The most typical type of divorce is contested divorce in India. People gradually leave unhappy marriages and enter healthier ones as they become aware of their unpleasant reality. When one partner files for divorce and the other refuses, the divorce is said to be contested. This divorce is commonly known as a one-sided divorce because only one partner files for the divorce in the court, while the other partner opposes (contests) it.
A contested divorce is an option when a husband and wife cannot agree on any aspect of their divorce, such as alimony, child custody, etc., and the idea of getting a divorce on good terms appears impossible. Divorce is viewed as a societal disgrace in various places and communities all throughout the world. For many marriages, contested divorce has gained significant importance.
Grounds for Divorce in India
The following are the valid grounds for divorce for an aggrieved partner in the marriage:
- Adultery – One of the grounds for divorce is adultery, which occurs when one partner engages in voluntary sexual activity with a third person, whether that person is married or not. The partner who claims such an engagement must provide evidence to support their claim. It is essential to consider when the partner alleging adultery is opposing a divorce on this basis.
- Cruelty – There is no specific definition of “cruelty” in the current legal system. However, it can be understood in various ways, including as subjective or objective, bodily, mental, intentional, accidental, direct or indirect. The court has the discretion to award relief to the innocent partner according to circumstantial evidence.
- Dissertation – Desertion is the act of one partner leaving the other partner without a reasonable cause or against their mutual consent. This basis for divorce demands a consistent separation of two years without any legitimate excuse.
- Conversion – Another reason for a contested divorce in India is the change in one spouse’s religion. However, not all laws recognize this as a reasonable cause. Although being recognized as a good ground under the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, the dissolving of the Muslim Marriage Act of 1939 and the Special Marriage Act of 1954 does not consider valid reasons.
- Mental Disorder – If one partner suffers from a mental disease that prevents them from carrying out regular marital responsibilities, the other partner may file for divorce.
- Communicable Disease – Per Hindu divorce laws, one partner may request a divorce if they both have a contagious condition.
- Other Grounds include virulent leprosy, impotence, the imprisonment of the husband, refusal to pay support, etc. Although not all Acts accept these criteria as conventional reasons for separation, these are provided with the significance they deserve because these Acts were developed based on religious rules.
How Much Time Does it Take to Get a Contested Divorce?
The time frame for obtaining a non-contested divorce is six months, but no application in this situation may be filed during the 1st year of marriage. Additionally, there must be a six months gap between the initial and second motions. In exceptional circumstances, the court may waive this appeals process. Therefore, a divorce with mutual consent often takes 18 to 24 months.
The time frame is more significant in contested divorce cases, extending from 3 to 5 years, due to the complexity and chances for appeals in the court by either spouse. In some cases, a party may challenge a court order within three months of the order’s date if neither party finds the judgment rendered satisfactory.
Finalizing the divorce would take at least six months and, in the worst-case scenario, no more than one and a half years. It will be attained after all attempts have been taken to demonstrate that attempts at reconciliation have failed to produce fruitful outcomes.
Step-By-Step Process and Procedure for Filing Contested Divorce
Before obtaining a contested divorce, a couple must go through several processes, including:
The divorcing partner must present all necessary paperwork and documentation to their advocate at this point. A lawyer will create a divorce petition after reviewing all the facts and submitting it for consideration by the court.
After a petition has been filed, notices are given to the other partner, either by the person who filed it or by the court after fees have been paid.
- After the parties appear in court, the Legal Services Authority, where conciliators are present, receives the case if the court believes there is a possibility of conciliation. If there is any possibility of settlement, the court will dismiss the petition; otherwise, hearings will occur.
- The respondent’s denial must be precise and can’t be a general denial of the charges. Such claims will be assumed to be true without a specific disclaimer for each factual accusation.
- The other parties will be fully briefed upon request as the necessary documents and facts are produced in the court. They evaluate the other party’s position, and the available evidence surrounding the issues in the divorce assists the parties in clarifying their positions.
- The Civil Procedure Code’s Order XIV deals with settling matters of consideration. These issues usually represent any ongoing disputes between the parties concerning the divorce or the decision to grant it. The court may also recommend a third-party settlement at this point.
- The courts set specific dates for hearings and witness examinations. Before this, witnesses are given the summons to appear in court on particular days. This step also comprises the final session, cross-examination, etc.
The court issues a judgment granting a divorce or rejects it after properly deciding all the problems in light of the arguments and supporting evidence.
The husband and wife had to sign the papers once the court approved the divorce judgment for the process to end. It is the last stage in the legal procedure of ending the marriage between the two parties. If any partner disagrees with the order, they have three months from the order’s date to submit an appeal to the higher court.
Every religion regards marriage as a sacred union. Although “divorce” is still stigmatized, its usage has undoubtedly decreased. Currently, there are several methods to leave an unhappy marriage because of our court system and legislation.
The legislation carefully constructed the legal process for a contested divorce in India and is currently in effect. Because of disagreements between divorcing couples about one or more topics, contested divorces are the most difficult to execute.
Divorce is described as a mutual consent divorce if the couple agrees to it mutually; otherwise, it is referred to as a contested divorce. Therefore, a mutual or a non-contested divorce happens more quickly than a contested divorce.