File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

Alimony Under Personal Laws

When a married couple decides to split ways and separate, the economically weaker party has the right to ask for some money to cover his or her living expenses. Alimony or maintenance is the name for the monetary award. When one spouse in a marriage receives a monthly allowance from the other, this is known as maintenance. Alimony, on the other hand, is a one-time payment made to the economically weaker party, freeing the financially stronger party from any further financial obligations resulting from the marriage.

Although, in a divorce, it is typically assumed that the husband is responsible for providing alimony or maintenance to his wife. However, there have been several instances where the wife has been required to do so. Therefore, a petition for alimony or maintenance is not barred by a person's gender.

The obligation to care for and support the financially impaired spouse is not a recent development in our culture. The first instance of alimony demands occurred among the Hebrews, Egyptians, and Greeks. According to the Hammurabi Code, a Mesopotamian husband who deserted his wife without good reason was required to give up a silver coin.

Under Justinian I's rule, the Roman Law also mandated that the spouse who was found guilty forfeit a piece of gold. The mediaeval church in England held that divorce did not release either party from marriage's responsibilities.

As a result, the husband had to give his wife a sustenance allowance. The idea of alimony quickly spread to other areas of the world, notably India, where numerous Hindu jurists, including Yajnavalkya and Manu, steadfastly supported a husband's obligation to support his wife despite whatever disagreements the two may have.

Laws under which a party can claim alimony

  • The Special Marriage Act of 1954's Section 37
  • Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Section 25
  • Indian Divorce Act of 1869, Sections 36 to 38

Types of Alimony


Temporary alimony is awarded while a divorce or judicial separation petition is pending and can be paid in monthly instalments. Temporary alimony is payable for a specific amount of time.


After the legal separation or divorce has been finalised, permanent alimony is granted. The alimony awarded in this case is for an infinite amount of time and terminates upon the death or remarriage of the party receiving it.


Rehabilitative Alimony is only paid when the non-earning spouse is actively looking for employment or other sources of income to support themselves. It is a temporary arrangement to aid the non-earning spouse in developing skills or locating a secure employment for themselves.


Reimbursement alimony is the payment made to the spouse who incurred particular costs, such as those related to their schooling or those that increased the other spouse's income.

Factors taken into consideration while deciding Alimony:

Financial status of the parties
The financial situation of both parties to the marriage must be taken into consideration while determining the amount of alimony. The ability of the parties to the marriage to support themselves must be understood at all costs. Once that is established, the court must decide whether to issue alimony to the party seeking it or not, as well as whether it should be permanent or only temporary in nature.

Social life of the parties
Another essential factor to take into account is how the parties have been conducting their lives up until the start of the proceedings. It must be remembered that any alimony awarded must fit the lifestyle of the party seeking the support.

The conduct of the parties
When determining the amount of alimony, the behaviour of the parties to the marriage is an important factor. If either partner has a history of cruelty or adultery, that must be taken into consideration while determining alimony.

Duration of marriage
If the parties have not been married for a very long time, then generally the alimony so granted is temporary as it is believed that the parties are still young and have the capacity to earn money and sustain themselves.

The alimony, however, is typically permanent if the pair has been married for a long period, and the paying party is required to support the incapacitated spouse until the receiving party's death or remarriage. Simply put, when the paying party dies, the obligation to pay alimony remains in place. In such a case, the estate that was left behind is used to pay the alimony.

Custody of the kid
Given that they are required to pay for all child care costs, the party with custody of the kid is seen as having greater obligation. In this situation, the courts must carefully consider the amount of alimony to make sure that both the child and the person who is raising the child are well-cared for financially.

Health conditions of the parties
If one of the parties to the marriage who is requesting alimony is afflicted with a medical or mental disease, the other party is morally obligated to pay for those costs or reimburse them, if the afflicted person is unable to do so due to their deteriorating health.

Age of the Parties
Age is a key factor in determining the amount of alimony. A perpetual alimony is awarded to the aggrieved party if the party seeking alimony has reached an age when it is extremely difficult for him or her to obtain job or is physically unable to do so. But if the party seeking alimony is young and capable, a provisional award will be made while still taking into account the other considerations.

The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India noted in U. Sree v. U. Srinivas 2012 (12) JT 358 that there is no mathematical formula to be kept in mind when determining alimony because several considerations are taken into account. But it is the court's responsibility to make sure the wife lives comfortably, if not luxuriously.

The Hon'ble Calcutta High Court ruled in Bandana Kayal Alias Singh v. Arun Kumar Singh (1989) 1 Cal LJ 503 that the husband would be required to pay alimony to his wife if he was employed at the time the lawsuit was filed. The fact that he quit his work before or right after the petition was filed would not prevent the wife from requesting alimony.

Similar reasoning was used in Reema Salkan v. Sumer Singh Salkan (2019) 12 SCC 303, where the Hon'ble Delhi High Court noted that if the husband has educational credentials and is physically abled, his moral obligation to support his wife does not get excused merely because he is not working at the time.

The Hon'ble Calcutta High Court ruled in the matter of Mayurakshi Basu v. Sandeep Basu (2013) 1 ICC 391 that the amount of alimony paid to the wife should be atleast one-third of her husband's net worth.

The Hon'ble Delhi High Court ruled in Manish Jain v. Akanksha Jain (2017) 15 SCC 801 that the financial situation of the wife's parents should not be taken into consideration for determining the amount of alimony or maintenance.

The purpose of alimony was to provide financial assistance to the financially disabled spouse in order to enable him or her to live a pleasant and respectable life. But in my opinion, our society severely abuses the provision of alimony. It is no longer so much of a necessity as a way of life.

Couples seek alimony payments not to maintain themselves financially but to bother the other spouse. The improper behaviour by the parties is very regrettable. The original intent for paying alimony has been overshadowed and given a completely new meaning. When handling situations of this kind, our legal system needs to create a thorough evaluation methodology.

Reference Links:
Written By: Ameesha Goel

Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Increased Age For Girls Marriage


It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which intends to inc...

Facade of Social Media


One may very easily get absorbed in the lives of others as one scrolls through a Facebook news ...

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...


The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of t...

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India: A...


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a concept that proposes the unification of personal laws across...

Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Legal...


Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy, and the legal i...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online

File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly