often scarring the children as in this case. Legally the non-earning partner, husband or wife, gets maintenance in case of separation, but nearly always women find it difficult to get maintenance and so they avoid separating/divorce unless they can financially support themselves.

The Planning Commission’s working group on Women’s Agency and Empowerment wants a comprehensive legislation – ‘Right to Marital Property Act’ – to be brought in which would be applicable to all communities.[ TOI] Link shared via phone by my friend Anita Rao.

Some of the comments below the article seemed concerned that women might marry and divorce to get 50% of the husbands’ property, but this would apply to both the spouses, now that more and more women are earning.

A large number of women are working and earning and often their earnings are treated like their husband’s salary. (Ananya- Shravan Kumar’s one objection to his sister in law was that she did not hand over her pay to the mother in law). Also women who are not earning are still working – caring for the couple’s children and atleast one set of parents (often the husband’s).

Anna, 49 is a working woman and divorcee raising her teenage son alone, and she says that “you can make a marital contract wherein whatever you bring into the marriage, remains yours and whatever you acquire together in your marriage is shared fifty-fifty in case of a separation or divorce.”  What do you think?

What do you think of the Right to Marital Property Act?

Related posts:

An email from a daughter whose mother endured everything because she did not want to ruin her daughters’ lives.

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.

Never! I don’t want his money! – Preethi  (Women’s Web)

Unmana – On women and financial freedom.

Richa – Lady let the man handle your finances.

“My wife often rakes up property issues, or rues the expenses on my father’s ill-health.”

Another email. When an Indian daughter-in-law has no brothers.