How to Avoid Alimony in India? - Find Here

Posted On : November 25, 2022
How to Avoid Alimony in India? - Find Here
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Divorce is a bitter war if things are not settled mutually. It is not only a breakdown of marriage but brings along other insecurities, including financial risks. Alimony or maintenance are heard by many but the exact legal reference is understood by a few. Explore what exactly it is and know how to avoid alimony in India on this page.


Alimony in general can be understood as the amount of money payable to a person’s husband or wife after divorce. There is another term ‘maintenance’ which denotes the amount payable for basic expenses of any person. Maintenance may be paid to the spouse before finalising divorce as well if the other spouse is totally dependent for life support financially.


Does India Have Alimony?

The rules related to marriage and divorce are dealt with through personal/ religious laws in India. Under section 25 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, there is a provision for permanent alimony and maintenance for hindu couples. The provision does not differentiate husband and wife as receiver of alimony. It solely provides for payment of maintenance by one spouse to another. Hence, if ‘Can a man get alimony in India?’ is a question that popped in your mind, the answer is yes!!


On the other hand, section 36 and 37 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 also provides for rules regarding alimony and maintenance. The provision particularly gives rights to the wife who may through application require the court ordering her husband to pay maintenance sufficient for her support and necessary expenses of the proceeding. This makes the alimony rules women centric.


It is clear that couples married as per hindu rituals enjoy the right to maintenance against each other. However, those married under the Special Marriage Act (Court Marriage), only the wife gets the right to alimony and maintenance. If I am to look for legal assistance regarding divorce, alimony and maintenance, lawyers near me may clarify whether the marriage will be governed by Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, or the Special Marriage Act, 1954.


How is Alimony Calculated?

The amount of alimony payable to spouse depends upon the financial status and ability to pay as well. In case of payment of alimony on a monthly basis, the hon’ble Supreme Court has laid the 25% salary benchmark. It means that a husband may be liable to pay 25% of his monthly salary as alimony towards his wife after divorce. On the other hand, if it is a lump sum alimony in India, it will be calculated based on the spouse’s net worth and the standard of living of the spouse seeking alimony. For better understanding of alimony after divorce in Kolkata city, one may seek professional advice from a divorce lawyer in Kolkata. Now the question arises, can you avoid alimony? 


How to Avoid Alimony in India?

People who are going through the rough patch of legal separation often worry about maintenance/ alimony. Mostly, the sword hangs around men in India since courts by default assume the wife to be financially unable to bear her expenses since she married a man as a dependent. The theory should not apply in the current world, especially in the case of independent women. Men also bear responsibility for children, parents, and other obligations. All of this burdens men financially while they are suffering emotionally as well due to the collapsing marriage. Although the answer to ‘Can a man get alimony in India?’ is also positive as per laws. Below are some gender neutral pointers on how to avoid giving alimony in India:

Points on How Alimony can be Avoided

●     Working Spouse

The law for alimony requires a spouse to pay for maintenance of another spouse in case he/ she ‘has no independent income sufficient for her or his support[1]’. If such spouse seeking maintenance is self-sufficient to maintain his/her own expenses, it can be a strong ground to avoid alimony in India.


●     Professionally Qualified Spouse

If you are looking for answers on ‘how to avoid giving alimony in India?’ while your highly qualified spouse is sitting idly enjoying leisure time, this may benefit you. It is important to prove before the court that the spouse applying for maintenance/ alimony is educationally qualified enough to earn and support himself/ herself, but is not willing to.


●     Contrasting Salary

The above two scenarios depict situations where either the other spouse is working, or is qualified to work. But even if both the spouses are working, but the one seeking maintenance is earning way more than the other against whom an application for alimony is filed, the tables may turn. If the applicant has a salary higher than the respondent, or there are other means of income available, the respondent may bring this fact in the knowledge of court. Even if a noticeable difference is missing between the salaries, the respondent may show his/ her liabilities like maintenance of parents, home loans, etc.


