In this article, Divya Chowdary discusses the approach of Family Court in settling Matrimonial Disputes.
Marriage is a sacred institution. it is the very foundation of a stable family and civilized society. It accords status and security to the parties and their offspring. When a wedding takes place between two individuals, they bring in different goals into the marriage. Some of these goals relate to the experiences they have had while growing up, previous relationships, etc. These goals keep changing throughout the life of the marriage. This leads to disagreements over how the marriage should function. When such disagreements become persistent, they give rise to envious attitude, suspicions, and strife. How strongly a person feels about their goals, depend on their priorities which in turn are influenced by a person’s self-interests. These self-interests create hindrance in resolving differences and in taking any step towards an agreement.
Due to unfulfilled needs and desires, matrimonial disputes occur which can ruin one’s life and can’t be restored again very quickly. It leaves a profound impact on the life of people having marital disputes which leads to divorce. Marital conflicts are inevitable. They are not just a difference of opinion, rather, are a series of events that have been poorly handled to damage the marriage relationship deeply. Everyone has their personal preferences and self-interests. If the marriage relationship is to succeed, ideals of compromise and sacrifice need to be practiced. But it is not always right to give in. The marriage relationship grows stronger and healthier only when couples lovingly share and discuss their interests and show a willingness to sacrifice for each other.
Marital conflicts in India
Family and marriage have been considered the two most significant institutions of society. The preservation of family is essential for it is considered to be the fundamental and vital unit of the social organization. Its importance lies in the fact that it influences the behavior of children in this social era. In India, from time immemorial, marriage is considered to be a perpetual and sacred bond. Earlier, it was the norm to understand marriages to last for an eternity, and it worked as a bulwark against social vulnerabilities.
Stages of marital discord
- Ignorance: Couples who are newly married and haven’t learned how to successfully resolve their differences try to settle things by avoiding confrontation. They try to avoid the problem and never discuss it. This pattern persists for a long time, and eventually, the attitude begins to shift towards the next stage.
- An assertion of Demands: After a considerable period, couples realize that this attitude has contributed to their misery and suddenly begin demanding the fulfillment of their needs. They start voicing their thoughts and opinions at every opportunity. But unfortunately, this stage doesn’t work either and creates further strife between husband and wife.
- Compromising and Negotiating: As the couple begins to face other pressures and demands due to the nature of a marital relationship, such as time management tensions, hectic schedules, stress from their parenting responsibilities, financial burdens, etc. it coerces them to negotiate and compromise. Consequently, the also begin to question their compatibility.
- Resignation: It is natural to feel exhausted due to such unending conflicts, and also feel hopeless about resolving these conflicts. It is at this stage that couples feel the need to go for expert marriage guidance, or as a worst-case scenario, seek some legal remedy.
Changing profile of marital discord
A Hindu marriage was considered to be an indissoluble tie between the husband and the wife. With the emerging strains and challenges, we see a transformation in this view. This change is due to growing discontent among the younger generations, communication-gap, changing roles of husband and wife, and tensions of fast life. This has an adverse impact on the relationship of married couples which leads them to seek legal help in solving their marriage problems. By the time people get to the lawyer’s office, they have usually made up their minds to get a divorce, but few people do change their minds and want to give their marriage one last chance. In that case, what is essential is that both parties should listen and acknowledge what the other person has to say.
Marriage as an institution was popularised in the period of ancient history. During prehistoric times, there was nothing called “marriage.” The Caveman simply dragged the woman of his choice to mate with and procreated. Despite the absence of rituals and ceremonies, the caveman was as possessive about his woman as today’s husband. As the world became civilized, human beings realized that primitive ways had to be discarded and a more sophisticated way of mating had to be adopted. This brought about a kind of selectivity and sticking around with one partner, thus developing the system of marriage. Much later, rules and laws of marriage and societal norms began to appear. Monogamy was imposed on men, and women were given legal rights against bigamy, but even then she was still the inferior partner who rarely had a say in important matters. With the passage of time, the very concept and meaning of marriage changed. A large percentage of women joined the workforce and became financially independent. With the breakup of joint families and the advent of nuclear families, the pressure on working couples grew tremendously. An increasing number of marriages ended up in the divorce courts.
