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Personal Laws

If you're considering filing for divorce, you're not alone. In India, over 50 percent of Indian laws do not recognize a de facto guardian as the minor’s legal guardian. When a minor has no legal guardian, usually a close relative takes care of him and his property. Such a person is known as de facto guardian, who is not a lawful guardian. However, a de facto guardian shall be also the de facto manager of the minor’s property. He may apply for legal guardianship, in court under the Guardian and Wards Act.


The Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, was enacted with an objective, namely to protect the rights of divorced Muslim women. The Act, entitles a divorced Muslim woman, to claim maintenance from her ex-husband. Further, it provides that the husband is obliged to provide maintenance within the period of iddat (waiting period imposed upon a Muslim woman, after dissolution of her marriage). However, the obligation is not restricted to the period of iddat. Also, the Act provides that in case her husband fails to provide maintenance, she can approach the Wakf Board for the same.

It’s a good idea at the outset to speak with an attorney before even mentioning the prospect of divorce to your spouse; this way, a lawyer can advise you what you should and should not say after you have breached the topic. This is the case even if your marriage is short-lived, or if you have little property or no children. The expense of a lawyer, in the long run, is probably well-worth the money. You need to speak an attorney to discuss things as big as child custody, or even as small as who will remain in a rented apartment after your separation. An initial consultation will allow you to ask questions, and an attorney can offer advice specific to your situation (something no website can legally provide). A lawyer may also be able to offer assistance in strategizing your first moves. Check your local bar association or our for a lawyer in your area.