Alimony and Alimony Pendente Lite with reference to Christian and Parsi Law
Alimony is a legal obligation of a partner in a marriage to provide financial support to their spouse after dissolution of marriage. The alimony is dependent on the earning power and the person economically dependent on the marriage.
Alimony pendente lite is a court ordered temporary alimony, while an action for separation or divorce is pending. Such alimony is designed to provide support during the divorce process so that each spouse can maintain his/her standard of living.
There are mainly two types of alimony-
Given at the time of court proceedings- This is usually the maintenance amount.
Given at the time of legal separation- This can be given either in a lump sum or as a fixed monthly or quarterly payment or as per the requirements of the spouse.
Factors that are taken into consideration while deciding the amount of alimony:
Duration of marriage– marriages that lasted for more than 10 years are entitled to a lifetime alimony.
Age of spouse– A young receipt may get it for a shorter duration of time keeping in mind their prospective career excellence and potential to become financially sound.
To equalise the economic condition of both spouses– The higher earning spouse is entitled to pay heavy amount whereas a lower earning spouse may be asked to pay an able amount for alimony.
Enjoyment of successful career– Such a spouse may be subject to pay a higher amount of alimony.
The health of spouse– If the spouse claiming for alimony is in poor health, the other spouse will be subjected to paying high alimony to ensure proper well being and medication for the spouse.
Child custody– The spouse who maintains child custody will be entitled to receive a greater amount for the expenditure incurred on child’s upbringing and education.
Liabilities of the husband(like taking care of his wholly dependent parents) and flourishing career of the wife(earning sufficient amount comfortably) will also be considered.
Alimony under Christian Law
Section 36 of The Indian divorce act, 1869 talks about petition for expenses and alimony pendente lite. The main object of this Section is to provide the wife with financial support while the matrimonial suit is pending.
Section 37 deals with the matter of permanent alimony. In every case, the court may order the husband to pay a weekly or monthly sum for her financial support the court may seem reasonable. If in the future, the husband is unable to make such payment, the court may temporarily discharge or suspend the order.
There are some factors taken into account under Section 37:-
Conduct of parties before and after marriage.
Nature and source of husband’s income.
Wife’s own fortune, if any.
Section 38 of the same Act deals with the rules regarding payment of alimony. It may be given to the wife herself or to any trustee on her behalf. The objective is to ensure the wife is given alimony.
Alimony under Parsi Law
Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1988 deals with maintenance of wife. Section 40 of the act deals with the permanent alimony and maintenance. It authorises any court to order the defendant to pay a periodical sum for a term not exceeding that of the plaintiff’s own life. It is important for the court to have regard to the conduct of the parties and the merits of each case.
Apart from personal laws, CrPC, 1973 in Section 125 talks about right to maintenance. Under this section, a follower of any religion can apply without any restriction. It lays down provision for a husband to maintain his wife, parents, and children if they do not have adequate means to maintain themselves financially or suffer from any form of mental or physical disability. The spouse can file for maintenance before the court and the court considers the income, assets, and property of the husband and will provide a proper maintenance to the required spouse as per the circumstances and requirement. There is no requirement for a wife to divorce her husband to get maintenance under this section.