Marriages are considered as sacred eternal bond in India. Today couples may want to end their bond due to compatibility issues or for any other reason. Indian matrimonial laws are governed by personal laws depending upon the religion of the person. There are two methods in India of ending a marriage: divorce or an annulment decree from the court. An annulment declares marriage as null and void whereas divorce completely dissolves a legal marriage. There are two ways to obtain a divorce in India:
It is not compulsory that both the spouses have to agree and constant for a mutual divorce. Either of the spouses can contest for divorce if they are sure that there are strong grounds for break down of marriage. The main purpose of a contested divorce is to give an opportunity to end a marriage that is beyond repair. Now since one of the spouse pleas for a divorce, issues like alimony and custody rights of a child are left to be decided by the court. The laws for divorces procedure will be different depending on which law they got married registered. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 governs the Hindu, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jain and for another custom its the Special Marriage Act, 1954 (secular law).
Documents required to file for a contested divorce:
- Marriage certificate
- Address proof of wife and husband
- Address of matrimonial home
- Passport size photographs of marriage (4)
- Any evidence that substantiates the ground of divorce. May range from WhatsApp chats, emails or voice recordings
- Details of the present salaries.
STEP 1- Petition Filling
Any aggrieved partner who wishes to file for divorce can approach a competent lawyer and file for a divorce petition in the appropriate jurisdiction in the concerned family court. The grounds can be any as per Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. It is imperative that before the petition is filled, the parties have been living separately for at least a year. Certain grounds under which the divorce petition has been filled needs to be mentioned. These are Adultery, Cruelty, Desertion, Conversion, mental disorder, Communicable diseases, Renunciation of the world, presumption death.
STEP 2- Serving of notice
After the divorce petition is filled, the court will satisfy itself with respect to the merits of the case. Once satisfied, it will serve notice to the opposite party and set date for next hearing. The notice will inform the opposite arty regarding the divorce petition that has been filed against them and that they have to appear before the judge of the family court.
STEP 3- Response to Petition
Once the notice has been served, the next step is filling a response to the divorce petition by the opposite party. In the response, the opposite party will contest the grounds on which divorce is sought and the applicant’s lawyer will establish the grounds of divorce.
STEP 4- Trial
The trial will finally begin once the parties have presented their points through petition and the response and the arguments will go on for such time depending upon the facts and circumstances of the case. Once the trial starts the court will hear both the sides along with evidence and witnesses.
STEP 5- Temporary Orders
The court will pass the interim orders related to maintenance and/or child custody. The right of maintenance in marriage extends to any person who is economically dependent on the other spouse. The courts consider the earning capacity of the spouse who is entitled while deciding the alimony. In cases of child custody, courts look into the best interest of the child. During a mutual divorce, the decision of the parents on the settlement deed is considered. While in a contested divorce court examine the ability of the parents of the child.
Step 6- Final Order
The final step is when the final order is pronounced by the court of dissolving the marriage. If either of the spouses feels the need, the said decision can further be challenged as an appeal.