In India, alimony, often referred to as post-divorce maintenance, is an important component of family law that is intended to support the spouse who may be less fortunate financially following the breakdown of the marriage. In India, Sections 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, essentially regulate the process for maintenance following a divorce.

Depending on the parties’ respective religious affiliations, the spouse requesting maintenance may start the procedure by filing a petition in either the family court or the magistrate court. The court takes into account a number of variables, such as the paying spouse’s ability to make ends meet, the dependent spouse’s requirements, and other pertinent situations. While the lawsuit is pending, the court may issue an interim maintenance order; if the case is resolved, a final order may be issued.

Apart from the Hindu Marriage Act, Muslims, Christians, and Parsis can also access maintenance provisions under their personal laws. A lump sum payment or periodic payments may be ordered by the court, contingent upon the specific facts. Failure to comply with the maintenance order may result in jail time among other legal repercussions. If the situation changes, the court has the authority to alter the maintenance order. It is advisable to seek legal guidance in order to understand the intricacies of the divorce process and guarantee equitable and just outcomes for all parties concerned.

Another important aspect remains that throughout the process, accurate financial information must be provided by both parties. The same point has been further emphasised by a recent judgement wherein it has been laid down by the Madras High Court that it is imperative for the wife to know her Husband’s salary in order to seek maintenance relief in matriomonial proceedings.

Facts of the case

In the given case, there were ongoing matrimonial proceedings between the petitioner and his spouse. The petitioner had been asked for maintenance by the wife. She required some basic information on the petitioner’s services in order to pursue her claim properly. In accordance with the Right to Information Act, the wife had requested information from the employer.The employer refused to provide the wife with the information she requested because the petitioner had voiced an objection.

These facts prompted the court to conclude that the wife cannot be considered a third party in this particular case. The wife did need some fundamental information while their marriage was still in progress. The amount of support that she is entitled to will be determined by the petitioner’s pay. It is unreasonable to expect the wife to assert her legal claim until she is aware of the amount of her pay that has been changed by the petitioner.

Prasanjeet Mallick (Legal Intern)

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