Concept of Marriage
Marriage is one of the universal social institutions. It is intimately connected with the organization of family. In fact, family and marriage are complementary to each other. As Gillin has said, “Marriage is a socially approved way of establishing a family of procreation,” and Westermark has remarked that “Marriage is rooted in the family rather than the family in marriage.” Duncan Mitchell’s “A Dictionary of Sociology” has defined marriage as “a socially sanctioned sex relationship involving two or more people of the opposite sex, whose relationship is expected to endure beyond the time required for gestation and the birth of children.”
Conflict in marriage is inevitable, whenever two people get together eventually some of the belief systems and personal habits of one will annoy the other, regardless of the degree of love. In healthy relationships, couples learn to accept and resolve a conflict. But in case of unhealthy relationship marital conflicts arise due to several reasons. When there is a conflict between role performance and role expectation of the spouses it leads to maladjustment of husband-wife relationships and marital disruptions, as a consequence.
Reasons for matrimonial disputes
Marital conflicts can be about virtually anything. Couples complain about sources of conflict arising from verbal and physical abuse to personal characteristics and behaviors. Marital dissatisfaction, extramarital sex, problematic drinking, or drug use are other reasons for conflicts.
Some of the most prevalent reasons for Divorce in India are –
- Infidelity: Infidelity is involved in about one divorce out of five. But if there is another man or woman in a partner’s life, then he/she is not in a committed relationship, and there is a problem with the marriage.
- Domestic Violence: Domestic violence is a pattern of violent and undesirable behavior (both physical and mental) of one member of the family towards another. This creates unwanted tensions in the relationships of couples in the family.
- Control: Exerting unnecessary Control and wanting to “get things done your way” is not a gender-specific marital problem. It is one that can kill a marriage.
- Finances: If one spouse is a spendthrift and another is a saver, conflicts are bound to arise. Different financial strategies and philosophies can cause conflict in a marriage.
- Lack of Commitment: Sometimes, men do fail to develop a strong sense of commitment and sincerity towards their marriage and spouse. The reasons for this deficiency may vary from person to person. Such an attitude inevitably dilutes the marital cohesion and may culminate in marital conflict.
- Lack of Communication: In today’s busy social and professional setup, spouses rarely get ample time to communicate with each other. People often fail to keep track of their marital life, and a sense of disillusionment creeps into their marriage. Many times, such emotional and psychological cynicism may induce a man to seek a divorce.
The term divorce comes from Latin word ‘divortium’ which means to turn aside; to separate. Divorce is the legal cessation of a matrimonial bond. All the personal laws in India provide for divorce under specific grounds and conditions. Though there are different acts governing people belonging to different religions, the grounds provided for divorce are more or less the same, with minor variations though.
Dictionary defines divorce as “the legal separation of man and wife.” The New Brittanica – Webster Dictionary defines divorce as “a complete legal dissolution of marriage. “Interestingly, however, marriage has a much broader definition. Brittanica – Webster defines marriage as “the institution whereby a man and a woman are joined in a special social and legal relationship to make a home and raising a family.” Thus, it is interesting to see that marriage is viewed as a legal and social union of two people; however, divorce is merely considered as the legal termination of the said marriage. These definitions in and of themselves highlight one of the underlying problems that occur when a couple chooses to divorce. Namely, although the legal system is equipped to deal with the legal issues that the couple faces when divorcing, it does not address nor is it equipped to deal with the social and emotional issues that confront the couple. Once the emotional or social problems are dealt with, it resolves the legal issues that are much easier. Taking it a step further, what most people are arguing about is not legal or financial issues, but rather arguments fueled by their desire to get some form of revenge for a perceived wrong by the other spouse. Once each of the participants is helped and supported to resolve the emotional and social issues, they are in a much better position to efficiently deal with the legal and financial matters.
