Divorce is a process by which the marriage between two adults comes to an end, which may be solemnized under different laws. Hindus, which include Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists, are governed by the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, while Christians are governed by the Indian Divorce Act of 1869 and the Indian Christian Marriage Act of 1872.
Section 13B, inserted in the Hindu Marriage Act in 1976 to introduce divorce through mutual consent, provides for a total of 18 months before a decree for divorce can be passed.
Under Section 13B(1), a divorce petition can be moved by a couple following a judicial separation of one year. This may be followed by another six-month waiting period under Section 13B(2) for getting a decree.
The divorce proceedings can take place by adopting two procedures, which are as follows:
Mutual divorce is a legal process of separation when both the husband and wife want to separate with their own will after marriage. It is called divorce with mutual consent. Both husband and wife can apply for divorce with mutual consent.
Contested Divorce or divorce without mutual consent is filed without the prior approval of either spouse (husband or wife). Common grounds for filing such a divorce petition are cruelty, adultery, desertion, conversion, mental disorder, communicable disease, presumption of death, or renouncing the world.
The Procedure for Filing for Mutual Divorce:
Important Issues to Be Settled Before Proceeding:
Child Custody: Which partner will get child custody after divorce?
Alimony/Maintenance: If one of the partners is unable to meet his daily expenses, then the other needs to pay him a certain sum of money as alimony (a one-time settlement or monthly payment). It is subject to mutual understanding between the partners (husband and wife).
Settlement of Property and Assets: Settling the ownership rights of property and assets like dwelling house, bank accounts, and movable assets between the parties (Husband and wife)
Requirement of Documents for filing Mutual Divorce Petition:
Address Proof: Husband and Wife
Four Photographs of Marriage
Income tax statement for the last 3 years
Details of profession and Income (Salary slips, appointment letter)
Details of Property and Assets owned
Information about family (husband and wife)
Evidence of Staying separately for a year
Evidence relating to the failed attempts at reconciliation
Where can the Mutual Divorce Petition be filed?
Where the couple was last residing as husband and wife,
Where the husband or wife is presently residing.
Steps to be undertaken to dissolve the marriage by mutual consent: