The law grants equal power to a husband and a wife to demand divorce from each other. While divorce can be filed for multiple reasons, the statute provides various grounds on which a couple can decide to end their marriage. Even though the grounds for divorce may vary depending upon the couple’s religion as well as the manner in which the marriage has been solemnised, a few grounds are found to be common across the board.
When a marriage fails, the husband and wife begin to blame and accuse each other. These allegations are not true until proven so in the court of law.
Factors that generally lead a couple to the court are-
This is a no-fault ground to obtain a divorce, where neither of the spouses makes any allegations against another; instead, they just claim that the marriage is broken beyond repair due to irreparable differences between the couple.
Domestic violence is a behaviour involving violence or other abuse by the husband against the wife in a “domestic” setting, such as in a marriage or cohabitation. To deal with this issue, the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 was instituted.
While domestic violence and cruelty may go hand in hand, cruelty may be physical, mental and/or emotional. Any act of either spouse, which puts another’s life or health in danger or makes them believe that their life or health is in danger, amounts to cruelty.
Cruelty has been defined under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code as well as under various provisions applicable to marriages under different religions.
Adultery is an act by a married man of having consensual sexual intercourse with a married woman. According to our law, only a man can be charged with the criminal offence of adultery. The wife may, of course, file for divorce as a civil remedy. If, on the other hand, a wife commits adultery, she cannot be charged with a criminal offence. The husband can seek prosecution of the adulterer male and file a divorce petition against the wife.
Dowry is the property or valuable security given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly by the bride’s family to the groom’s family over the promise of marriage. The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 constitutes giving or taking dowry as a criminal offence.
Where a spouse is incapable of performing the typical marital obligations on account of mental illness, divorce can be sought. In such cases, the parties can also choose the option of annulment of marriage.
If one spouse abandons the other, for a continuous period of at least 2 years, without a valid and reasonable cause then the spouse who has been abandoned can seek a divorce. However, the spouse who abandons the other should intend to desert and there should be proof of it.
INFIDELITY- The spouse is romantically involved with someone outside of marriage. IMPOTENCY- Incapacity of the spouse to engage in sexual intercourse, either physically or mentally. INFERTILITY- Inability of the spouse to reproduce.
LEPROSY- Incurable skin disease which causes extreme disability making it difficult to perform matrimonial duties. SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE- Communicable venereal disease which is spread through sexual intercourse threatening the life of the partner. RENUNCIATION OF THE WORLD- Giving up worldly pleasures thereby ostracising matrimonial norms.
NO RESUMPTION OF COHABITATION- The couple refuse to resume their marriage after judicial separation. REFUSAL TO STAY TOGETHER- The spouse moves out of the matrimonial home without any just cause. GUILTY OF SEXUAL CRIMES- The husband has been pronounced guilty of sexual offences;
BIGAMY- The spouse marries another person without obtaining divorce from first spouse.
ILLEGAL AGE- The wife was of 15 years of age at the time of marriage and repudiated the marriage before turning 18.
MARRIAGE NOT CONSUMMATED- Unjustified denial of the spouse to engage in sexual intercourse resulting in cruelty.
Author- Advocate Jeevan Toprani, Gurgaon