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This article is written by team Legal Resolved. The article discusses the cost of filing divorce petition in India.

Divorce in recent years has gained a certain rote-like predictability. The divorce rates are up. The stigma of divorce is fading and all this because the human wants are getting more complex these days. We want more, compromise less often, and are quick to take the easy way out. Complex socio-cultural factors, convoluted legal system and divorce procedure, and the conservative mind set of society make divorce in India a very a challenging task. Generally, India lacks a central registry of divorce data but the information gleaned from family court magistrates suggest that the rate of divorce in India happens to be the highest in Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata, and Lucknow.

Cost of Filing Divorce Petition

The divorce procedure in India is complex and it can take over a year to a decade, depending upon the nature of the conflict between the separated couple, the intensity of disagreements between the parties and the discretion of the judges. Hence, this leads to pending of cases in the country. The court procedure is repetitive and requires cash at each progression. For each appearance in court, your lawyer will charge a certain Amount from you. Thus, it is very essential for everyone to know what precisely can be the legal advisor’s fee one is supposed to pay for divorce cases in India. There are certain definite factors upon which a lawyer’s fee depends with regards to cases identifying with divorce in India.

Factors on which a Lawyer’s fee depends in India

Generally, the fee of a divorce lawyer depends on various factors such as whether the nature of divorce i.e. mutual consent or contested. Cost of mutual consent is generally less than the contested divorce as in the mutual consent divorce there are not many formalities involved. To be more specific let’s discuss the factors upon which normally a lawyer’s fee depends upon. They are-

  1. Lawyer’s fee depends on nature of Divorce. Contested or Uncontested (Mutual) Divorce

This is the point which plays a definitive factor in choosing the legal counsellor’s expense. A contested divorce is one what it sounds like: where one or both spouses contest (dispute) some aspect of their divorce. Therefore, the proceedings for divorce take a longer time to complete and usually involves greater pressure and increased legal fees. One party to a marriage needs a separation and other needs to stay in the bond of marriage. Hence in case of contested divorce, lawyers charge more fees as compared to the uncontested or mutual divorce which basically means that both spouses agree on all of their divorce-related issues.

2. Lawyer’s fee depends on their experience and standing in the court

It is comprehended and expected of a decent lawyer to charge more expense in relation to any other good lawyer. Often, a good and an experienced lawyer charges for per hearing which he will make in the court. He may even charge for each stage of divorce procedure including draft for each application.

3. Lawyer’s fee depends on other charges like child custody, maintenance, etc along with divorce.

One may file for divorce with other charges like child custody, maintenance, domestic violence, etc. So, when there is filing for more charges then the workload of a lawyer also increases. Accordingly, a lawyer may ask for higher fees.

4. Lawyer’s fee depends on the financial status of the party

One of the elements which a lawyer considers while deciding his expenses is the financial status of the client who wants to contest for divorce. In a practical field, it is frequently discovered that same lawyer may charge a poor agriculturist less when contrasted with a big businessman. Even there are certain liberal advocates who make all his benefit just through 10% of his cases, rest 90 % of the cases he contested for free. In this way, a legal advisor’s expense additionally relies on the financial status of the contested clients.

Grounds in the wake of divorce cases being so expensive

The grounds mainly depend upon the procedure of divorce. Hence, in order to apprehend the reason as to why the lawyers ask for a heavy amount of fees in cases of divorce, it is essential to understand the divorce proceedings of the court. The parliament has made certain provisions with regard to divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and section 13 of the Act deals with Divorce.

  1. If either of the spouses has, after the solemnization of the marriage had voluntary sexual intercourse with any person other than his or her spouse; or
  2. If either of the spouses has after the solemnization of the marriage, treated the petitioner with cruelty; or
  3. If either of the spouses has deserted the petitioner for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition; or
  4. If either of the spouses has ceased to be a Hindu by conversion to another religion; or
  5. If either of the spouses has been incurable of unsound mind or has been suffering continuously or intermittently from mental disorder of such a kind and to such an extent that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent.
  6. If either of the spouses had been suffering from a virulent and incurable form of leprosy; or
  7. If either of the spouses has been suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form; or
  8. If either of the spouses has renounced the world by entering any religious order; or
  9. If either of the spouses has not been heard of as being alive for a period of seven years or more by those persons who would naturally have heard of it, had that party been alive.

