There are different laws of divorce for different religion. Hindus(which includes Sikh, Jain, Budh) are governed by Hindu Marriage Act,1955.Christians are governed by Indian Divorce Act-1869 & The Indian Christian Marriage Act,1872.Muslims are governed by Personnel laws of Divorce and also the Dissolution of Marriage Act,1939 &The Muslim Women(Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act,1986. Similarly, Parsis are governed by The Parsi Marriage & Divorce Act-1936. And there is also a secular law called Special Marriage Act,1954.
A cursory reading of the entire gamut of Indian Laws regarding Divorce makes it clear broadly that the Divorce can be obtained by two ways:
- Divorce by Mutual Consent
- Contested Divorce
1. Mutual Consent Divorce is a simple way of coming out of the marriage and dissolves it legally. Important requirement is the mutual consent of the husband & wife. There are two aspects on which Husband & Wife have to reach to consensus. One is the alimony or maintenance issues. As per Law there is no minimum or maximum limit of maintenance. It could be any figure or no figure. Next important consideration is the Child Custody. This can also be worked out effectively between the parties. Child Custody in Mutual Consent Divorce can be shared or joint or exclusive depending upon the understanding of the spouses.
Duration of Divorce in Mutual Consent varies from one month to six months or more from States to States and as per the High Court directions.
2. Contested Divorce
As the name suggests, you will have to contest it. Indian laws in general recognizes cruelty (Physical & Mental), Desertion (Period varies from 2 to 3 years), Unsoundness of mind( of Incurable form), Impotency, renouncing the world, etc. Aggrieved party has to take one of the above grounds of divorce and will have to file the case in the Court of appropriate jurisdiction. Party which files the case has to prove the case with support of evidence and documents. On successfully proving the case, divorce will be granted and divorce decree will be drawn up accordingly.
ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE:
Marriage in India can also be dissolved by means of Annulment. Procedure for annulment is same as that of Divorce except that the grounds for annulment are different than that of divorce. Grounds for annulment are fraud, pregnancy of wife by person other than the husband, impotency prior to the marriage and subsist even at the time of filing the case.
Once annulment is granted by the Indian Court, status of the parties remains as it was prior to the marriage.
There are certain form of marriages which are null and void despite the performance /solemnization of the same. Marriage is void under following circumstances:-
a) neither party has a spouse living at the time of the marriage
b) the parties are not within the degrees of prohibited relationship, unless the custom or usage governing each of them permits of a marriage between the two;
c) the parties are not sapindas of each other, unless the custom or usage governing each of them permits of a marriage between the two.
Time duration for obtaining divorce varies from case to case & place to place. Generally speaking, contested divorce proceedings take approximately 18 to 24 months. Mutual Consent Divorce varies from 4 weeks to 7 months and more. In Delhi, Mutual Consent Divorce is possible with in two to four weeks.
Generally speaking procedure for obtaining Divorce in all forms of law (based on religion) is same with only bit of variation.