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Can a Woman Keep her Surname after Marriage?

Adopting a new surnameHistorically, the expectation and indeed the norm was that a woman would assume the husband’s surname after marriage. Women did not even think twice about assuming her husband’s surname after marriage. As times are changing keeping the maiden name hyphenated with the husband’s surname is apparently a fad. Both in same-sex and opposite-sex marriages these days there isn’t any hard and fast rule anymore that the wife must assume the surname of her husband. It’s a moot point that modern married women who may be working professionals having to change their surnames by assuming their husband’s surname. Rather keeping their surnames after marriage maybe is a practical and rational choice rather than a compulsion based on custom.Undeniably assuming the husband’s surname after marriage is indeed a lot of hassle in the sense that married women have to change their surnames on all of their government IDs including Aadhar card, PAN card, Voter ID so on and so forth which women of this day and age intend to avoid. Women could not voice their opinion probably until a few decades ago. They were more docile as men played a dominant role in society. They had to submit to the diktats of custom or tradition. With times changing though, these days both opposite-sex and same-sex marriages have several options and they are as follows:Women can assume the last name of their husbands Women can keep their maiden namesThe maiden name of a wife can be hyphenated along with the surname of the husbandA new surname that is a fusion of the surnames of both the spouses could be created and can be used by both spousesSpouses may prefer keeping their own surnames but their children’s surnames can be hyphenated The run-up to marriage is fraught with making decisions. There are numerous decisions on the anvil namely the color scheme, the food, and the venue. Decisions need to be made after the marriage as well. One of those vital decisions to be made is whether or not the woman would assume the surname of her husband or keep her maiden name after marriage. Recent reports indicate that a vast majority of brides tend to take the husband’s surname after marriage while the remaining opt to either retain their maiden name or opt to hyphenate which is the case for same-sex couples as well. A survey revealed that female couples more than their male counterparts preferred to assume the name of their male spouse after marriage.The question invariably is whether a name change is right or wrong. There isn’t a right answer working for everyone and one has to consider several aspects to assume the name of one’s partner.Name Change through Common UsageIt's entirely the discretion of the wife as to whether or not the wife would assume the surname of her husband. However, if the wife decides on changing his/her surname one can through “common usage” fairly easily. The wife historically had this option of adopting her husband’s surname.Although common usage name changes in instances of same-sex marriages, ought to be valid, however as same-sex marriage adds a relatively new dimension to marital bonding, one may have to get a name change ordered by the court.For legal validation of a name change by applying the common usage method the steps to follow are:A copy of one’s marriage certificate as proof of name changeAn updated driver’s license against a copy of one’s marriage certificateGet a new Aadhar card/PAN card/Voter ID card with one’s new surname against one’s marriage certificate, andUpdating any bank, insurance, passport, or employer records against one’s marriage certificateThis process can be completed relatively easily if the new surname after marriage reflects on one’s marriage certificate. If one already has children or having children is in the works then one might as well change one’s name so as to have a single-family name for all family members. However, if a new surname different from the surname of the other spouse is to be used by a spouse, the spouse intending a name change would have to undergo the official name change ordered by the court. If there is malafide intention of committing fraud or concealing an identity then a name change is undesirable and can be prevented in some jurisdictions.Name Change through a Court OrderA court-ordered name change in comparison with the common usage name change though is complicated is by far simpler to complete. In the vast majority of cases, a request for a name change has to be submitted along with an order proposal to be reviewed and signed by a judge.In all likelihood, a judge may set a date for the hearing of one’s case ensuring that one's request for the name change is not, in fact, a malafide intention of committing fraud.  Once the order has been received with one’s request granted, one has to undergo the common usage process for changing one’s name on one’s driver’s license, Aadhar Card, PAN Card and Voter ID card. ?Rather than provide a copy of one’s marriage certificate, submitting the certified copy of the name change court order is the requirement. If you need any professional advice, speak to an expert lawyer on a name change after marriage at Vidhikarya.

Posted By

Avik Chakravorty

1 day ago

Can a Husband get Maintenance from his Wife?