Procedure for Contested Divorce

The main procedure of filing a contested divorce involves court proceedings. There are certain stages involved to contest a contested divorce. These are:

  • First and foremost step is to find a good attorney who will legally assist you in taking the matter to the court. Clearly, give a brief about the reasons for filing a contested divorce and provide all the documents required at the time of filing of the divorce petition.
  • After confirming the petition (with signature, affidavits, vakalatnama and required documents) it needs to be filed before the family court and after that attorney will serve it to the spouse. If there comes any bar in serving the petition to the spouse in person then it can also be served by publishing in any local newspaper and after that, you have to wait for some reasonable time to proceed further.
  • It is necessary for another party to respond within a reasonable time as the court prescribes. If your spouse does not respond within the specified time limit, he/she is in default and the court can provide an order in your favour and will proceed to the next step.
  • This procedure contains revelation where life partners can acquire definite data from each other about conjugal resources, salary, authority and some other issues applicable to their case. This disclosure procedure can be directed through written interrogations, documents requests, and testimonies. During disclosure, the life partners can make an attempt for child’s support or divorce settlement from the courts.
  • In general, the court encourages the spouses to come to an agreement before the final date of hearing. The judge may order the spouses to go to mediation where a third party attempts to give assistance to them and negotiate any unsettled issues.

Uncontested or Mutual Consent Divorce under Hindu Laws

Section 13(B) of the Hindu Marriage Act deals with the provision of divorce by mutual consent. The provision also lays down the conditions that must be fulfilled to file a mutual consent divorce in India.

Conditions for Mutual Consent Divorce

Section 13(B) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 lays down certain conditions under which a petition for mutual consent divorce can be filed. It is significant to take advice from the top divorce advocates in India before filing for divorce in order to make sure that you fulfil these conditions. The following conditions to get a mutual consent divorce in India are as follows:

  1. The spouses must be living separately.
  2. The spouses must be living separately for a period of at least 1 year.
  3. The spouses must have mutually agreed that the marriage should be dissolved.

Procedure for Mutual Consent Divorce

  • The spouses, who want to obtain divorce through Mutual Consent, should discuss the matter with each other about the future course of action and must come to a decision about the children if any and their education, child custody, child maintenance, alimony, financial settlement, etc., and approach the lawyer/advocate for filing the petition in the Hon’ble Court under specific provision of law for Divorce.
  • In a mutual divorce proceeding, there are in total of two court appearances. A petition jointly signed by both parties is filed in the respective family court which is also called joint petition.
  • Cooling Off Period – There is two motion of divorce wherein the first motion, statement of both parties are recorded and then signed by both the parties on paper before the Hon’ble Court. Then a period of six months is given for reconciliation as under the Hindu Marriage Act the duration/time for obtaining mutual consent divorce is six months. But in a recent judgment, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has waved the six months period in a case Amardeep Singh vs. Harveen Kaur, Civil Appeal No. 11158 of 2017 [Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 20184 of 2017].
  • After completion of the first motion, the second motion of Divorce comes. There is a time period of 18 months within which the second motion is to be made otherwise the court will not pass the decree of the divorce. Moreover, as according to the provision of the settled law of divorce it is clear that one of the parties may withdraw their consent at any time before the passing of the decree.
  • In the final steps, a divorce decree will be granted as the Hon’ble Court may deem fit.

Documents Required

The divorce attorney files the divorce petition along with other necessary documents like-

  • Address proof of husband;
  • Address proof of wife;
  • Marriage certificate;
  • Passport size photographs of the marriage of husband and wife;
  • Evidence proving spouses are living separately for more than a year, and
  • Evidence relating to the failed attempts of reconciliation.

Further when the case proceedings are going on in the Courts; there are certain other documents which have to be presented to get a Divorce Decree:

  • Income Tax Returns (3 years);
  • Details of present income;
  • Birth and family details, and
  • The details of the assets.

Therefore, before going to take decision for divorce makes sure that you are aware of the fees of a lawyer. But one thing you must remember, it is not all about the fees but about the quality of a lawyer that you must take into consideration before filing a divorce case.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Divorce is a difficult phase to deal. You need a good attorney to handle your case, you have listed all the important points to consider before finalizing a lawyer.

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