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Marriage is one of the universal social institutions. It was established by society to control and regulate the sex life of a man with the institution of the family. It is an institution of society which can have very different implications in different cultures.In the Hindu social heritage, marriage has never been looked from the materialistic point of view, instead, it is termed as something sacred and not a social contract. But hey! does it hold the same importance in today's modern society? Where social strata and compatibility matter more than compromising and adjusting for one another.
The Hindu Marriage has undergone changes in the last few decades, which give rise to two questions:
Today, marriage in India stands on a crossroads where on one hand it is celebrated in a grand way whereas on other hand people are choosing to live in live-in relationships with their partners without getting legally married. Today relationships are no longer treated as unbreakable, or irrevocable, as the procedure of divorce whether mutual consent divorce or contested divorce is socially and legally permissible, and the ideal of 'pativrata' has lost its significance for there is a legal provision for re-marriage and divorce. Imagine back in times of Ramayana, when Ram was exiled for 14 years, Sita ji asking for a divorce because she married him to be a queen and not to live in forests. Exactly, that's the case of today's marriage system, where partners don't want to compromise along with each other and lead independent lives. So let's look into the details of divorce means and what does mutual consent divorce or contested divorce in an Indian context actually mean.
We all have at least once, gone through a breakup and we know how painful and depressing they can be in some cases. In a similar way, mutual divorce is also not a very pleasant experience, in-fact for a couple who have given their heart and soul to a marriage, and seeing it end in form of a mutual divorce or say just divorce! In India, having a son means growth in family, or family business or that one day he will take responsibility of the family. But what about daughters? What are we teaching them? To find good husbands, to get married and get settled, well if that's what triggers a storm of questions, then you might be right because, somewhere we as a society, don't realise the fact what if a husband leaves her or dies un-naturally or tortures her, where is she gonna go. The procedure of divorce in India whether a mutual consent divorce or a contested divorce is still a taboo and women are told to adjust and compromise in their marriage than get mutual consent divorce by following the divorce procedure and live peacefully.
Divorce law in India
In India, as with most personal matters, rules for mutual consent divorce and divorce in general and procedure of divorce are connected to religion. Divorce procedure or the divorce process among Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains is governed by the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955(1), Muslims by the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939, Parsis by the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 and Christians by the Indian Divorce Act, 1869(2). All civil and inter-community marriages and their divorce procedure and divorce process are governed by the Special Marriage Act, 1956(3).
In order to file a mutual divorce and dissolution of marriage, couples who have been living separately or consider their marriage to be over based on some other factors by which they can satisfy courts to get the decree of separation by mutual consent by filing a petition for divorce following the divorce procedure.
Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 states the grounds of divorce, even though such grounds may be liberally construed by courts. In construing the provisions of Section 13, one has to remember that divorce is not generally favoured or encouraged by courts and is permitted only for very serious and grave reasons. Courts while evaluating Section 13(1)(i) stated that "when marriage is dead, emotionally and practically, and there is no chance of it being retrieved, continuance of it would be cruelty within the meaning of this section." (Romesh Chander v. Savitri (1995) 2 SCC 7).
Section 13-B which talks about mutual consent divorce states that divorce procedure can be initiated by a petition for dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce by mutual consent may be presented to the district court that they have been living separately for a period of one year or more, and agree to dissolve their marriage through mutual consent divorce. It is at times also known as "No-fault divorce".
According to law, one has to file a petition in order to initiate the process of mutual divorce, even in a scenario where it is mutual consent divorce along with proper reasons and grounds to do so. There are several ways under which one can file and initiate the procedure of mutual divorce. Mutual Divorce is also known as 'No fault' divorce, can be filed only by a couple who has been living separately for more than over a year and must be able to back their grounds for dissolution of their marriage by way of mutual consent divorce. Despite everything, the entire divorce procedure is considered to be an expensive issue like Sussane Khan asking for alimony of Rs. 400 crore from Hrithik Roshan, mutual divorces are relatively inexpensive and not as traumatised as previous one. Also, the procedure of mutual divorce is simpler as compared to divorce in general.
The duration which is required to file a mutual consent divorce varies from six months to eighteen months depending upon the legality of the case. The duration of a divorce by mutual consent varies from six to 18 months, depending on the decision of the court. Usually, the courts prefer to end the procedure of mutual consent divorces sooner, rather than later. Also, the term 'living separately' under Section 13B(1) for filing of mutual consent divorce means not having a conjugal relationship even if living under the same roof. In the case where one of the partners have sought a decree of divorce under Section 15 of the Hindu Marriage Act, means that the intervention of court was sought to end the relationship by complying to rules laid under Section 11, 12 or 13 of the Act. There are few grounds on which both husband and wife have to reach a consensus for initiating the procedure and getting a mutual consent divorce. Not just reaching consensus is important but also couple seeking mutual divorce needs to discuss mutual consent divorce terms with their spouse, some of which are mentioned below:
Even I was taken aback when I first heard of a mutual divorce petition filed online instead of courts, and it reminded me that how can courts stay behind when it comes to digitalisation of their work and making life hassle-free and less expensive as compared to traditional divorce methods. With the growing rate of mutual divorce in India, courts have tried to ease the procedure of mutual divorce by introducing online filing of mutual consent divorce. This was done to cater the growing number of mutual consent divorce cases by reducing the time and free from mental trauma.
In order to file a petition for mutual consent divorce online, there are two ways one can file it, namely 'online divorce firm' which will help you in the procedure of opting divorce and secondly 'do it yourself', which means you will have to contest your case by yourself and follow. It is advisable that one must take help and guidance from these online firms as they are well aware of the technicalities involved while filing for a mutual consent online. Also, there are a few requisites that are required to be fulfilled while contesting online:
It becomes easier to obtain a divorce minus the regular hassles. This is the usual procedure for obtaining an online divorce in India. Despite the few loopholes, one can always opt for an online divorce, which is definitely fast and easy in comparison to the customary divorce methods followed in India.
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 Hindu Marriage Act, 1955: A detailed view of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
 Indian Divorce Act, 1869: A sitemap to the Indian Divorce Act, 1869