For both spouses, divorce is as stressful as its challenging. Finance among other key aspects of divorce can only be handled by an expert financial advisor for their clients. There are legal services connecting top lawyers to clients and in the process facilitate effective assistance in a wide variety of financial issues including and transcending alimony/ maintenance, financial security, asset/property distribution, child support, financial planning after divorce and the resultant tax implications.According to divorce lawyers, after divorce alimony payment to the husband by the wife is enforceable by the husband but whether or not the wife is liable to pay alimony/maintenance is for the courts to decide and accordingly take a call on granting the same. Maintenance and expenses of proceedings If it appears to the court in any proceeding u/s 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955 that either the husband or the wife whatever be the case, is not financially independent enough to be self-supporting and to afford the proceeding’s necessary expenses let alone child custody after divorce, it may, contingent upon the husband or the wife applying for a divorce petition, the court orders the respondent to ensure that the petitioner gets paid on account of the expenses of the proceeding an amount commensurate with the petitioner’s own income and that of the respondent it may appear to be reasonable to the court. Permanent alimony and maintenance(1) Courts with jurisdiction according to section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955 can, while passing a decree or subsequently, on the basis of an application made to the court for permanent alimony and maintenance by either spouse, as may actually be the case, decree that the respondent pay the applicant for either spouse’s maintenance and support a gross monthly amount or an amount periodically with the term of the payment not to exceed the lifetime of the applicant commensurate with the income of the respondent and the applicant’s any other property, the parties conduct, and other situations relevant to the case, the court may deem it to be just and fair in securing similar payments if required by putting a lien on the respondent’s immoveable property.(2) The satisfaction of the Court in regards to the possible altered situation of either party after the order has been passed under sub-section (1) of section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955 is vital. The Court may still at the behest of either the husband or the wife, modify, vary, or rescind such orders according to the best judgment of the court.(3) Should the Court be satisfied with the fact that the order passed in favor of a party remarries or, if the said party happens to be the wife, who is not chaste or if the said party happens to be the husband, who may have had  an extramarital affair, the court may similarly at the behest of the other husband or the wife as the case may be, vary, modify or rescind such orders in a way the court may deem fair and just.Amongst other rights validated by divorce and matrimonial laws, the most crucial right is the right of receiving and claiming alimony or maintenance. Usually, alimony is an allowance which the husband has to pay to the wife following the orders of the court for the wife’s sustenance.   There are five distinct communities that constitute our society including Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsis, and Jews. The personal laws of each community are derived from customs, traditions and religious scriptures. Therefore, the purpose of a Hindu woman seeking divorce and alimony, for example, may differ from community to community. Likewise, the law on alimony and maintenance may vary as the applicable personal law keeps changing from community to community. Under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 for example, both spouses have a legal entitlement towards permanent alimony and maintenance. If the couple remarries though, under the Special Marriage Act 1954, it's only the wife who would be entitled to permanent alimony and maintenance. In the case of mutual consent divorce of a couple, it's for the couples to arrive at an agreement as to whether or not any alimony or maintenance payments are to be made by any of the parties. In cases of this nature, alimony/maintenance payments can go both ways; the husband to the wife as well as the wife to the husband based on how well the couples understand each other. The court’s passing of the divorce decree is based on the terms agreed-upon among couples. The decree is binding on the couple and is enforceable by a court of law.The hot topic these days regarding divorce is whether or not ex-husbands can claim maintenance from their ex-wives. It has always been the other way round. The blog talks about maintenance and expenses of proceedings as well as permanent alimony and maintenance.Get in touch with Vidhikarya Legal Services, an enabler or facilitator when it comes to connecting clients to best lawyers with huge experience in handling family and marital issues.

Posted By

Avik Chakravorty

3 days ago

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  • What is Police Law?
  • What is Police Law?
  • Where to Complain?

We have a police force to provide citizens with a sense of safety and security. The police are there to maintain peace and order in society as well as prevent and detect crime. They are there as the law enforcers – to make sure that everyone, including the police force itself, follows the law at every step.

What Is Police Law?


Police Laws are the Laws dealing with regulation and code of Conduct of Law Enforcement Officials. Many of these Laws deal with Issues such as the use of excessive force by police Officers, Police Misconduct, giving suspects their Miranda rights, Corruption, Interrogation Practices and Police Brutality.

Why Police Law?


The Police Act of 1861 governs the police force. Laws like The Code of Criminal Procedure also regulate the functioning of Police.

The police for certain types of offences does not have the power to make arrests without a due warrant. As per the guidelines currently in effect, police cannot arrest a woman after sunset and before sunrise even in the presence of a woman constable. In cases where a woman has committed a serious crime, police need to get in writing from the magistrate the explanation as to why such an arrest made after sunset & before sunrise is necessary(arrest made under unavoidable circumstances are exempted). Also, Police cannot compel a woman to come to the police station for purposes of interrogation under Section 160 of the Criminal Procedure Code if the police has the option of carrying out the concerned interrogation at place of her residence, such interrogation should take place in the presence of a woman constable and a relative/ friend.

Why is Police Law Useful?


The Police Act basically talks about what the police can and cannot do; how the police forces will be organised; what ranks there will be; who will supervise the force; who will make appointments; what punishment and disciplinary actions the police will face for doing wrong. It also lays down rules for the public to follow.

A police officer is always on duty. The 1861 Police Act makes it clear that a police officer is "considered to be always on duty". But that does not mean that he is never allowed to rest. It just means that wherever he is, in or out of uniform, he must act to uphold the law. He cannot say "I am not on duty" if he witnesses a crime taking place or hears a call for help.

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