The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 is applicable to Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists. A religious marriage which has already been solemnized can be registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. The Hindu Marriage Act is applicable in cases where both husband and wife are Hindus, Buddhists, Jains or Sikhs or where they have converted into any of these religions. The Hindu Marriage Act provides for the conditions of a marriage where the bridegroom should be of the age of 21 years and bride of 18 years, and they both should not be within the degree of prohibited relationship.
The documents required for registering a marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act are as follows:
• Application form duly signed by both husband and wife
• Documentary evidence of date of birth of parties (Matriculation Certificate / Passport / Birth Certificate) to prove that the minimum age of both parties is 21 years at the time of registration under the Special Marriage Act
• Ration card of husband or wife whose area SDM has been approached for the certificate Affidavit by both the parties stating place and date of marriage, date of birth, marital status at the time of marriage and nationality
• Two passport size photographs of both the parties and one marriage photograph, along with the Marriage invitation card, if available.
• If marriage was solemnized in a religious place, a certificate from the priest is required who solemnized the marriage
• Affirmation that the parties are not related to each other within the prohibited degree of relationship as per Hindu Marriage Act or Special Marriage Act as the case may be. Attested copy of divorce decree/order in case of a divorcee and death certificate of spouse in case of widow/widower is required as per marriage act.
• In case one of the parties belonging to other religion, than Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh religions, a conversion certificate from the priest who solemnized the marriage will be required.
• All documents excluding receipt should be attested by a Gazetted Officer.
Verification of all the documents is carried out on the date of application and a day is fixed and communicated to the parties for registration. On the said day, both parties, along with a Gazetted Officer who attended their marriage, need to be present before the SDM. The marriage certificate under the Hindu Marriage Act is issued on the same day or within a few days.
Though alimony is a very important matter to deal with during the litigation of a divorce case, the very perception of right to claim the financial support for post divorce maintenance was not quite a familiar concept among the Indian divorce seekers, especially women, even a few years back. Since the rate of divorce is increasing in India at a rapid speed, people are becoming aware of the various details related to divorce laws. The era of feminist campaigns and spread of education among women, have contributed to the growing applicability of alimony in divorce cases.
The alimony or the spouse support is an obligation by laws in almost all the countries of the world. It is expected that both the spouses irrespective of gender must bear the maintenance support during and after marriage.
The concept of alimony came in trend due to the indissoluble nature of Indian marriage. According to marriage conventions, marriage is a sacred union. Once the knot is tied, the duties and obligations of marriage are to be carried out for the rest of the life even if there is mental disparity or physical separation between the husband and the wife. The husband is bound to take up the responsibilities for the maintenance of his wife in spite of having an estranged relationship. As time changed, the laws and education empowered woman and divorce came as a spontaneous solution for an unsuccessful marriage.
The present society treats men and women equal, as a result the burden of alimony can now fall upon either side of the party depending upon the financial circumstances of the spouses. Even though in the present age of equality, both men and women are equal before the law, in practice men are more liable to provide interim support to his ex- spouse during the litigation procedure.
Child custody is a term used in family law courts to define legal guardianship of a child under the age of 18. During divorce or marriage annulment proceedings, the issue of child custody often becomes a matter for the court to determine. In most cases, both parents continue to share legal child custody but one parent gains physical child custody. Family law courts generally base decisions on the best interests of the child or children, not always on the best arguments of each parent.
In general, courts tend to award physical child custody to the parent who demonstrates the most financial security, adequate parenting skills and the least disruption for the child. Both parents continue to share legal child custody until the minor has reached the age of 18 or becomes legally emancipated. Legal custody means that either parent can make decisions which affect the welfare of the child, such as medical treatments, religious practices and insurance claims. Physical child custody means that one parent is held primarily responsible for the child’s housing, educational needs and food. In most cases, the non-custodial parent still has visitation rights. Many of the religions practiced in India have their own personal laws and they have their different notion of custody.
There are different laws of divorce for different religion. Hindus (which includes Sikh, Jain, and Buddhists) are governed by Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Christians are governed by Indian Divorce Act-1869 & the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872. Muslims are governed by Personnel laws of Divorce and also the Dissolution of Marriage Act, 1939 & The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986. Similarly, Parsis are governed by The Parsi Marriage & Divorce Act-1936. And there is also a secular law called Special Marriage Act, 1954.
A cursory reading of the entire gamut of Indian Laws regarding Divorce makes it clear broadly that the Divorce can be obtained by two ways:
• Divorce by Mutual Consent
• Contested Divorce
Mutual Consent Divorce is a simple way of coming out of the marriage and dissolves it legally. Important requirement is the mutual consent of the husband & wife. There are two aspects on which Husband & Wife have to reach to consensus. One is the alimony or maintenance issues. As per Law there is no minimum or maximum limit of maintenance. It could be any figure or no figure. Next important consideration is the Child Custody. This can also be worked out effectively between the parties. Child Custody in Mutual Consent Divorce can be shared, or joint, or exclusive, depending upon the understanding of the spouses.