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HomeEditorialDivorce in India: Children are the biggest sufferers – Part 1

Divorce in India: Children are the biggest sufferers – Part 1

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children, divorce, couple, couple divorced, divorce cases in india, children of divorced parents, orphan, orphanage, family court, family cases

In a way, it’s good that the couples are leaving a bad marriage and saving their lives from torture and exploitation. I’ve seen a few colleagues; a couple of friends go through a divorce. In each case, it’s been people who stepped up for themselves and made tough decisions so that they can be happy in life. I say people because not all of them were women. Marriage is an act of sacrament in India. And, ending this marriage on whatsoever ground is still not considered normal. Yet, in recent decades we can see an increase in the divorce rate in India. There is a common notion that the reason for the increasing divorce rate is because of an increase in love marriages, which is not true.

Maximum divorce petitions are from highly educated and well-heeled couples, even though India still boasts that nearly a hundred per cent of the marriages are a success, rapid urbanization and awareness of various rights are now instigating the divorce rate to shoot upwards. Empowerment of women has initiated the disbanding of marriage in urban areas as financially educated women are now open to the option of ending the relationship rather than bearing life-long abuses silently. The campaigns on gender equality are now giving rise to ego clashes between the husband and wife, especially if the wife is the equal breadwinner of the family.

In rural areas divorce is still taboo, the men abruptly dump their wives and choose to live with another woman. In most cases, the wife is not financially independent and she is made answerable on the social and family front. My office help is from a nearby village and she is just 25 years old. Her parents are poverty-stricken, she was dumped by her husband just because his heart started melting for another woman at his workplace, and there was conflict, family drama and ongoing fights. The mediator was asked to intervene; most of the people who came for the meeting blamed the girl for being unable to lure her husband. Husband said he is ready to keep his wife provided what happens outside should not come inside the home. Well! This is just an example, rural India is yet not progressed and divorce means dumping a woman with her children to face the social and economic challenges, ironically, they don’t know the laws and they don’t have that background to approach lawyers.

Around 20 years back India had a negligible divorce rate of around 5%. But based on the increasing number of divorces being filed today, the divorce rate in India is expected to rise up at a faster rate in the coming years. The privacy of the institution of marriage is threatened as of late it has become a subject of great judicial scrutiny. Can you imagine forty per cent of marriages in Mumbai and Delhi are heading towards divorce? The provisions of Section 498 A of the IPC and certain provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act are being mostly misused. There are some families that cannot resolve their disputes on their own. Family courts are equipped with mediators and counsellors who would try to resolve their disputes without court intervention but who will let go of their fees and perks? Lengthy cases, long term income.

However, owing to the awareness relating to men’s rights nationwide, the number of divorces by mutual consent has also gone up. Today, statistics show 60 per cent of divorces are by mutual consent. Most celebrity divorces make headlines when they are already separated. Among states with the highest number of divorces, Maharashtra topped the list in the past years, accounting for nearly 50,000 cases, with Mumbai and Pune alone accounting for 20,000 of them, while the remaining were reported from Nashik, Aurangabad, and Nagpur. 2021, up to March, 4,313 marriages and 208 divorces were registered. The biggest reason behind growing insecurities is that earlier, it was a joint family system where people of all age groups lived together in the house, “Older family members would teach the children family values. Now, with the rise of nuclear families, there is no one to inculcate these values in children. It’s often said in India that marriages are for eternity. However, this does not necessarily mean these marriages are happy.

In Urban India interestingly, most of the couples are highly educated and hail from well-heeled families. I have seen cases in which couples as old as 75 seek divorce. In such cases, most of them may have been living separately for several years. It’s to resolve the issue of dividing property among children that they approach the court for legal separation. Open arguments over custody of children and return of property are frequent occurrences outside family court. However, the majority of couples opt for mutual separation. In such cases, it takes around seven months for the divorce to be granted. In other cases, it takes longer—more than a year. But the greed to grab everything from men by women and tendencies to retain all that is possible by man is a bit snug. And their lawyers are equally greedy, one side advises to ask as much as she can, the other side says, pretend to be bankrupt as much as possible.

The couple may not be at much loss as their survival is hardly challenged, in long-pending cases most of the time women find a fall-back option and man to find some solace in another partner, but the sufferers and children. They are mentally challenged on various occasions, they have to accept the flight that their parents invited for them, most the cases the mother gets children’s custody and the father is projected as a villain, the children are strongly conditioned against the father just because the mother thinks he is a nuisance for her future. Ego clashes lead to dissatisfaction from allowing children to meet the other side of the parent. Increasing women’s independence has much to do with increasing divorce rates. I am not against women’s independence, but certainly against holding insensitive custody of children depriving them of both parents.


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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Tamanhttps://authorvaidehi.com
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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