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How to End a Marriage in India?

हिंदी में पढ़ें
August 15, 2022
By Advocate Chikirsha Mohanty



Marriages are considered to be pious in India. They are believed to be an eternal bond that lasts not only for this lifetime but also for the lives to come. Couples may want to end their marriage due to incompatibility issues or for that matter any other reason. In India, marriages are governed by personal laws depending upon the religion of the person. There are commonly two methods of ending a marriage in India either through divorce or an annulment decree from the court.

Divorce dissolves a marriage whereas annulment declares a marriage as null and void as if the marriage did not happen at all. The grounds for both of them differ. In case of a divorce, the divorced couple is tagged as a divorcee, whereas in annulment the status of the couple goes back to what it was prior to marriage,i.e. Single.

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Concept of Marriage

Marriage is one of the oldest establishments in our country. It is one of the ten most important religious sacraments of the Hindus. It plays a very important role in the social life of a Hindu and has no doubt become an obligatory duty.

In a Hindu marriage, a father gives his daughter to a sound groom who then is the daughter’s husband and will take care of her, this form of marriage has been entrenched since the Vedic period.

A Muslim marriage is a civil contract and is not anyway related to religion. The nature of Muslim marriages is very different from that of Hindu marriages. Marriage in Muslim law has the aim of the unity of two sexes to form a family.

Just like Hindu marriage is known as a sacrament in Christianity also. It is considered a relationship that is not dissolvable. According to Christianity God is the creator of marriage, and lays the plan of marriage as a lifelong union.



Annulment of Marriage

Annulment is a legal procedure declaring a marriage null and void. There are different grounds on which a marriage can be annulled. An annulment can be done in cases of void marriages and voidable marriages.



Meaning

A void marriage is no marriage at all, it is considered to invalid from the very beginning. A voidable marriage is one that can be avoided at the option of the parties to the marriage. Voidable marriages are valid unless their validity is questioned. In the case of void marriages, parties can remarry without getting a decree of nullity from the court but they cannot do so in case of a voidable marriage.

Consult:Top Divorce Lawyers in India



The Grounds for Annulment

Following are the grounds for annulment-

1. Inability to consummate the marriage- If either of the spouses is chronically unable to have sexual intercourse or is impotent.

2. Incapable of giving Consent- If either of the spouses was incapable of giving consent at the time of the marriage.

3. Mental Disorder- If either of the spouses was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of marriage owing to which he or she cannot be considered fit for marriage or procreate children.

4. Insanity or epilepsy- If either of the spouses suffered from recurrent attacks of insanity or epilepsy then it serves as a ground for getting an annulment.

5. Under the legal marriage age- In India, the legal age of marriage for males is 21 years and for females is 18 years. If either of the spouses is under this age then annulment can be sought.



Voidable Marriages

As per Section 12 of the Hindu Marriage Act, marriage is considered voidable if-

1. Consent is obtained by fraud

2. Forced Consent- If consent to marriage is obtained through coercion or physical threat then such forced consent is a valid ground to seek an annulment.

3. Concealment of material facts- If any material fact like the age, past, or criminal record has been concealed by the parties then the aggrieved spouse can seek an annulment on this ground.

4. Pregnancy- If at the time of the marriage the respondent is carrying a child of some other person the husband can seek an annulment but this right is forfeited if the marriage is consummated after he came to know of this fact.

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In cases of Children Born out of Marriage

If a marriage is void and children are born out of that marriage then according to the Hindu law, these children are legitimate. In cases where the children are born out of the voidable marriage then the children are legitimate and they can inherit the properties of their parents but will have no right to the ancestral property.

Related Post: Guide to Consult a Divorce Lawyer



Divorce

If your marriage is not void or voidable then the other way to end a marriage is through a divorce. Divorce can be done either with mutual consent or it can be a contested divorce.



Mutual Consent Divorce

In mutual consent divorce as the word suggests is with the consent of both the parties, i.e. both the parties agree to divorce each other and end the marriage. Previously, the provision of mutual consent divorce was a little tough whereas with the help of the recent Supreme Court judgment mutual consent has been made easier and also serves as a time saver. Couples who do not wish to live together can just simply go to the court and file for the mutual consent divorce as in this kind of divorce with recent modifications the cooling-off period of six months has been waived off.



Contested Divorce

A contested Divorce is when only one of the parties wants a divorce. The party seeking divorce can file for it on any of the following grounds-



Cruelty

As per the Hindu Divorce Laws in India, if one spouse has a reasonable fear in the mind that the partner’s conduct in all likelihood be injurious or harmful, then there is sufficient ground for obtaining divorce due to cruelty by the spouse. It can be both mental or physical.



Adultery

In India, adultery is a criminal offense. Adultery means to have sexual intercourse outside of marriage. The wife may, also, file for divorce as another remedy.

Consult:Top Divorce Lawyers in India



Mental Disorder

If either spouse is suffering from mental illness and is incapable of performing the normal duties expected in a marriage then it becomes a valid ground for divorce.



Desertion

A spouse leaving/ abandoning the other without reasonable cause is a valid ground for divorce. For instance, as per Hindu laws, the desertion must last for at least 2 continuous years. However, the spouse who abandons the other should do so to desert and there should be evidence of it.



Communicable Disease

Under the Hindu Divorce Laws, if a spouse suffers from a communicable disease, such as HIV/AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea or a virulent and incurable form of leprosy then it is a valid ground for divorce.



Presumption of Death

If either of the spouses has not been heard of by the other spouse as being alive for a period of at least seven years, then the spouse who is alive can obtain a divorce.

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Conversion

If a spouse converts to another religion then the partner can seek divorce. This reason does not require any time limit to have passed before a divorce can be filed.



Renunciation of the World

If either of the spouses surrenders his/her married life and chooses to be a sanyasi, the aggrieved spouse may obtain a divorce on this ground.



How can a Lawyer help you?

Divorce is a stressful time for everyone involved. Hiring an attorney to complete a divorce is one way to reduce the stress of the divorce. While the attorney will need to gather information from you regarding the case, he or she will also take care of all the paperwork, allowing you more time to take care of yourself and your family. An experienceddivorce attorneycan give you expert advice on how to handle your divorce owing to his years of experience in handling such cases. You can also use LawRato'sFree Legal Adviceservice to get free advice on your case from expert divorce/matrimonial lawyers.A divorce lawyer is an expert on the laws and can help you avoid significant mistakes that may cause financial harm or will require future legal proceedings to correct. Thus, by hiring an attorney a person can make sure that he can avoid delay and get the divorce completed as quickly as possible.



 

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