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    Like marriage, divorce is also one of the major decisions in life. But unlike marriage, divorce is mostly a disturbing and painful experience.

    Despite it being so troublesome, the steep high in a number of divorce cases is a proof of the fact that it has become a normal thing in today’s modern times.

    Contested Divorce Process in India is No more a Taboo

    We have come too far from the place where Divorce was unknown to the laws of the Dharmashastras, as marriage was regarded as an indissoluble union of the husband and wife, to where sometimes divorce becomes mandatory to save the sanity of the spouses and even psychologists recommend divorce as a solution for it.

    Also read:
    Legality of Arya Samaj Marriage

    What is Contested Divorce?

    When you find that you are not willing to continue the marriage and not sure of reaching a point where you can decide to go for mutual consent divorce with your partner, you can file a petition for Dissolution of marriage. This is known as Contested Divorce.

    Divorce Laws in India

    In India, just like marriage, laws for the divorce also are based on different religions followed by the people. We have encoded laws for divorce under different religions and believes.

    In absence of a uniform civil code, matters of divorce are resolved under these various laws:

    • Divorce among Parsis by the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936.
    • Divorce among Christians by Indian Divorce Act, 1869.
    • Divorce among Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains is governed by the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
    • Divorce among Muslims by the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939.
    • Divorce among all the other Civil and inter-community marriages are governed by the Special Marriage Act, 1956.

    What are the Grounds for Divorce?

    Section 13, of The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 provides the grounds to obtain the decree of divorce, which are as follows:

    • Adultery – During the course of the marriage, if one spouse has voluntary sexual intercourse with any other person other than his or her spouse, it becomes a ground for divorce and even a single act of adultery is sufficient to form it a ground, it doesn’t need to be regular in nature.
    • Cruelty – After the Amendment of Marriage laws Act, 1976 cruelty is also a ground of divorce. Cruelty to form a ground of divorce should be up to the extent where cohabitation becomes impossible. It includes actual or threatened physical violence, verbal abuse and insult, excessive sexual intercourse, unreasonable refusal to sexual intercourse, or sexual dissatisfaction because of physical inability of another spouse.
    • Desertion – If any of the spouse starts living separately and stays continuously for 2 years from the other spouse without any reasonable cause it means that he/she has deserted the other spouse and it becomes a ground for divorce.
    • Conversion – If any of the spouse changes the religion after marriage and the other spouse doesn’t act in accordance with that change. Such conversion of religion can also be a ground for divorce.
    • Unsound mind- If any of the spouse has incurable unsoundness of mind either continuous or intermittent to the extent that the petitioner cannot reasonably persist cohabitation. It becomes a ground of divorce. Though the degree of mental disorder will be assessed by the court before giving the decree of divorce under this ground.
    • LeprosyIf any of the spouse suffers from serious leprosy which is incurable or in extremely severe form, it becomes a firm ground of divorce.
    • Venereal disease If any of the spouse is suffering from any sexually transmitted disease, then also the decree of divorce can be granted in favour of petitioner.
    • Renunciation of worldIf any of the spouse has renounced the world by entering any religious order, and have become a Sanyasi/Baba/Devotee by performing the rituals resulting into  Civil Death of such person then the other spouse can file the petition on the basis of such renunciation.
    • Presumption of death- If any of the spouse has disappeared forming the reasonable grounds for the other spouse to believe that he/she is dead. It makes a ground of divorce. In such cases court makes sure that sufficient enquiries have been made as to find out about the whereabouts of the respondent and it’s been a period of seven years or more, only then the decree of divorce may be passed.
    • Judicial separation– If the husband and wife have not resumed cohabitation for a period of one year or more after the passing of the decree for judicial separation in a proceeding to which they were parties before filing the case for divorce.
    • Failure to comply with the order of restitution of conjugal rights- In case any of the spouse against whom the decree of restitution of conjugal rights has been passed by the court does not comply with the decree within one year then it becomes a ground for divorce.
    • Grounds available to women only- Section 13(2) provides some additional grounds on which a wife may present a petition for the dissolution of her marriage:
      1. Bigamy-If the husband has remarried and the other wife is alive at the time of the presentation of the petition.
      2. If the husband is guilty of rape, sodomy or bestiality since the performance of the marriage.
      3. A wife is also entitled to get divorce if there is any failure to act in accordance with some previous order of court by the husband.
      4. If the wife is below 15 years at the time of marriage then, she can refuse to accept the marriage after attaining the age of 15 years but before attaining the age of 18 years.

    Why is it important to know Contested Divorce Processes and Laws related to it?

    It’s important to be aware of these grounds if someone has decided to contest divorce. Above mentioned grounds not only help to get a decree of divorce but also they play a vital role in deciding about alimony and child custody issues after or during the process of Divorce. For more information on this matter, you can get in touch with the team of Lexcarts. Call us on 9828065532 or write a mail on contactus@lexcarts.com.

    Explanation: 

    1. Cohabitation means the state of living together.
    2. Presumption means an idea that is taken to be true or the way something is perceived.
    3. Intermittent means occurring at irregular intervals or occasional.
    4. Renunciation means the formal rejection of something, giving up or abandonment.

    Author:  Aparna Praveen Kumar
    Aparna is a chief legal advisor at Lexcarts Technologies. She has experience of interviewing senior high court judges and legal personalities. Her articles got published in Hindustan Times and other leading national dailies. At Lexcarts, she furnishes advice on all legal issues and is fully devoted to legal ethics. 

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