●     Separation Without Reason

Sometimes one spouse withdraws from the society of another, i.e. has stopped living together with the spouse in their matrimonial home. If the other spouse is still willing to continue the marriage while staying together as man and wife, this can be used as a defence to avoid giving alimony in India. Hence, if you are the husband whose wife has left for her maternal home and seeking maintenance from you, without holding any charges of cruelty under 498A or domestic violence, the husband can suggest before the court that he is willing to stay with the wife and bear all her expenses. If she does not return, husband can rightfully avoid alimony in India.


●     Mutual Consent

If the husband and wife have agreed for a mutual consent divorce in India, conditions of divorce are usually pre-decided. If one of those conditions already contains clarity regarding non-payment of any maintenance by either spouse before or after divorce, that becomes a defence. The spouse against whom maintenance or alimony is being sought can claim that the same has been mutually settled between the divorcing couple.


●     Adultery

When a married person makes physical relations with someone other than the legal spouse, this is called adultery. Although adultery is no longer a criminal offence, it remains one of the grounds for divorce in India. So, if the spouse seeks maintenance or alimony from another while he/ she is indulged in an adulterous relationship with someone, this turns into a definite answer on how to avoid alimony in India.


●     Renunciation of Religion

The alimony laws in India are strictly applicable as per personal laws if the couple married as per rituals of that religion. Hence, if the spouse seeking alimony has renounced that religion and converted to another, the other spouse can avoid lump sum alimony in India.


●     Prior Divorce Faulty

This is a rare scenario but may prove beneficial for someone. If your spouse had married earlier, the divorce was not obtained legally but by mutual understanding or mere separation, such a divorce is not valid. In such a case, marrying again does not give such marriage a legal status. Hence, if the facts match and you are looking for an answer to ‘how to avoid alimony in divorce in India?’, validity of marriage is the answer. You can prove before the court that your marriage is not legally valid due to faulty divorce in the first marriage. Thus, you will not be legally required to pay maintenance to your spouse.


●     Invalid Marriage

There are certain conditions of validity of marriage provided under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 as well as other marriage laws. If one of these conditions has not been fulfilled in your marriage, you can avoid alimony in India questioning the validity of such marriage. Examples include marriage without consent, or within prohibited or sapinda relationships. Bigamy, i.e. marrying someone while spouse from prior marriage is still alive and the couple continue to be married (are not legally divorced), is another such example.


●     Remarriage

The laws of alimony in India may allow monthly or periodical maintenance to the spouse after divorce. However, the provision is conditional until the spouse enjoying such maintenance does not marry another person. Hence, if you have been paying maintenance to your spouse and recently got to know regarding his/ her remarriage, it is your solution to how alimony can be avoided.


FAQs on How to Avoid Alimony in India

Q- How to avoid alimony in divorce in India?

A- There are various ways on how to avoid giving alimony in India as discussed above. It could be a well qualified spouse with handsome income, remarriage, adultery, etc. Any of such reasons can be used to question the genuine need of the spouse seeking alimony. Based on specific facts, family lawyers can help with the legality.


Q- Can a man get alimony in India?

A- A hindu man married to his wife as per hindu rituals can get alimony, provided that he is able to satisfy the court. If the husband is earning a handsome income while the wife is not working, he won’t be able to succeed in a maintenance/ alimony suit. Husband in a court marriage under the Special Marriage Act can not seek alimony from his wife since the Act only gives the right to the wife.


Q- What happens if alimony is not paid in India?

A- If a court has passed orders seeking one spouse to pay a certain amount to another spouse in the name of alimony after divorce, it becomes a legal obligation. Not paying alimony without any reason turns out to be contempt of court. Such a spouse refusing to pay alimony may end up in jail until he/ she pays the amount and assures mending ways in the future.


Q- Can I avoid alimony by moving overseas?

A- Fleeing to another country just to avoid giving alimony in India may not prove to be a good idea. Interruption in payment of alimony will lead the other spouse to knock the doors of the concerned court. The court will thereby order against the spouse defaulting on court ordered to pay alimony. Such an avoidance may backfire with further legal consequences.


Q- If the wife filed for divorce, can she get alimony from husband?

A- The law does not restrict women from getting alimony from their husbands if they initiate divorce. It totally depends upon the facts and circumstances in each case.

[1] Section 24 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. 

Written By:
Ridhi Khurana

Ridhi Khurana


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