In this blogpost, Mayuri Khandelwal, a student of IInd year, Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur writes on what is alimony, condititons court considers before granting alimony and whether husbands can claim alimony in India or not

There was bit cheer in the husband’s camp lately when a family court in Gandhinagar, Gujarat held that a husband is entitled to claim alimony from his wife if he is incapable of maintaining himself. In this case, husband filed a petition in family court for claiming maintenance from his wife. The husband was a former cricketer and played with Sachin Tendulkar in Under 17 team. He accused his wife of causing mental and physical torture. Here the court held that wife is liable to maintain his husband as he is physically disabled due to a road accident. The husband was awarded alimony of Rs 10,000 per month. But, was this decision valid. Can a husband ask for alimony from his wife?

What is alimony?

Alimony is also called as maintenance or spousal support and spousal maintenance it is a legal obligation to provide financial support to one’s spouse before or after the marital separation or divorce.

Who can ask for alimony and who should pay? The alimony also known as spousal support which literally means an obligation by law that is imposed on either spouse. It is expected that both the spouses irrespective of their gender must bear the maintenance support during and after marriage. Today’s modern society treats both men and women equally, as a result, the burden of alimony can now fall upon either the husband or the wife depending upon their financial conditions. In the present age of equality where both men and women are equal before the law but in practice men are more liable to provide interim support to his ex- spouse during the litigation process. After the divorce, either of the spouses has the right to claim alimony. Though this is not an absolute right and can be granted by the court depending upon the circumstances and financial conditions of both the spouses.

It is given that a husband has to pay alimony to his wife irrespective of that the fact he is employed or unemployed. The court order came on a plea by a woman seeking alimony from her husband, who has been refusing to pay alimony on the grounds of being unemployed. The court granted the interim relief to the woman after considering the inflation rate, social position and educational qualifications of both the wife and the husband.

Additionally, of lately family court in Mumbai had drummed up some excitement by the decision that a woman who is well-qualified and is sitting idle cannot claim maintenance from the husband after she is divorced. In spite of the fact that the decision was particular to this case and can be challenged in a higher court, in India men usually pay the alimony in the event of divorce. However, there are certain exceptions, and it helps to understand the basics of maintenance laws. In this way, monetarily abled women don’t get support or they may even need to pay upkeep to their spouses if there should arise an occurrence of separation.

In the event that you are separating with an unemployed companion, it has any kind of effect whether his absence of work is intentional or automatic, for instance, a spouse is not working, he may approach the court for support as a major aspect of the separation if amid the marriage, his life partner concurred that he ought to stay home and tend to the house and the kids while she is working, the courts will mull over this. Yet at the same time a sexual orientation inclination frequently exists when the non-working life partner is the spouse. Lawfully, he is qualified for the same contemplations as an unemployed wife. Be that as it may’ a few courts view non-working spouses suspiciously, accepting they could work and procure cash on the off chance that they decided to.

As it is common in our Indian culture, the wife is always a homemaker. Subsequently, a noteworthy piece of our female populace never wandered out of her home to win as a profession. Consequently, being, more significant, “upkeep” came to be connected with ladies yet as indicated by Hindu Law; the husband also has the right to claim maintenance which is subject to certain conditions. In the event of the husband becoming incapable due to some disease or accident, and thereby, is rendered unequipped for acquiring for an employment, he then has the right to claim alimony. At the same time, one should keep in mind that if the husband is capable enough to earn on his own, and yet does nothing for a living; he cannot be entitled to any maintenance.

Even the law states the same as given in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 which is about maintenance pendente lite and expenses of proceedings. Where in any proceeding under this Act it appears to the court that either the wife or the husband, as the case may be, has no independent income sufficient for his or her support and the necessary expenses of the proceedings, it may, on the application of either party order the other party to pay the expenses of the proceedings, and monthly expenses during the proceeding, having regard to the petitioner’s own income and the income of the respondent, as the court may deem fit.[1]

The law on alimony and maintenance varies from religion to religion as governed by their personal laws. For example, under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, both the husband and wife are legally entitled to claim permanent alimony and maintenance. However, if the couple weds under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, only the wife is entitled to claim permanent alimony and maintenance.

The present society treats both men and women equally, subsequently the weight of divorce settlement can fall on either side of the gathering relying on the money related circumstances of the life partners. In spite of the fact that in the present period both men and women are currently equivalent according to law, still men are more at risk to give maintenance to their life partner at the time of the prosecution.

conditions on which the court relies for deciding alimony

After separation both the life partners have the privilege to claim support. In spite of the fact that it is not an absolute right, but rather can be conceded by the court contingent on the circumstances and monetary states of both the life partners. The accompanying are the conditions relying upon which support is granted by the court:-

  • Alimony is not allowed to the life partner already married to some one else in the event that he or she is as of now accepting backing amid the season of separation. Despite the fact that the remunerating of divorce settlement can be modified on such occasions taking into account the contentions for guaranteeing the backing.
  • In the instance of a contested divorce, life partners fail to understand the concept of alimony or how much amount should be paid. In such circumstances, the court takes up the undertaking of settling on a choice on the measure of support to be paid.
  • Only under certain convincing circumstances the court ventures out to change the officially encircled support. Now and again the court may even hand over the weight of paying for the upkeep to an open body.

It should be taken into consideration by the judges while affirming the judgment that men are also sometimes in a disadvantageous position at the time of divorce. So they should grant the alimony to the husbands also as the law is gender neutral.


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[1]  Section 24, Hindu marriage act, 1955

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