Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Marriage Bill: Property Rights of Wife After Divorce


In August 2012, a bill called ‘The Marriage Laws (Amendment) Act’ was passed in the Rajya Sabha, in which some changes regarding property-sharing in divorce cases were made. Divorce lawyers are expected to make a handful, if this Act gets implemented.

The main change in this bill, which has worried many men, is the clause that “the wife’s share in property would be 50% in all her husband’s residential properties, no matter what, and in other properties, her share will be decided as per the court’s decision”.

Wife’s 50 Percent Share In Husband’s Property

In the past, the wife was entitled to a share in her ex-husband’s property, but no specific proportion was detailed, according to law. With the present amendment to The Marriage Amendment Laws Act, the ex-wife will enjoy half of her divorced husband’s residential properties, without any conditions. Women will have to apply for their 50 percent share, either through themselves or through a divorce lawyer.

Another significant point to note is that this rule applies to all properties owned by the husband (those bought both before and after the marriage). In the past, the wife’s divorce lawyer could only claim a share of the properties bought by her husband after she was married to him. If the man does not have a good divorce lawyer, he will stand to lose a lot from such a divorce. Hence, it’s better to work things out and not get a divorce, if possible.

When A Wife Is Joint Owner in Her Husband’s Residential Property

Sometimes couples register a house in both their names. While some pay for the house with their respective salaries, in some cases the husband may for the house by himself. Now, what would happen in case of a divorce? Well, the woman would get her normal 50 percent share, plus 50 percent of her husband’s 50 percent share in the residential property. Meaning, the wife would get 75 percent, while the husband would have to remain satisfied with a mere 25 percent.

Wife’s Rights on Other Properties of Husband in India

Other than the compulsory share of 50 percent in her ex-husband’s residential properties, the woman’s divorce lawyer can also claim a share in the man’s other types of properties. This quantum is not specified in the bill, and depends on the ‘current living standard of the wife’.

Is This Law Against Men?

Many pro-male groups and lobbies have criticised The Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill as being anti-male and illogical. Some of this points that have been brought up are:
  • The bill only mentions division of the husband’s properties, and does not include the wife’s properties. Even if it is the woman’s fault, she will still get her husband’s hard earned land/house etc, but his divorce lawyer will not be able to claim anything from her. 
  • If husband and wife are living separately for many years, the wife can oppose divorce due to ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’ on the grounds of financial hardship, but the husband’s divorce lawyers cannot. 
  • The law is expected to encourage more women to file for divorce, and grab their husband’s property. This will spoil the family system, and encourage the proliferation of divorce lawyers, who will make big bucks. 
  • Men who are thinking of divorce may convert their residential properties into immovable assets or transfer their house to parents/relatives names, to prevent their wife’s lawyers from claiming 50 percent in their property.
What do you think of the divorce-related property division clauses in the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Act 2010? Please post your comments below.

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8 comments:

  1. It can be hard for anyone, even for lawyers to understand women's rights after divorce as far as their former spouse's pension and property is concern. Federal and state laws determine how this important asset should be split when a marriage breaks down. It would be a mistake to simply assume that your legal counsel will be looking after things automatically. Before you sign a divorce agreement or go to a hearing, you need to educate yourself to make sure you get the money you are entitled to.

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  2. Great post! I’ve been trying all the above advice and, little by little, it seems to work!
    Thanks again for posting!

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  3. What about if husband having properties and debts associated with it?

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  4. Why should a husband share his property with a wife who is not interested to share her life with him. Women can make money very easily by simply marrying any person, say that she does not like him as he is torturing her, she wants divorce from him and share his property. Just to own a Rs.40 lakhs flat, men become indebted for life by taking a loan and work as slaves in private companies day and night sacrificing many things and spending sleepless nights. By just marrying a man, a women easily gets 50% share in his hard earned property, but at the same time, a man is not entitled to get any share in a women’s property by marrying her.

    Wife doesn’t want her husband but she wants his property. If it is a women right to share her body and mind with a person whom she likes, it is a man’s right to share his hard earned property with a person whom he likes. Why should a husband share his property with a wife who is not interested to share her life. This law is basically framed to harass & suppress men and to make men as slaves of women. This is a clear-cut evidence of injustice done to men & this has to be withdrawn or amended in such a way that both have equal rights, equal responsibilities and equal punishments for mistakes so as to ensure that injustice to men is not denied in the name of doing justice to women.

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  5. All men unite under authentic organizations, raise funds, and work hard the way the women organizations are working with support of Amnesty funding in dollars. Political lobbying with millions of dollars is now the main factor. The political parties never think of betterment of the society. Only they want money and ruin the society.

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  6. What will be the right on in-laws property? Property named in husbands Parents?

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  7. Are there any parties to change this type of system

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