Divorce in India
The phenomenon of divorce is not new to India; it has existed at all times in known history. But it was resorted to only in extreme cases where there was intolerable cruelty, desertion, mental illness, impotence/infertility, and infidelity. But it is no longer so. The social stigma attached to divorce is also diminishing. Divorce is no longer a dirty word. Divorced people are no longer looked down and judged by the society.
It was added by the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Act of 1976. It merely implies legal separation without divorce. It is a sort of a last resort before the legal breakup of the marriage, i.e., divorce. The reason for the presence of such a provision under Hindu Marriage Act is that the tensions, strain, and anxiety of everyday life should not result in the abrupt breakup of a marital relationship. There is no effect of a decree of judicial separation on the subsistence and continuance of marriage, the effect, however, is on their co-habitation. As soon as a decree for judicial separation is passed, a husband or a wife, whosoever has approached the court, is under no compulsion to live with his / her spouse. The aggrieved party to the marriage may present a petition on any of the grounds stated in the provisions for divorce under section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, praying for a decree of judicial separation. If there is no resumption of cohabitation between the parties to the marriage for one year or upwards after the passing of the order for judicial separation, the couple may apply for divorce.
Restitution of conjugal rights
The right or entitlement to consortium is the most significant component of marital bond. When one spouse leaves the other or withdraws or abandons the company of the other without any reasonable cause, the aggrieved spouse may seek court intervention. The idea behind relief by way of restitution of conjugal rights is to aim to restore a relationship which has got estranged for whatever reasons. This remedy has been statutorily provided under all personal laws, viz. Section 9 of Hindu Marriage Act, Section 32-33 Divorce Act, Section 36 Parsi Marriage, And Divorce Act and Section 22 of the Special Marriage Act. While the Muslim law has no statutory provision but, from texts and principles of Mullah, it means right to stay together. If either the husband or the wife, without reasonable excuses, withdraw from the society of the other, the aggrieved party may approach the Court for restitution of conjugal rights. The following will have to be proved:-
- The withdrawal by the respondent from the society of the petitioner (aggrieved party).
- The withdrawal is without any reasonable cause or exclusive or lawful ground.
- There should be no other legal ground for refusal of the relief.
- The court should be satisfied with the truth of the statement made in the petition.
Matrimonial dispute resolution – Family courts
The need to establish the family courts was first emphasized in India by the late Smt. Durgabai Deshmukh, after a tour of China in 1953, where she studied the working of family courts. She discussed the subject with some judges and legal experts and then proposed to set up family courts in India to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru
Another reason for setting up of family courts was the mounting pressures from several women’s associations, welfare organizations, and individuals for the establishment of such courts intending to provide a forum for speedy settlement of family-related disputes. Importance was laid on a non adversarial method of resolving family disputes and promoting conciliation And securing a prompt settlement of disputes relating to marriage and family affairs.
“In view of the increasing number of marital disputes the Supreme Court has directed all the Family Courts in the country to dispose of matrimonial disputes expeditiously and that the delay in adjudication by the Family Courts will not only be considered against human rights but also in contravention to the basic embodiment of dignity of an individual.”[The Hindu]. It came to the notice of the Court that on certain occasions the Family Courts have been granting adjournments in a routine manner resulting in victimization of the aggrieved party. Such decisions counterfeit the purpose of the law. A Family Judge is expected to be efficient in the disposal of such matters as they are delicate and sensitive issues about the marriage.
The family courts are specialized as civil courts, which deal exclusively with the dissolution of marriage; declaration of the matrimonial status of any person; declaration of ownership of properties of the parties concerned; interim order of injunction arising out of marital relationships; declaration of the legitimacy of any person, or guardianship of a person, or the custody or access of any minor and suits for maintenance. The family courts entertain the applications for grant of decree of divorce under the various Acts like Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939, Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936, the Divorce Act, 1869, the Special Marriage Act, 1954, Foreign Marriage Act, 1969, etc.  Any dispute that arises in a marriage between the parties irrespective of their caste or creed and validity of marriage, falls under the jurisdiction of the family courts.The family courts can also entertain petitions on property disputes between the parties to a marriage.The Family court entertains suit for partition of the property between parties to a marriage. A suit filed by wife for return of gold ornaments, cash etc., given at the time of marriage even after death of husband being one arising out of marital relationship though not between parties to marriage. The family court can also pass orders or injunctions in the circumstances arising out of a marital relationship.
