Oppression and suppression of women are still a reality in marriages. Even though India is paving its way towards being a gender-neutral country but some ounces of patriarchy still exist. This can be substantiated from the fact stated in the National Family Health Survey-5 which is that Spousal Violence has seen an increasing trend in five states, namely Sikkim, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, and Karnataka where Karnataka is a state that has shown the largest increase in cases of spousal violence, from 20.6% in NFHS-4 to 44.4% in NFHS-5.
It is advisable to break free from the clutches of a bad marriage rather than suffering each day. Divorce can be quite taxing for both the spouses not only emotionally but also economically. Divorce can happen because of any reason be it compatibility issues or cruelty or violence in the marriage. Women may face many difficulties and challenges while making their way out of a divorce. This maybe sometimes due to societal reasons while in other types economic and financial reasons come into play. It is imperative that the woman must be aware of her rights after a divorce to truly feel empowered and prevent exploitation at the hands of the other party.
DIVORCE AND ITS TYPES
Divorce is mainly of two types – one is a mutual consent divorce and the other is a contested divorce. The couple can also opt for a divorce through mediation wherein they decide all the issues together through a settlement.
MUTUAL CONSENT DIVORCE
This type of divorce is filed when the spouses mutually agree to file for a divorce. The husband and wife together petition for a mutual consent divorce. In order to opt for a mutual consent divorce, the couple must be living separately at least for a year and must prove that their marriage cannot be reconciled.
THIS TYPE OF DIVORCE IS FILED WHEN A PARTY WISHES TO TAKE A DIVORCE ON GROUNDS LIKE CRUELTY, DESERTION, ADULTERY, RENUNCIATION OF WORLD, IMPOTENCY, CONVERSION, MENTAL DISORDER, ETC. THIS TYPE OF DIVORCE CAN ALSO BE FILED WHEN ONE PARTY WISHES TO GET A DIVORCE WHILE THE OTHER REFUSES TO DO SO.
RIGHTS OF A WOMAN AFTER A DIVORCE
Article 21 of the Constitution guarantees every individual the right to live life with dignity. The same right is also mentioned under other laws and Conventions, like UDHR and the ICCPR. It is very important that to protect this right, a woman must be aware of her rights after the divorce. Some of these rights include-
RIGHT TO STREEDHAN
Streedhan refers to all the gifts including money, jewellery, property(movable/immovable) which the wife gets at the time of the marriage. The woman has ownership rights to her streedhan and is entitled to claim it after her divorce. The streedhan includes the gifts that the wife receives from both the sides i.e., her own family and from the in-laws’ side even though they are in the custody of the husband’s family. anis nothing but all the gifts which the wife gets in the form of money, ornaments, property, etc at the time of the marriage. It does not matter that who has the possession of the streedhan but the ownership of it lies with the woman receiving it. Streedhan is different from divorce as it is voluntary in nature while the divorce is forceful in nature.
RIGHT TO MAKE A CLAIM FOR MAINTENANCE/ ALIMONY-
Maintenance is a fixed amount which the husband is obligated to pay to the wife after the divorce. It is decided by the court depending upon various factors like income of the husband, income of the wife, living standards of the couple, children out of the marriage, etc. it is either paid periodically or as a lump sum amount. Maintenance can be of two types- one is interim maintenance and the other is permanent maintenance. Interim maintenance is paid from the date of initiation of the suit till its final disposal. It is a maintenance which is to be paid for the duration while the case is pending in the court. The other maintenance is the permanent maintenance which is to be paid in a lump sum or periodic manner.
- Right to Contest for the Child Custody
Child custody in generic terms is deciding who the child will physically reside after the divorce. Wife can claim the right to the custody of child by proving that it is in the best interest of the child that it remains with the mother. Our lawyers at RCIC can help you in contesting for the custody of the child. It is very important that in such cases all terms are carefully drafted and accepted. Our dedicated team of divorce and family law lawyers can help you at each step of your divorce.
RIGHT TO CLAIM AN INTERIM MAINTENANCE-
Interim maintenance refers to the maintenance which needs to be paid during the pendency of the suit. The wife can claim interim maintenance at any time during the pendency of the suit. This maintenance is mainly for the basic sustenance of the wife during the pendency of the suit. She may also claim the fees for litigation i.e., the fees paid to the lawyer, if the husband has a better financial status.
RIGHT TOWARDS RESPECT AND DIGNITY-
Article 21 is enshrined in the Constitution to prevent inhumane and derogatory treatment. A woman has a right to live with respect and dignity in marriage or even after a divorce.
RIGHT TO CLAIM FOR THE CHILD MAINTENANCE-
The custody of the child refers to the physical custody of the child after the divorce. It is a decision made by the court in the best interests of the child. If the mother gets the custody of the child, she has all the right to claim child maintenance from the father. This maintenance caters to the needs of the child including school fees, living expenses, etc.