Marriage is considered one of the most sacred and binding relationships between two individuals. However, sometimes marriages do not work out, and the parties involved may seek a divorce to terminate the relationship. Divorce is a legal process of ending a marriage and involves several legal procedures that need to be followed. In India, marriages can be registered or unregistered, and the divorce process differs depending on the type of marriage. While the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 provides for divorce proceedings for registered marriages, the process for unregistered marriages is governed by personal laws applicable to the parties involved.
Unregistered marriages in India are quite common, especially in rural areas, and are often performed according to traditional customs and rituals. However, obtaining a divorce in the case of an unregistered marriage can be a complex and time-consuming process. The parties involved need to follow the legal procedures, which are based on personal laws applicable to them. This blog will provide insights into the procedure for divorce in India if marriage is not registered. We will discuss the legal framework governing the process, the steps involved, and the factors that are considered by the court while granting a divorce. We will also provide tips on navigating the process smoothly and ensure that the process is hassle-free.
Before we delve into the procedure, let us first discuss the legal framework governing India’s divorce process. The Indian legal system recognizes two types of marriages: registered and unregistered. In India, marriage registration is mandatory under the Special Marriage Act 1954 and the Hindu Marriage Act 1955. In the case of unregistered marriages, the legal framework is governed by the personal laws applicable to the parties involved.
The Hindu Marriage Act 1955 provides for divorce proceedings for marriages registered under the Act. However, if the marriage is not registered, the divorce process is governed by personal laws applicable to the parties involved. These personal laws may vary based on the religion of the parties. For instance, Muslim marriages are governed by the Muslim Personal Law, and Christian marriages are governed by the Indian Christian Marriage Act of 1872.
Procedure for Divorce in India for Unregistered Marriages:
Obtaining a divorce in India for unregistered marriages is complex and time-consuming. The following are the steps involved in the process:
- Filing of Petition: The first step in obtaining a divorce in India is filing a petition in the appropriate court. The petitioner must file the petition in the district court where the parties last resided together or where the respondent resides. The petition should contain details such as the marriage date, reasons for seeking a divorce, and any other relevant information.
- Service of Notice: After filing the petition, the court issues a notice to the respondent. The notice informs the respondent about the petition and asks them to appear before the court. The notice is served through registered post, courier, or in-person.
- Response to the Notice: The respondent must respond to the notice within the stipulated time, usually 30 days. The response should contain details such as the reason for opposing the divorce and other relevant information.
- Counselling: If the parties are willing to resolve their differences and save their marriage, the court may refer them to a marriage counsellor. The counsellor tries to resolve the issues and reconcile the parties. If the parties reconcile, the divorce proceedings are terminated.
- Evidence and Arguments: If the parties cannot reconcile, the court will hear the evidence and arguments put forward by both parties. The court will consider factors such as the reason for seeking a divorce, the welfare of any children involved, and any other relevant factors.
- Decree: After hearing the evidence and arguments, the court will issue a divorce decree if it is satisfied that the grounds for divorce are valid. The decree will contain details such as the custody of children, alimony, and other relevant details.
It is important to note that the grounds for divorce may vary based on the personal laws applicable to the parties involved. For instance, under the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, the grounds for divorce include cruelty, adultery, desertion, conversion to another religion, mental illness, and incurable disease. On the other hand, under Muslim Personal Law, the grounds for divorce include cruelty, desertion, and impotence.
In addition, the court will also consider factors such as the welfare of any children involved, the financial status of the parties, and any other relevant factors while granting a divorce. The court may also award alimony and child custody, depending on the circumstances of the case.
In conclusion, obtaining a divorce in India for unregistered marriages is complex and time-consuming. The process’s legal framework is based on personal laws applicable to the parties involved. The parties must file a petition in the appropriate court, serve notice to the respondent, and follow the other steps outlined in the procedure. It is advisable to seek the services of a qualified and experienced lawyer to ensure that the process is smooth and hassle-free.