The matrimonial litigation is a traumatic experience in the lives of parents and their children. Apart from emotional problems, it creates many legal, social and practical complications. It is unfortunate; however, the only way available to parties to obtain “relief” from an unhappy and intolerable relationship sometimes is by subjecting themselves and their spouses to the hazards of ordinary court procedures.
The Family Courts Act, 1984 was part of the trends of legal reforms concerning women. The Act was expected to facilitate satisfactory resolution of disputes about the family through a forum supposed to work expeditiously in a just manner and with an approach ensuring the maximum welfare of society and dignity of women. Prevalence of gender biased laws and oppressive social practices over centuries have denied justice and fundamental human rights to Indian women.
Hindu Marriage Act
The underlying forces of change have given a new meaning to the causes of disharmony. It is not so that factors such as incompatibility of personalities were not in existence in the past, but what is new is that the tolerance threshold has decreased and the egos of individuals have risen remarkably. Keeping in view the high rate of marital discord, several matrimonial reliefs have been provided in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Some of them are the restitution of conjugal rights under Section 9; Judicial separation to help cool down tempers under Section 10; classification of marriages into void under Section 11 and voidable under Section 12 for nullity of legally irregular marriages, and finally, divorce under Section 13 of the Act. Provision has also been made to help the victim spouse for maintenance pendente lite and expenses of proceedings under Section 24, permanent alimony and maintenance under Section 25.
The following are the grounds for divorce in India mentioned under section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
The act of indulging in any sexual relationship including intercourse outside marriage is termed as adultery. In Veena Kalia v. Jatinder Nath Kalia the husband after marriage went abroad for studies leaving his two minor daughters and his wife in India. For twenty-three years, they lived apart, and the husband contracted a second marriage there. He had three children out of the second marriage. He was thus, guilty of cruelty, desertion, and adultery. The wife got a divorce on these grounds, and the husband was ordered to pay her maintenance of Rs. 10,000 per month. The court also ordered him to deposit Rs. 10 lakhs in the court towards for expenses of his daughters’ marriages.
A spouse can file a divorce case when he/she is subjected to any mental and physical injury that causes danger to life, limb, and health. Certain instances, such as denying food, continuous ill-treatment and dowry-related abuses, perverse sexual act and the like are included under cruelty. In Smt. Arati Mondal v. Bhupati Mondal the Calcutta High Court held that the act of deprivation of conjugal right on the part of the wife toward her husband is worst form of cruelty. In another case of Smt. Mamata Dubey v. Rajesh Dubey the court held that constantly accusing the husband of having an adulterous relationship with others which proved later to be false and sending the family members to jail under Section 498-A of I.P.C. amounts to cruelty.
If one of the spouses voluntarily abandons his/her partner for at least two years, the abandoned spouse can file a divorce case on the ground of desertion. In Smt. Sunita v. Ramesh Kumar  a petition was filed on the grounds of desertion and cruelty by the wife. In this case, after marriage, the parties lived together only for about a week. After that, the wife joined the company of the husband nearly after six months and stayed there for about five days only. She falsely involved the husband and his family members in a number of criminal as well as civil cases. The Panchayat settled the matter of separation, still, no effort was made by the wife to join the matrimonial home. In most of the criminal cases, she was not able to substantiate the claims made by her. The court held that, in such cases, grant of divorce on the ground of desertion and cruelty would be proper.
In case either of the spouse converts himself/herself into another religion, the other spouse may file a divorce case based on this ground.
A mental disorder can become a ground for filing a divorce if the spouse of the petitioner suffers from incurable mental disorder and insanity and therefore cannot be expected from the couple to stay together. In Harmanjit Kaur v. Bhupinder Singh Gill  the appellant had a mental disorder (Schizophrenia) since before her marriage, and this fact was not disclosed to the respondent. According to the medical advice, the disease is incurable, and she might become a danger to the husband and also to the child. Therefore the court granted the divorce.
In case of a ‘virulent and incurable’ form of leprosy, a petition can be filed by the other spouse based on this ground.
If one of the spouses is suffering from a severe disease that is easily communicable, a divorce can be filed by the other spouse. The sexually transmitted diseases
like AIDS are accounted to be venereal diseases. The other forms of venereal diseases include Syphilis and Gonorrhea; and of these two, former is considered to be more dangerous. Congenital syphilis is not a disease in a communicable form and is thus not considered to be a ground of divorce.
A spouse is entitled to file for a divorce if the other renounces all worldly affairs by embracing a religious order. A person enters into holy or religious order when he undergoes the ceremonies and rites prescribed by the order which he enters. Unless these ceremonies are endured, it will not amount to entering into holy order. But if a person enters into a holy order and comes home or resumes cohabitation after entering into the holy order, the ground will not be available because though he has entered a religious order, he has not renounced the world.
Not Heard Alive
If a person is not seen or heard alive by those who are expected to be ‘naturally heard’ of the person for a continuous period of seven years, the person is presumed to be dead. The other spouse should need to file a divorce if he/she wants to remarry.
No Resumption of Cohabitation
It becomes a ground for divorce if the couple fails to resume their cohabitation after the court has passed a decree of separation.
Under section 13(2) following are the grounds for divorce in India on which a petition can be filed only by the wife:-
- If the husband has indulged in rape, bestiality, and sodomy.
- If the marriage is solemnized before the Hindu Marriage Act and the husband has again married another woman in spite of the first wife being alive, the first wife can seek for a divorce.(Bigamy)
A girl is entitled to file for a divorce if she was married before the age of fifteen and renounces the marriage before she attains eighteen years of age.
If there is no cohabitation for one year and the husband neglects the judgment of maintenance awarded to the wife by the court, the wife can contest a divorce.
Under section 13B of Hindu marriage act 1955 the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Act 1976 provided for a new theory of divorce known as “Divorce by mutual consent.” Divorce by Mutual Consent as the name suggests is when both parties, i.e., husband and wife come to a mutual understanding that the marriage is dissolved amicably.
Muslim Marriage Act
When the marital dispute worsens, the ties between husband and wife start weakening. Then if the wife becomes disobedient, arrogant and negligent of her duties and her husband’s rights and virtues, Islam states certain remedies which are not legal remedies. This does not include divorce. Firstly, advise the wives [then if they persist] forsake them in bed and [finally] strike them. But in today’s rational world it somehow does not seem appropriate. Thus, Muslim law also provides for the remedy of Divorce.
The divorce under Muslim law is of two types:-
- Extra judicial divorce
- Judicial divorce
The extra judicial divorce consists of following divisions:
By husband: Talaq, Ila, Zihar
By wife: Talaq-i-tafweez, By mutual consent-Khula, Mubarat
Talaq -e-Ahsan: It consists of a single pronouncement of divorce. It is irrevocable even after expiration of period of iddat.
Talaq-e-Hasan: It is affected when the husband repudiates his wife during a Tuhr (period of purity) in which he has not had carnal connection with her and he repeats the repudiation during the next two tuhrs which makes the divorce final and irrevocable.
Talaq-ul-Biddat: Three pronouncements are made in a single breadth. It becomes irrevocable as soon as it is pronounced. It is considered to be the worst form of divorce.
Ila: If a husband after having attained puberty, swears by god not to have sexual intercourse with his wife for a period of four months or for any unspecified period, he is said to make Ila.
Zihar: If husband compares his wife to his mother or to a female within prohibited degrees of relationship, the wife has right to avoid him until he has performed penance for his sin.
Khula: Khula is separation by putting an end to the matrimonial bonds and rights. It is that right in which the wife agrees to give a certain amount of consideration to the husband for her release from the marriage ties.
