How to Break-Up a Marriage?

December 30, 2022, 11:09 am | Updated June 6, 2023, 10:55 am IST
How to Break-Up a Marriage?
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There is a popular saying - “A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.” But what happens if they eventually give up on each other? India is a country with the lowest divorce rate worldwide with less than 1% numbers. But people end up questioning as to whether it is all about happy marriages or the societal pressure? Divorce is considered a taboo in India. People eventually have this preconceived notion that if a person is divorced, they must be at fault for breaking up their marriage. 

So do we support unhappy couples living in a marriage forcefully just because divorce is a bad thing? Such norms could be the reason that India is the most depressed country (India Today report). Marriage has not remained a forever concept, not even in India. Divorce rates are increasing, because people are opting for a happy and healthy single life over a burdened married life. 

Reasons to Break Up a Marriage

There is not one by many reasons for divorce in India. It could be incompatibility, recurring fights on petty issues, lack of physical or emotional intimacy. There are some serious causes as well, like violence, infidelity, etc. which eventually lead to a permanent break up of a marriage. Staying in a disputed relationship may do more damage than good. People endanger themselves against mental and physical health risks. Suicide is also the most condemned pathway opted by people in disputed marriages.

If you need an answer on how to break up a marriage amicably, it is through mutual consent divorce. If both the spouses, i.e. husband and wife are willing to separate and end their marriage, the intention has to be conveyed to the court of suitable jurisdiction. Even in such cases of mutual consent, couples can not separate without legal formalities of a divorce. 

Misconceptions around Breaking up a Marriage

In India, people get married through different modes, and the proof of being married varies for different traditions. Some people find wearing wedding rings an identity of being married. The hindu women are mostly wearing sindoor (red holy powder worn by married hindu women on their forehead or hair parting) or mangal sutra (an auspicious thread of the hindus containing black beads worn by women at the time of marriage). Legally, a marriage certificate is the identity of being married other than customary evidence.

However, tearing apart the marriage certificate, removing that wedding ring or even mangal sutra does not legally mean breaking up a marriage. There are various types of divorce, but none of them involve such dramatic series of events. 

There are misconceptions as well that parents of a run-away couple, who got married privately, have the power of breaking up their marriage. If a couple fulfils the various conditions of a valid marriage, and duly performs the legal or customary requirements, such a marriage is legally valid. Nobody can break up a marriage unless either or both the spouses are willing to end their marriage through divorce. If you and your spouse have been fighting on petty issues and find it difficult to reconcile, go for marriage counselling through some professionals. It is always recommended by courts and otherwise, to give your marriage several chances before settling for divorce.

Conditions of Valid Marriage

A marriage is not said to be valid unless performed between compatible persons through necessary formalities. The usual conditions of a valid marriage in India as per law are as follows:

Against bigamy

No person should have a spouse living while getting married. Marriage in bigamy is not only invalid, but punishable too under section 494 of Indian Penal Code, 1860. However, the provision does not apply to Muslims since multiple marriages are allowed as per Muslim personal laws. 

Free consent 

Both the parties should be able to give their consent at the time of their marriage. In other words, neither the groom or bride should be incapable of giving their free consent at the time of marriage due to unsound mind, mental disorder, etc.

Age of majority

Usually, the age of marriage for boys is 21 years and 18 years for girls. The same is 15 years for Muslim girls as per Sharia laws. Marriage before the age of maturity can be annulled through court after attaining majority.

Prohibited relationship

There are certain blood relations among men and women, in which marriage is morally and legally not allowed. The examples include relations through blood or adoption. Customary leverage may be given in certain cases. 

These four are the usual conditions for marriage in India. Apart from that, personal laws may include additional requirements as well. For example, lineal descendents are termed as sapindas in hindus and marriage in a sapinda relationship is considered invalid, unless the laws approve of the same. If one of the above conditions are not fulfilled at the time of marriage, such a marriage is considered as invalid. Parties can approach the court for annulment of such marriages. This way, spouses involved in such a marriage will not be considered as married for future reference.

Grounds for Divorce in India

In case the husband and wife can not share the same views regarding the decision of divorce, conflicts get severe. Usually, one of the spouses is willing to end the marriage, while the other one is persistent on continuing as a married couple. That is how a contested divorce leads the way to hell on earth. But in cases where life is already unbearable while staying together as a couple, the decision to break up a marriage may prove to be the door to heaven as well. The spouse willing to divorce has to prove before the courts one of the following grounds (as applicable on the particular religious laws):

  • Adultery - Either husband or wife having an extra-marital affair. 
  • Cruelty - Being treated with mental or physical cruelty by your spouse is a valid ground to seek divorce.
  • Desertion - Marriage gives the husband and wife a right against each other to stay together. If one of the spouses has withdrawn from the company/ society of the other, courts may be convinced to grant divorce. 
  • Unsound mind - If the lack of sanity (soundness of mind) of one spouse is making it impossible to lead a normal married life for another spouse, divorce may be granted. 
  • Religion Renounced - In case a couple marries as per religious traditions and one spouse ceases to follow that religion, or converts to another, it is a valid ground to break up a marriage in India.
  • Venereal Diseases - If one spouse is suffering from a sexually transmittable disease in communicable form, the other may seek breaking up a marriage on this ground. 
  • World Renounced - If someone has renounced the world, completely withdrawing from the society for spiritual fulfilment, such person’s spouse can also seek freedom from the marriage.
  • Not Heard Alive - If a spouse is not heard of being alive for 7 or more years, divorcing such spouse may give the right to move on.

For the path to break up a marriage goes through contested divorce, it is better to have clarity regarding the process and expected outcomes. A divorce lawyer in Kolkata helps couples residing in Kolkata understand the legal technicalities in the process of divorce, and how it can be smoothened.

FAQs on ‘How to Break up a Marriage?’

Q- What is it called when someone breaks up a marriage?

A- Generally, it may be termed as separation from your husband or wife. Legally, termination of a marriage is called divorce. 

Q- What are the 4 things that break up marriages?

A- Incompatibility, infidelity, lack of physical and emotional intimacy, and cruelty are some of the most common reasons that break up a marriage. 

Q- Is it a good idea to take a break from your marriage?

A- When something is taking a toll on your mental health, which is eventually making it difficult to lead a normal life, it is always good to take a break. Staying away from your spouse has some possibilities for good. It helps both the spouses to realise each other’s importance in life, their absence makes you miss them, and most importantly, it is a chance to take a look back at your relationship. 

Q- What percentage of married couples break up?

A- As per reports, India has the lowest divorce rate of less than 1%. Based on the statistics, only 13 out of 1000 marriages in India result in divorce. The numbers are the lowest in the world as compared to other countries.

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