According to the Indian Legal system, the divorce procedure or process of divorce basically starts as soon as the divorce petition is filed. The way the divorce procedure in India in its entirety works is with the initiation of the filing of the divorce petition by either party to the divorce suit and serving of notice to the other party.
If the relationship between the parties has hit rock bottom and both the spouses have jointly made a decision to split according to the law of the land, then either party can initiate ‘mutual divorce’ according to the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Either party can file for divorce even if any one of the parties is unwilling to file for divorce and is widely known as ‘contested divorce’.
How to file for Mutual Consent Divorce?
Section 13B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 is related to the provision of mutual consent divorce and there is a preset divorce procedure to file for a mutual consent divorce mentioned in section 13B. To file a mutual consent divorce petition there is certain steps/procedure to follow as well as requirements that need to be fulfilled and they are as follows:
1. Filing a petition
First and foremost, both spouses have to seek a decree of divorce by presenting a joint petition for dissolution of marriage to the family court through a divorce lawyer based on the fact that they have been living apart for a period of a year or more. They may also disclose that living together as couples did not come to fruition and therefore there has been a mutual agreement for dissolution of the marriage. Both parties would have to sign the petition.
2. Appearing before Court and scrutiny of the petition
Both parties would have to be present at the family court with their respective divorce lawyer after the petition has been filed. What the court would do is analyze the petition with all the filed documents. The court may even try and reconcile any differences or patch up the strained relations among the parties, although if it's irreconcilable then the divorce case would continue until it reaches its logical conclusion.
3. Order for the recording of statements on oath
After the court analyses the petition and it's satisfactory the courts may order the statement of the parties to be recorded under oath.
4. Order on First Motion and elapsing of a period of 6 months prior to Second Motion
With the recording of the statements, the court passes an order on the first motion. After this step, a 6 months’ time period is allotted to both parties to divorce prior to filing the second motion. The maximum time period for the filing of a second motion is 18 months from the date the divorce petition is presented in the family court by a divorce lawyer, the only exception being withdrawing the petition unless the petition is withdrawn meanwhile.
5. Second Motion and Final Hearing of the Matter
With the decision made to forge ahead with the divorce procedure and be present for the second motion, they can certainly do so and get on with the final hearing. Involved in this step are parties being physically present and statements recorded at the Family Court. Recently, though, the Supreme Court has upheld that the 6 months’ time period that the parties get can be waived off if the courts so wish to. Therefore, in instances of parties genuinely settling their marital issues including alimony, custody of the child or any other pending issues among the parties the cooling-off period of 6 months can be waived off if the courts decide that the waiting period of 6 months would only make them more miserable. Within the period of 18 months, if the second motion is not made, the court will not order any decree of divorce. It's an established law that consent can be withdrawn by either party at will prior to the courts ordering of the decree.
6. Decree of Divorce?
Both parties in a mutual consent divorce would have to be consenting to get a divorce fair and square without any bone of contention between the parties about alimony, child custody, maintenance, property, and so on. Therefore, a comprehensive agreement among the parties is required for the marriage to be dissolved. After the trial if the court is convinced about the truthfulness of what has been alleged in the petition and that there isn’t an iota of the probability of reconciliation or cohabitation, the courts would then pass a decree of divorce making the divorce final and declaring the marriage as dissolved according to the facts and situations of the case.
You may have been unsure as to how to file for divorce or what the exact steps are. However, after reading this blog you would be more informed of the divorce procedure. So, go ahead and retain a good divorce lawyer to get a divorce.
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