Mubarat: Mubarat is the dissolution of marriage by mutual agreement. There is mutual desire for the separation of spouses in this kind of divorce. The offer may be made by any party either husband or wife.
Talaq –e-Tafweez: A husband may delegate his power of talaq to his wife. An agreement is made before or after marriage providing that the wife is at liberty to divorce herself from her husband under certain specified conditions. It is valid, provided that such power is not absolute and unconditional and that the conditions are reasonable and not opposed to law.
The judicial divorce consists of:-
- Dissolution of Muslim Marriage act, 1939.
Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act
An Act to consolidate and clarify the provisions of Muslim law relating to suits for dissolution of marriage by women married under Muslim law and to remove doubts as to the effect of the renunciation of Islam by a married Muslim woman on her marriage tie. Whereas it is expedient to consolidate and clarify the provisions of Muslim law relating to suits for dissolution of marriage by a woman married under Muslim law and to remove doubts as to the effect of the renunciation of Islam by a married Muslim woman on her marriage tie.
Lian: When the husband charges the wife with charges of adultery, and later the charges are proved false, the wife is entitled to sue and ask for a divorce. The mere charge won’t dissolve the marriage automatically; it is only after the decree that the marriage is dissolved.
Fask: Muslim law allows a lady to approach a qazi for dissolving a marriage under following conditions:
- If the marriage is irregular.
- If the marriage was within prohibited degrees etc
Under section 2 of this Act, a Muslim woman can seek divorce on the following grounds for divorce in India:-
- The husband’s whereabouts are unknown for a period of four years.
- The husband has failed to provide maintenance to the wife for at least two years.
- The husband has been under imprisonment for seven or more years.
- The husband is unable to meet the marital obligations.
- If the girl is married before fifteen and decides to end the relationship before she turns eighteen.
Alternative methods of conflict resolution
A few alternatives to legal remedies could be:-
1) Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) which aims to assist two or more disputants in reaching an agreement. The content of that agreement is determined by the parties themselves rather than accepting something imposed by a third party. Mediators are those impartial professionals who use appropriate techniques and skills to open or improve dialogue between disputants, aiming to help the parties reach an agreement on the disputed matter.
2) Marriage Counseling is also an excellent way to figure out what to do. The marriage counselor will ask questions that help one think more clearly about what is going on and what he/she wants. The marriage counselor will help the parties to communicate better with each other and provides innovative ways to resolve conflicts. Divorce is a potential minefield regarding the impact it can have on the parties, their children and their extended families. Counseling should be one method to overcome the problem of matrimonial disputes as the study showed that after counseling, couples became more confident and had a greater sense of responsibility. Divorce counseling is often a useful means of ending the marriage peacefully, and is usually encourage when one of the parties, typically the non-initiator of the divorce, requests marriage counseling. In divorce counseling, the initiator is provided with a safe setting to tell the other spouse why her decision is irrevocable. And the spouse gets a safe place to tell the initiator his feelings about the divorce and the relationship. An experienced counselor can help to keep the discussion off guilt and blaming and help the couple conclude that the marriage, however disappointing, is over.
Premarital counseling, a specialized type of therapy usually provided by marriage and family therapists, is believed to offer benefit to all couples who are considering a long-term commitment such as marriage. Typically, the goal of premarital counseling is to identify and address any potential areas of conflict in a relationship early on, before those issues become serious concerns, and teach partners effective strategies for discussing and resolving a conflict.
Impact on children
Divorce is a very painful arena for someone’s life as it disturbs the whole life of two partners, and is even more painful if they have children. Besides, the children’s interests are often ignored when the parents are engaged in bitter courtroom battles. Unhealthy relationships and marriages not only have significant negative consequences for each member of the couple but also have a considerable impact on their children. Contrary to popular belief, children who grow up witnessing such aggression between their parents do not become accustomed to this fighting but instead become more sensitive to it. This means that the slightest hint of aggression or hostility sparks a sharp increase in cortisol levels and cardiac stress in these children. Also, children who are exposed to chronic stress such as repeated, unresolved marital conflict exhibit symptoms that parents can detect. Infants tend to cry more than usual and have more feeding problems than before. Sometimes infants can have a sharp change in their sleeping patterns as well. Post-potty trained young children may regress to a loss of bowel control and may also cry more than usual. Some things which affect children during marital conditions are:
- When there is conflict in the family, a large number of parents/guardians spend little time discussing academic issues with their pupils.
