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Know Your Rights: Alimony in Divorce

After a divorce, alimony is financial support provided by one spouse to another. Here's everything you need to know about alimony.

Divorce is not just a mentally draining experience. But it can also have significant financial ramifications-after all, what is a marriage if not an investment of time, energy, emotions, and money?

If you're thinking about divorce or want to know more about it, here's a look at what alimony in divorce is and how it's calculated in India.

Who can ask for alimony?

Personal laws differ in their treatment of alimony and maintenance. Husbands can be held accountable for alimony payments to wives under all personal laws.

For example, whereas both the husband and wife can seek alimony under the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, which applies only to Hindus, only the wife can seek it under the Special Marriage Act under divorce alimony rules in India, which applies to all citizens of India. The opposite is rarely done.

Is it possible for me to file for alimony all at once?

The alimony payment can be made as a one-time lump sum or a monthly or quarterly fixed payment, depending on the recipient's needs. Top lawyers in India suggest beneficiaries choose to be paid the entire amount all at once to prevent losing future payments if the spouse, for example, loses their job or passes away.

Is the husband obligated to pay alimony if the wife starts working?

If the wife works and earns enough money to support her living needs, the court will undoubtedly take that into account in addition to the husband's earnings. It will decide whether alimony/maintenance will be awarded to the wife and, if so, for what amount based on these circumstances.

Furthermore, the husband can also receive alimony from his wife if he earns less than she does, as per the divorce alimony rules in India.

When is it not necessary to pay alimony?

If the woman remarries, the husband is not obligated to pay alimony, but he would be compelled to support any children born from their union.

He can also fight alimony because his wife works but cannot refuse to pay if ordered. The amount she earns will be taken into account by the court. For example, if she is barely making enough money to get by but has a better life when married, the court may compel the husband to pay to supplement her wages to maintain her quality of living.

Is it possible for the party paying alimony to quit paying?

It varies depending on the circumstances. If the wife grows wealthier, the husband must present proof to the court, and the court will consider the facts presented to indicate that the wife has become wealthier since the alimony was issued.

Criteria to get alimony

The length of marriage to get alimony in India is another aspect that a divorce court will consider when assessing the duration of spousal maintenance. 

While the ultimate decision will vary by the case (and each state has its own set of guidelines for judges to follow), the following are the national averages based on the length of marriage to get alimony in India:
  • 5 Years: Alimony is awarded for approximately half of the period of your marriage if you have been married for less than five years.
  • 10-20 years: You should expect to pay alimony for 60 to 70% of the length of your marriage on average. As a result, if you were married for 20 years, your alimony will most likely last 12 to 14 years. However, it can vary greatly depending on your specific circumstances and the judge hearing your case.
  • 20+ Years: Marriages that have lasted 20 years or more are more likely to receive permanent alimony. It indicates that you should expect to support your ex until they retire, die, or remarry.

To Conclude:
If you want to understand how much you should expect to pay your spouse in alimony and for how long, contact one of the expert divorce lawyers. They'll meet with you and go through your situation to better understand a fair alimony agreement. Make an appointment for your consultation today!


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