In India, women are assumed to be reliant on their husbands at the moment of marriage. After their divorce, they have no access to work or any other means of gaining independence. Some of these limitations are alleviated by the rights they can assert following their divorce.
RIGHT TO ALIMONY AND MAINTENANCE
After marriage, women have the right to alimony. If women are not granted an adequate amount of alimony, they can petition the court for maintenance. Alimony is a lump sum payment made after a divorce, while maintenance is when the payment is made on a regular basis on a set date. If alimony is insufficient to cover her needs, the wife may request maintenance until she remarries.
Women’s rights in divorce include the fundamental right to request an allowance in order to support oneself. Maintenance is a certain payment paid by the husband to the wife after their divorce to make it easier for her to support herself. Maintenance refers to the requirements for self-sufficiency. Women may not be able to support themselves after a divorce, therefore they may be able to claim maintenance. Women in India have access to this right. If the spouse violates this right, the woman can seek redress under Section 125 of the Cr. P.C.
However, section 125(4) states that if both spouses are not living together by mutual consent, the women cannot seek support. However, if a divorce decision allows them to live apart, the wife might file a claim for support. Some personal laws, such as Parsi and Christian laws, provide provisions for support. Section 125 Cr. P.C. is a criminal claim in the event that the wife is refused support, and it applies equally to all laws.
Women may be granted maintenance on a variety of grounds, including:
- Her husband has been nasty to her.
- Her husband has either purposefully ignored her or abandoned her.
- The husband has a severe leprosy or a venereal illness.
- At the time, the husband had another wife living with him.
- The husband maintains a concubine in the house or lives elsewhere with that woman.
- The husband has left Hinduism and converted to another faith.
- The husband has a mental illness ( mental state and unsound mind)
- If the woman hasn’t heard from her spouse in at least seven years, the husband is presumed dead.
- Any other legal reason for the husband and wife’s separation.
RIGHT TO RESIDENCE
After her divorce, the lady is entitled to a place to live. The marital home in which the couple dwelt belongs to both husband and wife; she can assert her right to residence even if the house is in the hands of the husband or is a rental or ancestral property.
RIGHT OF STREEDHAN
Streedhan refers to the presents of riches, jewels, property, and so on that are presented to the bride at the time of her marriage. She has exclusive ownership of the Streedhan, which differs from dowry in that it is given to the bride freely. The wife is free to keep her Streedhan because she is the only owner of it. She might use her Stree Dhan to alienate, sell, or give as she pleased. Women’s rights are guaranteed in Section 27 of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, as well as Section 14 of the Hindu Succession Act. There are no conditions linked to the wife’s ability to keep her Streedhan after the divorce.
CHILD CUSTODY RIGHTS
The youngster suffers as a result of the couple’s separation. When a marriage falls apart, it separates every aspect that is linked to it. The children are also forced to pick a side and stay with either of their parents.
The guardian and wards legislation of 1890 and the Hindu minority and guardianship act of 1956 govern child custody rights. The mother has custody of a kid under the age of five years under the Hindu minority and guardianship legislation of 1956.
The natural guardian of a child is generally considered as a father otherwise mother. In case the child’s custody is not suitable for the father in that case or if it is not better than that of the mother’s then any indefeasible right can be claimed. Depending upon the welfare and security of the child, the custody can be shifted on either of father or mother.
Categories of child custody:
- Physical custody
- Joint custody
- Legal custody
- Third-party custody
Both parents have the right to custody of their children because they are the primary caretakers for them. However, the court makes this judgement with the child’s safety and well-being in mind. When deciding on child custody, the idea of ‘the best interest of the kid’ is applied, and custody of the child is awarded as a result.
RIGHT TO ANCESTRAL PROPERTY
If the woman is part of the joint family property she will have the right over the property even after divorce. This right to retain her property cannot be taken from her.
Women are free even after divorce and are not constrained by any boundaries when it comes to enforcing their rights. Maintenance, child custody, property, retaining her gifts, and other rights are all accessible to her. Some of these rights have evolved through time, and law has been interpreted differently, paving the door for women to seek justice. The law guarantees that their rights are provided to them and that they are safeguarded if they seek redress.