- Most pupils do not confide to their peers when their parents are fighting.
- More female pupils have average or poor academic performances since they are more exposed to conflicts/violence.
- School attendance for pupils who are experiencing conflict is weak, and this negatively affects the teacher-pupil relationship.
- Pupils from violent homes do not have all their school needs met by their parents, have poor relations with peers and are rarely in school.
- School counselors play a significant role in pupils’ academic performance and relation with peers.
How to deal with children after a divorce
After divorce, many experts recommend following points to remember while handling small kids
- Be Honest: Child should know what is happening, some people do not tell their children which is wrong, this hiding attitude makes the child stressful.
- Assure them it will be fine: It is your duty to assure the child that it will be fine in the future, explain them heartily so that they can understand the problem.
- Let them know it is not their fault: Most children blame themselves in some way for what has happened. For example, they may think that this may not be happening had they been well behaved. Do not tell them the ins and outs of the divorce, but do make sure you tell them that in no way this is their fault and you both still love them very much.
- Come to Agreements with your ex-partner: Talk to your ex-partner about your children and come to agreements together about the things you will both do to make sure the process, however amicable, does not scare your children however unpleasant the divorce may be. For example, decide that you will never put each other down in front of your children. Even though you are not together, you must show a united front.
Welfare of children
Whatever the statutory position or law; the fact remains that the predominant consideration is the welfare of the child. As observed by the supreme court in Jacob v. Jacob,The children are not mere playthings for their parents. Absolute rights of the parents over the destinies and lives of their children has in the modern changed social conditions, yielded to the consideration of their welfare as human beings. The welfare of the child is to be measured by money or by physical comfort only. The word ‘welfare’ must be taken in its broadest sense. The moral and religious welfare must be considered as well as physical well being.
However, material considerations have their place they are secondary matters. More important are the stability, security, the loving and understanding care and guidance, the warm and compassionate relationships that are essential for the development of the child’s character, personality, and talents.
Suggestions for marital issues
Following are the suggestions specified in the light of findings of the study:
- The marital problems occur due to unfulfilled basic needs, misunderstandings, alcohol addiction, dowry demand, ego problems, and difference of opinion. Thus all the above complaints disturb the entire family. To avoid the above circumstances it is necessary to develop understanding, sympathy, like a sense of humor and attitude of ‘give and take.’
- Counselling can play an important role to improve mutual understanding and healthy relationship.
- Family issues should not be discussed in front of neighbors, friends or any.
- Due to role conflict, marital conflicts occur, awareness of roles and responsibilities and its performance is an essence of preventing marital strife.
- Social work techniques like crisis intervention; community intervention etc. can be applied. Non-governmental organizations must be involved in this process.
- Family organization programs should be conducted to prevent family disorganization.
- The counseling centres should concentrate on the improvement of interpersonal relationship. Marital therapy & family therapy should be emphasized.
- Awareness & adjustment pattern can be explained to the couples through premarital counseling.
- A social worker can help these families or couples by playing the role of facilitator, and a guide.
Divorce leaves a profound impact on parties and their families. It also jeopardizes the future of children as it is the most painful event in their lives. So, the main aim of the legal system should be to minimize the divorce situations. Marital conflict happens when the need, desires, wants of the couples remains unfulfilled, when one of the peoples’ self-interests becomes his or her only consideration. It is through adjustment and willingness to sacrifice for each other that will lead to the re-establishment of friendly relationship. Thus, preservation of marriage should be considered a priority for it is the basic and one of the essential institutions of the society.Problems come to make us strong, so it’s up to us whether we give up before them or take a stand to bring positivity into our lives.