The Madurai bench of the Madras High court, has recently made an observation that a divorced woman cannot claim alimony from her ex-husband, if she enters into any relationship with another man.
The bench was hearing a revision petition filed by a man who was pleading that he should not be made to pay an alimony of Rs 1000 to his ex-wife as he had got an ex-parte divorce from his ex-wife on the grounds that she was adulterous.
Justice S. Nagamuthu, who presided over the case said that: “Since a man carries an obligation to maintain his divorced wife, the woman also carries the obligation not to live in relationship with another man. If she commits breach… she will suffer disqualification from claiming maintenance… If she wants to live in relationship with another man, she may be entitled for maintenance from him and not from the former husband.”
The judgment has come under criticism in certain sections of population who are viewing the judgment as patriarchal. But, is such a view really justifiable?
Let us first look into what marriage is. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines marriage as “the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.” Therefore, marriage is not just acquaintance or friendship. It is a union between spouses in every-sense of the word- physical, mental, and social.
The concept of marriage in Hindu culture takes it one step further and makes it even a spiritual union, wherein the spouses together work towards attaining all the four-fold goals of life- kama (desire including sexual desires), artha (wealth and prosperity), dharma (duty and righteousness), and moksha (final liberation).
Therefore, sexual fidelity is implicit and most vital in the union of marriage. As marriage is a physical, emotional, ethical, and social bond, the sexual infidelity or adultery which amounts to cheating at all levels from physical to social, is considered as being opposite to the very essence of marriage.
The bond of marriage is rooted in fidelity, and this bond breaks down due to infidelity. It is for this reason that the amendment to the marriage laws in 1976 stipulated that even a single instance of adultery could be a ground for divorce. Therefore, sexual fidelity which implicitly includes emotional, ethical and spiritual fidelity as well is at the very center of marriage and hence of divorce as well.
Regarding the reason for giving alimony to women after divorce, Justice S. Nagamuthu said: “Even after divorce, the law takes care that a woman does not end up in destitution and that is the reason why she is entitled for maintenance from her erstwhile husband.”
Therefore, the husband is to provide financial assistance to his wife even after divorce, so as to help her sustain herself. In other words, the husband is being stipulated by the law to perform his conjugal duty of economically sustaining the family, even after divorce.
Now, if such a divorced woman, who is receiving alimony from her ex-husband, is entering into a relationship with another man, be it casual affair or permanent bond, the woman in question is breaching the conjugal bond that is rooted in sexual fidelity with her ex-husband and creating a new conjugal bond with a different person.
Hence, the court rightly observes that: “If she wants to live in relationship with another man, she may be entitled for maintenance from him and not from the former husband.”
Why should the husband be expected to do his conjugal duties even after divorce, when his wife has established a new conjugal relationship with another man?
Therefore, it is incorrect to consider the court judgment as being patriarchal. Instead, the judgment upholds the core tenet of marriage which is fidelity and commitment.
When you did get married, the heart was in awe of joy, and dreams were full of vivid pictures about the future together and love until old age. A wedding is always beautiful, it is a gentle and touching tale. But nothing lasts forever. Each fairy tale has its end, and life after the wedding turns into a routine.
When we are in love, our subconscious plays a cruel joke, noticing only the best in a partner, sometimes even embellishing these qualities, while all the negative things just pass by, and we even do not focus our attention on this. But love passes quickly enough and finally, we begin to think soberly. Now, the man before the eyes is no longer a prince charming, but a person full of flaws, with whom there are no more common interests and points of intersection. And good if you can just break up and go your own way. But things are much more serious if you are already married and have common underage children.
Great dad, bad husband
Your husband is a wonderful father, he takes care of the child, spends a lot of time with him or her, helps to do homework, takes a kid to baseball or football, goes on campaigns together, teaches something new and supports the interests of your beloved baby. But with you he is cold enough, love, mutual understanding, and warmth in the relationship have gone, moreover, he even can be rude, harsh, selfish, nasty, lazy and so on. Do you need to save your family and endure an unpleasant person just for the sake of the child? Perhaps this is not an easy question. And everyone decides for herself what is good. However, before answering this question, you need to thoroughly understand what is best for the child.
When a baby is born he is absolutely pure. He or she has no knowledge, fears, principles, problems. He still does not know anything about this world. In fact, his world consists of only 2 people: mom and dad. Parents are a kind of child’s guide to the outside world. The task of the parents is not only to teach the child to read and write or to give him/her education and medical care. The most important thing that parents should do for their offspring is to grow up a full-fledged person who can rationally think and be happy. But can parents teach a child to be happy if they are unhappy? Very often the couple continues to live together for the sake of the child, poisoning each other’s life, thinking that the child does not suspect anything. Even without imagining what harm they cause to the psyche of their kid.
