About the Law, Know your Rights on Divorce, Alimony and Maintenance under unregistered marriage?
All about alimony and maintenance under unregistered marriage
Marriage could be made in heaven, but laws to safeguard the interests of a wife in an unregistered marriage are framed on the earth. Here is a look at who is entitled to alimony and maintenance and who is not under the Indian laws
The validity of An Unregistered Marriage
Though it is repeatedly recommended to register the marriage, many couples fail to register their marriage under various circumstances.
When the unregistered marriage proceeds towards separation, the women are often clueless regarding their rights in that marriage and at the time of separation.
Elements of a Valid Marriage
Before explaining the rights of a wife in an unregistered marriage, it is necessary to understand the requirements of a valid marriage.
When no registration, popularly known as the court marriage, is done, it can be assumed that the marriage has been performed following Hindu rituals.
As per the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the main elements of a valid Hindu marriage are:
* The bride should have attained 18 years of age and the groom should be of 21 years or more.
* Both of them should be Hindu.
* Both the bride and groom have consented voluntarily to the marriage without any force or coercion.
* Both the bride and groom are of sane mind to give consent to the marriage.
* Neither the bride nor groom should be married to someone else at the time of this marriage.
* The bride and groom should not be sharing a shapinda relationship or any other relationship prohibited by law.
If the above-mentioned requirements are met, then as per Sec. 7 of the Hindu Marriage Act, any marriage that has taken place performing the Hindu rituals, including Saptapadi, is a valid marriage.
Maintenance Rights of a Wife
The wife, if the marriage is performed following Hindu rituals and solemnized, is entitled to enjoy all the rights of a legally wedded wife.
She can claim maintenance under Sec. 125 of CrPC, subject to she is unable to maintain herself. Even at the time of divorce, she can claim alimony for herself and maintenance for the child in custody, if any.
Alimony Rights of a Wife in Unregistered Marriage
The alimony is never granted straight to a wife. It is subject to certain terms and conditions:
Wife is involved in adultery: Adultery is a valid reason for divorce and in such a situation the court may not pass an order of alimony. Though no law prohibits alimony in case of adulterous behaviour of the wife, it is the discretionary power of the magistrate.
Wife is earning enough: The alimony is not denied only for the reason that the wife is earning. If the earning of the wife is not enough to maintain a certain standard of life, then she is eligible to claim for alimony.
The alimony rights of a wife are the same for both registered and unregistered marriage. In an unregistered marriage, if the husband denies the validity of the marriage, then the evidence of social marriage can be used, such as photographs, videos, invitation card of marriage and reception, etc.
Marriage registration is important and vital, but non-registration does not nullify a marriage. As per the Hindu Marriage Act, the completion of Saptapadi (seven rounds of the holy fire) is enough for a valid marriage.