Divorce means the legal cessation of the matrimonial bond. Since India is home to diverse religious communities having distinct matrimonial laws, the divorce procedure also varies.
- All Hindus, as well as Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains, are governed by the Hindu Marriage Act 1955.
- Muslims are governed by Muslim Personal Law and Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939.
- Christians are governed by the Indian Divorce Act, 1869 and The Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872.
- Parsis are governed by The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936.
An Indian couple can voluntarily seek to be governed by the Special Marriage Act, 1954 if they belong to different religious communities and also if the couple does not desire to perform obligations under specific personal law. Besides, there is also the Foreign Marriage Act 1969, which governs divorce laws in marriages where either partner belongs to another nationality.
There are two ways of obtaining Divorce in India: –
- Divorce by Mutual Consent
- Divorce without Mutual Consent or Contested Divorce
DIVORCE BY MUTUAL CONSENT:
Seeking divorce in India is an overlong legal affair where the entire process takes a statutory minimum of six months. Nevertheless, the time and money required to obtain a divorce can be substantially curtailed if the couple agrees to seek divorce by mutual consent. Where the couple finds it correct and expedient to obtain a divorce without having to face harassment and endure the long fetched legal process, they can approach Family Court by filing divorce by mutual consent. Generally, the duration of a divorce by mutual consent varies from 6 to 8 months, depending on the discretion of the court. It has usually been the preference of the courts to end mutual consent divorces sooner, rather than later.
Divorce without Mutual Consent or Contested Divorce:
Unlike Divorce by Mutual Consent, in Contested Divorce only one party contests the claim as there is no question of mutual consent. In this case, divorce can only be obtained when the petition is made on some specific grounds. The aggrieved party has to take one of the specified grounds of divorce and will have to file the case in the Court of competent jurisdiction. It may be noted that the party which files the case has to prove the case in light of supporting evidence and documents. It is only after successfully proving the case, divorce will be granted.
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