Alimony is not for educated women, They must try to be financially independent – Delhi High Court.

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Alimony is not a fundamental right! 

An educated wife is not suppose to sit idle at home and live on her husband's earnings.


Over the past few months, the Indian courts have given us enough reasons to sit up and take notice. Whether it was their ruling on daughters-in-law or on the premise of divorce, different rulings have invited different opinion.

But that was just the beginning. It seems that their streak of controversies will continue as another ruling made headlines today.


Before you read this further it's important to understand – What is alimony?

When a married couple gets a divorce, the court may award "alimony" or spousal support (some amount of money and property) to one of the former spouses (financially weaker), based either on an agreement between the couple or a decision by the court itself. 

Alimony is a husband's (or wife's) provision for a spouse after separation or divorce; maintenance. For example: He is said to have paid $300,000 alimony to his first wife.

Basically, in setting the amount of alimony to be paid, courts look at how much money each person could reasonably earn every month and what the reasonable expenses are going to be for each of them including children.


What may happen if you are educated women and request for the alimony?

As per recent decison of the Delhi High Court, an educated wife is not supposed to sit idle at home and live on her husband's earnings. Yes, you read that right!

This ruling was made when the court sat for a hearing on a case of domestic violence. The plaintiff (the wife) reportedly wanted to increase the "monthly interim maintenance" of Rs 25,000 which was awarded to her in 2008 and increased by 10% in 2015, to Rs 5,000 more.

However, the courts were not pleased by the request and turned it down, but not without another controversial ruling.


"She can earn herself"

Additional sessions judge RK Tripathi declined her request and noted that she was more qualified that her husband and therefore, more capable of earning.

“The appellant herself is a well-educated lady having a post graduation degree: MA, B.Ed and LLB, and is reported to be more qualified than the respondent (husband). She can earn herself. She is not supposed to sit idle at home and be a parasite on the earnings of the respondent,” the judge noted.


The earlier enhancement was justified, but not anymore

The magisterial court reportedly awarded Rs 5,000 per month from 2008. Then in 2015, the total amount was increased by 10 percent taking into consideration the increased inflation in the country.

"The metropolitan magistrate has rightly observed that inflation rate varies between six and 11 percent in India as per government statics. Therefore, the enhancement of  maintenance at 10 percent (of Rs 5,000) is fully justified,” the judge had observed.

But this time when the woman asked for another increased the additional sessions judge declined. He also noted that the appellant could not justify the increase in the amount.

Although this case makes for an interesting case study for divorce between an educated couple, it also highlights the fact that educated women must try to be financially independent.

Similar decision by Mumbai family court

In an old incident of 2015 where an estranged wife had approached the court seeking a permanent monthly alimony of Rs 25,000 and an equivalent amount of maintenance under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act. 

The principal judge of the family court Laxmi P Rao observed that the wife had earlier filed a petition for maintenance, but had not approached the court since 2012, when her divorce was finalized.

While rejecting the application, the judge cited a Madhya Pradesh High Court order which stated that Section 24 had been enacted for the purpose of providing monetary assistance to a spouse incapable of supporting himself or herself. “If the spouse is well qualified, she is not expected to remain idle… The law does not expect an increasing number of such idle persons who by remaining in the arena of legal battles, try to squeeze out the adversary by implementing the provisions of law suitable to their purpose,” the court cited.

Although this case makes for an interesting case study for divorce between an educated couple, it also highlights the fact that educated women must try to be financially independent.

5 reasons women must be financially independent

A large number of Indian women are increasingly becoming more financially independent and the credit must go to their parents.

1. It's a return on investment: Your parents have invested their life savings to educate you and therefore, you not only owe it to yourself to stand on your own feet, but also to them.

2. It makes you more independent: Being financially independent gives a woman more freedom and confidence to make her own life decisions and not to rely on her parents or guardians or others to support her.

3. It's makes you a role model for your kids: When children see their mothers working and climbing up the corporate ladder, they get inspired to do the same and work to stand on their own feet as well.

4. It helps during emergencies: Having extra cash never hurts, especially when it is a time of emergency. If either one of the partners is saving, they can use that money for medical emergency, travel, education of their kids and so on.

5. It helps a couple live comfortably: Let's not forget that two earning members of a family bring in much more money than one. Therefore, not only does your standard of living increase, you are exposed to a better lifestyle and that makes you capable of helping more people around you.