Couples say ‘I do’ to quickie divorce now

Mutually Agree On Child Custody And Alimony

Bangalore: More than the breakdown of a marriage, it is getting a divorce which is the greater ordeal. Thanks to a generation which loves everything instant, more and more couples now refuse to wait to separate. In a trend seen in India’s IT capital over the past five years, couples are living separately for a year and then opting for divorce through mutual consent. The process is simple, saves time, money and, especially, agony.

Nearly 2,780 divorce cases were filed in the Bangalore Family Court from January 1 to August 10 this year. Some 70% of the couples opt for divorce by mutual consent, said an official of the family court. With

time at a premium, more couples in the 25-40 age group prefer to separate this way. They don’t make allegations against each other, and the process is less traumatic.

“The party (seeking divorce) is spared a prolonged legal battle,” explained advocate B N Muthanna, who has practised in the family court for many years. “Eight of 12 divorce cases I handled this year were settled through mutual consent.”

Another family court lawyer, Zahida Hussain, said: “When a couple files a divorce plea, the judge suggests mediation. If they don’t agree to reconcile, then the court suggests further process. Most couples nowadays opt for mutual consent.”

 The couple has to wait for only 18 months — a year of separation and a maximum of six months to get a decree of divorce — rather than contest the divorce for years together in a court, a lawyer said. The couple also mutually agrees on alimony and child custody.

Divorce is no longer a bad word, and young couples these days are going about it in a practical manner. Trial separation followed by a mutually agreedupon divorce appears to be a healthy trend. There is little emotional wrangling, haggling over alimony and even the contentious issue of child custody. Neither does the couple lose time and money, nor does the case take a long time to be sorted out by the courts. They don’t have time for a long, legal court battle 

More Divorces Are Settled By Mutual Consent 
Bangalore: The trend of divorces by mutual consent is fuelled by contemporary lifestyle. “Today, both husband and wife are mostly employed. They don’t have time to attend court hearings and with the woman being independent, she doesn’t ask for alimony, which makes the process easier,” said Muthanna. Another option for obtaining a faster divorce decree is through ex-parte order — where one party wilfully chooses to remain absent for the court hearings and divorce is granted in favour of the petitioner. However, an ex-parte order could be challenged by the opposite party and a court can always set it aside.

A TALE OF TWO DIVORCES
Here are two couples who sought divorce for different reasons: one pair wanted to end a life of quarrels, the other had lost their newborn.

Sujata, 27, who got married in May 2009, separated from her husband Ramesh later that year. The couple, both software engineers, filed for divorce through mutual consent early this year. “We were sent for counselling, but could not resolve our disputes. It’s better to separate mutually than keep fighting. I earn well and can take care of myself,” said Sujata. Deepak, a software engineer from Bangalore presently working in Pune, got married in September 2009. In less than a year, his pregnant wife, from Chennai, left the matrimonial home. She later informed Deepak’s family that their child had died within 10 minutes of birth. She also refused to return. Deepak sent her notices through his advocate. She chose not to attend the hearings. The court closed the case with exparte judgment.

(Names have been changed)

WHAT THE LAW SAYS ON DIVORCE 
According to Section 13B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the parties can jointly file for divorce by mutual consent on the grounds that they have been living separately at least for a year. It takes a maximum of six months to seek a court decree.

The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, Muslim Law and Special Marriage Act also have provisions for obtaining divorce through mutual consent.