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Many enquire if there is any procedure to file a divorce without a lawyer in India, as many at times, the lawyer’s fee is unaffordably high, the misconduct of the lawyer made the person lose confidence and take the matter in their hands, or no suitable lawyer is available to handle the case efficiently.
Keeping such problems in mind, the Indian Judiciary has made it possible to file for divorce without a lawyer. Now the question regarding the procedure to file a divorce without a lawyer. This blog is all set up to answer that.
When you are wondering how can I get a divorce without a lawyer, someone has already done it. You might be interested to know that, there are several persons who have done that. Mutual divorce without a lawyer is easier, but the issue arises with a contested divorce.
Anchal Gupta from Pune set an example by fighting her own divorce case to get rid of an abusive husband. When she could do it, you can do it too.
The woman, with permission from the court, presented and fought her case all by herself. Anchal Gupta, paid a hefty amount to the lawyer for handling her case, but the lawyer turned out to be totally inefficient.
Such a situation frustrated her and she asked the court for permission to present her own case. She fought the case, won it and it inspired her so much that she obtained a degree in law.
The Braveheart never gave up, made it possible to file a divorce without a lawyer, but the procedures were not simple as well. When no lawyer is ready to take the case, or not handling in a proper way, the Court has given you the liberty to fight your own case.
You need to start by submitting an application seeking the Court to allow the person to present his own case.
After the success story, you must be curious to know how to file a divorce without a lawyer in India.
If no lawyer is suitable to handle your case, or under any other situation mentioned above, you can proceed to start a divorce without a lawyer. It must be complying with all the procedure before the court all by yourself. You need to produce the application either with the petition or after the petition has been filed.
A mutual consented divorce is an easier and faster way you can get a divorce without a lawyer. For obtaining a divorce mutually, both the parties must agree that the divorce should take place, and decided on other relevant factors.
On filing for divorce without a lawyer shall require to follow the steps all by themselves:
Petition: means the application which is presented before the court stating the matter and claims in brief. In this, the parties have to file a joint petition. They can even file an application in the essence of the decision they have taken regarding alimony, property, child custody, etc.
Hearing: The court fixes a date for the hearing, on that date, the couple requires to be present in court. The Magistrate quoting the demands of the couple, asks them whether they consent to it voluntarily or not.
Order: In case the couples have decided on every matter previously, the court passes an order approving them.
If certain matters like child custody, alimony or property separation have not been reached to a decision by the couple, the court passes an interim order (temporary till the final order is passed) till it analyzes the facts and circumstances.
After analyzing the court passes a final order, and the interim order ceases.
A contested divorce occurs when one party is in favor to take divorce, but another is not. Here, if you have been convincing enough to the Magistrate and he allows you to fight your case, you can proceed with your divorce matter following the procedures of a divorce case:
Institution of The Suit: The petitioner has to draft a petition and file it before the court mentioning the facts of the case and the demands of the petitioner.
Summons: When the case is accepted by the court to be carried on, a summon is sent to the other spouse.
The appearance of Defendant: On this day, the defendant shall submit his reply to the petition, and documents, which is called a written statement.
Replication/Rejoinder by Plaintiff: After filing the written statement, the plaintiff can provide an answer to the reply given by the other party.
Examination of parties: On this date, the Court questions the parties and record their statements.
Framing an Issue: Based on the statements of each other, the parties frame issues against each other.
Evidence and Cross-Examination of Defendant: The defendant requires to present the evidence in the support of his statement, and cross-examination can take place based on that.
Final Argument: In this, both the parties submit the summary of their case.
Judgment: After the final argument, the court analyses the matter to put an end, and a judgment or decree is passed.
The Relevant Documents
To file for divorce without a lawyer involves the collection of the following documents:
Address proof of both parties (eg: Voter ID/Aadhar Card)
4 Photographs of the marriage.
Proof that both parties have been living separately since a period of one year (eg: delivery receipts of products)
Proof that all attempts to reconcile have failed. (eg: bills for a marriage counseling session)
Income tax statements of both parties for the last 3 years.
Details of the profession and present remuneration of both parties.
Details of properties and all assets owned by both parties.
Birth details and information relating to the family background of both parties
Separate affidavits signed by both parties
Not only filing a petition, but you can also respond to a divorce petition without a lawyer. In that, the procedure is the same, but you’ll be called a defendant in such a case.
If you are feeling inspired by Anchal Gupta’s story, hold your horses, it is time for some practical facts, it is not easy to get a divorce without a lawyer.
Though one can fight his own case, certain difficulties they may face are as follows while carrying on the procedure:
Presenting The Application Before The Magistrate: When you’ll file an application for fighting the case of divorce without a lawyer, the first question that will raise the reason for doing so. If your answer is economic backwardness, the magistrate before whom you are presenting will refer it to the legal aid.
Accepting or rejecting your application is totally under the discretion of the Magistrate before whom you are filing, it does not follow any prescribed protocol or rules.
It has been the economic barrier, one of the main reasons to compare that what shall be less, the divorce cost without a lawyer or the divorce cost with a lawyer.
Legal aid service is a government service provided to poor persons, whose annual income is fewer Rs. 1 lakh per annum. This service aims that economic backwardness should not be a reason to bow down before any wrong going on.
The government chooses a number of lawyers, who handle such cases and the government carries its expenses. The client needs not to pay a penny to the lawyer. Such lawyers in civil matters are called general pleader (GP) and in criminal matters are called public prosecutor (PP).
Fight Against An Expert: When you are filing for divorce without a lawyer and especially if it is a contested one involving several questions like - alimony, child custody, property division, etc.; one thing you require to keep in mind.
It is that you may, rather there is a huge chance that on your opposition, there will be a person who has a deep knowledge of law and years of experience in presenting any matter in a convincing manner to the Court.
The Court not only depends on evidence and facts, the argument and the presentation and interpretation of the evidence also play an important role.
Your desire for getting a divorce without a lawyer can be a greater hassle for you in such a situation.
When you are filing a case, of course, it is your main aim is to win, therefore it is not wise to make your side weak in any way.
It is not the end, there are still the main challenges need discussion. The concept of legal aid and the difficulties are quite clear now. Other than the above-explained ones, there is one more problem.
Middle-class people are the most struggling ones. They neither get the privileges available to the poor people nor they can have a lavish life like the rich. Neither the legal aid service can be availed by them nor can take a risk of a lesser chance to win a divorce without a lawyer.
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Finally, we can say that it is possible to fight a case without a lawyer, but when a matter regarding your rights and justice is involved, it is always advisable to think practically and take each step after good planning.
The provision indeed is for the public good, but when there are easier options are available, one should not miss a chance to avail it.