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Maintentance in Divorce

Maintenance pendente lite and expenses of proceedings:-
Where in any proceeding under this Act it appears to the Court that either the wife or the husband, as the case may be, has no independent income sufficient for her or his support and the necessary expenses of the proceeding, it may, on the application of the wife or the husband, order the respondent to pay the petitioner the expenses of the proceeding such sum as, having regard to the petitioner's own income and the income of the respondent, it may seem to the Court to be reasonable.

Sec.25 Of Hindu Marriage Act 1955 Permanent alimony and maintenance:- (1) Any court exercising jurisdiction under this Act may, at the time of passing any decree or at any time subsequent thereto, on application made to it for the purposes by either the wife or the husband, as the case may be, order that the respondent shall pay to the applicant for her or his maintenance and support such gross sum or such monthly or periodical sum for a term not exceeding the life of the applicant as, having regard to the respondent's own income and other property of the applicant, the conduct of the parties and other circumstances of the case, it may seem to the Court to be just, and any such payment may be secured, if necessary, by a charge on the immoveable property of the respondent.

(2) If the Court is satisfied that there is a change in the circumstances of either party at any time after it has made an order under sub-section (1), it may at the instance of either party, vary, modify or rescind any such order in such manner as the court may deem just.

(3) If the Court is satisfied that the party in whose favour an order has been made under this Section has re-married or, if such party is the wife, that she has not remained chaste or if such party is the husband, that he has had sexual intercourse with any woman outside wedlock, it may at the instance of the other party vary, modify or rescind any such order in
such manner as the court may deem just.

The following are the conditions depending on which alimony is awarded by the court.

  • Alimony is generally not granted to the seeking spouse if he or she is already receiving support during the time of divorce. Although the rewarding of alimony can be revised in such events based on the arguments for claiming the support.
  • In case of a contested divorce, often spouses fail to come to any understanding regarding alimony. In such situations, the court takes up the task of making a decision on the amount of alimony to be paid.
  • Only under certain compelling situations the court steps out to change the already framed alimony. Some times the court might even hand over the burden of paying for the maintenance to a public body.

The following are the factors that influence the duration and amount to be paid as alimony.

  • The amount and duration of alimony generally depends upon how long the marriage existed. Marriages that lasted more than 10 years are entitled to be granted a life long alimony.
  • Age of the spouse is also taken into consideration while awarding alimony. Normally a young recipient of alimony gets it for a short period of time if the court thinks that he or she will soon be able to become financially sound trough prospective career excellence.
  • Alimony is also in vogue in order to equalize the economic condition of both the spouses. The higher earning spouse is entitled to pay a heavy amount as alimony.
  • The spouse who is projected to be enjoying a prosperous career is liable to pay high alimony amount.
  • If one of the spouses is suffering from poor health, the other is subjected to payment of high alimony to ensure proper medication and well being of the other spouse.

The terms and conditions of payment of alimony in India vary from one personal law to another. None of the Indian personal laws are spared from criticism due to existence of flaws in framing definite rules for granting alimony. The Shah Bano case is one such instance that exposes how the sustenance of a divorced woman is affected due to inclusion of inappropriate laws regarding post divorce maintenance and financial support.