Psychologists say that the emotional atmosphere in the family greatly affects the development of the baby. Children in whose families the harmonies reign, develop faster and even get sick less in comparison with those children whose families have a tense situation. Even if the spouses do not conflict openly, the child still feels and understands that something is wrong with mom and dad. But the baby is not able to realize the adult world yet and his body enters the state of stress, trying to defend himself from the situation that he does not fully understand. Quite often, children whose parents are dissatisfied with each other for a long time, have neurosis. Also, most children feel guilty, thinking that because of him or her, parents can not divorce and adjust their lives. Children grow up in adults and leave their parents’ home, but the feeling of guilt remains with them until the end of their lives.
Marriages that hold on only on the child have disastrous consequences for the child’s future. It turns out that parents together are only while raising a child. But what should they do when the child grows up and leaves? Will they divorce? For people who have lived together for decades are quite difficult to dissolve a marriage. First, they are accustomed to each other. Secondly, the issue of separation of property and financial support will become quite acute. Therefore, most spouses stay together and fearing all the severity of divorce, the parents begin to intimidate the child with various difficulties that lie ahead, trying to delay the moment when he or she goes into adulthood. At the same time, most parents do it on a subconscious level, being afraid to be alone with their unloved spouse. As a result, children in such families grow up quite infantile or unable to create their own families. A girl who has seen her mother suffer in a marriage will look for exactly the same husband with whom she will be unhappy. This happens because the child in her entire life simply did not see another picture and does not know how to build a healthy relationship, and at a subconscious level believes that an unhappy marriage is a norm.
Is there a way out?
Of course, there is always a way out! Try to use family therapy. Family psychologists have entire programs that are aimed at restoring the family and returning the old relationship, work with your spouse together on it. If at the beginning your relationships were beautiful, full of passion and love, remember what for you loved your partner, why you agreed to marry him. Ask your partner for what he loved you, what desires and feelings he had when he offered to get married. Do not hesitate your feelings. Talk to each other, share your thoughts, fears, experiences, and desires in relation to each other. Firstly become best friends, people you can rely on. Start dating again and going to the movies. Return to the position where you were in love with each other and were passionate. Try to change the situation and go on a trip only together (children can stay with grandmom and dad) or move to a new home!
But if you have already tried everything and could not return the relationship, you can get a divorce before it is too late. There is an opinion that divorce is a hell that pulls out all the nerves and savings from the spouses. But this is true only on a half. Of course, if your divorce is contested, where there is a lot of disagreement between you and your spouse, which only the judge can resolve, then get ready for lengthy court sessions and expensive lawyers. However, in every state, it’s possible to get an uncontested divorce. The essence of which is that the spouses agree on all the provisions of their divorce and both want to dissolve the marriage. The uncontested divorce ends relatively quickly, besides there are many online platforms that can prepare all the necessary documents for you, and you will not even need to hire a lawyer. If you have any differences with your spouse, you can contact the mediators to resolve your conflict. Mediators are social workers whose task is to help to divorce spouses reach a compromise without forcing anyone to make unpleasant decisions.
Divorce with you, but not with the child
You must understand that divorce is a process between spouses. If you break up with your husband, it does not mean that the spouse leaves your child. He can still spend time with the child and participate in his or her life. Divorce does not deprive your husband of parental rights! You can discuss and draw up a Parenting Plan and share the time that each of you wants to spend with the child, including celebrating of holidays. For some time in a year, a baby can live in your husband’s house or travel with him. Divide time so that the child does not feel abandoned by one of the parents and that he or she has long and enduring contact with you two. At the same time, it is very important for the mother to form a positive image of the father, as a strong and caring man, so that the child understands that he is loved and cared for in all circumstances.
Everyone deserves to be happy. And no need to cover up the problems of your marriage by a child. If your relationship is broken together, perhaps a divorce would be the right decision, even though it might hurt. However, it is better to survive this pain now than to destroy the future of your child. Just imagine that after a divorce, you can meet a man who will not only truly love you, but also your child. After all, another person on earth will love your baby, isn’t it wonderful? The happiness of the child always comes first for the parents. And a child will be happy when his parents are happy and when he lives in a comfortable, emotional atmosphere. Therefore, it is better to remain friends with your husband, get a divorce and build a new life, than to make all family members hostage to circumstances.