Permanent Alimony

Permanent alimony basically means support paid to the lesser earning spouse, until the death of the payor, the death of the recipient, or the remarriage of the recipient.

While deciding such amount, the personal income of the wife and her earning capacity is taken in account but it is not so if the husband has a handsome income and more earning capacity than the wife.

Though alimony is a very important matter to deal with during the litigation of a divorce case, the very perception of “right to claim financial support for post-divorce maintenance” was not quite a familiar concept among the Indian divorce seekers, Especially among women, even few years back. But as the rate of divorce rises in India at a rapid speed, people are becoming aware of the various details related to divorce laws. The era of feminist campaigns, and spread of education among women have contributed to the growing applicability of permanent alimony in divorce cases.

The permanent alimony or the spousal support is an obligation by laws in almost all the countries of the world. It is expected that both the spouses irrespective of the sex must bear the maintenance support during and after marriage.

The concept of permanent alimony came in vogue due to the “indissolubility” nature of marriage. According to marriage conventions marriage is a sacred union. Once the knot is tied, the duties and obligations of marriage are to be carried out for the rest of the life even if there is mental disparity or physical separation between the husband and the wife. The husband is bound to take up the responsibilities for the maintenance of his wife in spite of sharing an estranged relationship. As time changed, the laws and education empowered woman, divorce came as a spontaneous solution for an unsuccessful marriage.

 Indian Divorce Act. 1869
The Indian Divorce Act applies to any person who professes the Christian religion. Section 37 grants power to order permanent alimony. It authorizes any court approached with an alimony claim accompanied by a confirmed decree of judicial separation to grant such alimony keeping in consideration the financial responsibility of the higher salaried spouse to maintain the lifestyle of the lesser earning spouse.

Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Section 25 of this Act authorizes courts to grant permanent alimony to the applicant based on considerations such as earning capacity of respondent, lifestyle of applicant while married etc.
Section 24 of The Hindu Marriage Act lays down the law concerning alimony pendente lite, which essentially means alimony during pendency of suit for dissolution of marriage.

Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986
Under Muslim law, there are various financial safeguards that have been adapted from religious practices and incorporated into a law. The Concept of Mahr for example, is unique to the Islamic religion. It is an amount ensured to the wife in consideration of her giving up herself to the husband. This Mahr is not only payable by custom but also by law. Section 3 of the Muslim Women (Protection of rights on Divorce) Act requires that Mahr amount promised to a Muslim woman at the time of marriage (Nikah) to be paid in full. Section 4 of the Act guides order for payment of maintenance on application.