Sunday January 26, 2020
Home Opinion Divorce, rela...

Divorce, relationship and alimony: Why the Madras High court is right


By Nithin Sridhar

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.

Photo credit:
Photo credit:

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.

hindu marriage

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.

Next Story

How to Salvage Your Marriage from Divorce

It's okay to feel anxious and down-casted if your spouse wants a divorce

Marriage, Divorce, US
You are sending a message with every wedding invitation – trying to get your recipient to show up. Pixabay

Currently, divorce has become so rampant; for instance, in the U.S, the divorce rate stands at a whopping 50 percent! It’s alarming, right? However, when you’re on the wrong side of these odds such statistics even makes it more painful.

Good news for you! Unhappy marriage does not mean the end result is divorce. Provided one of you has a strong desire to salvage the marriage, it’s possible.

Marriage counseling in Denver state that they have helped so many couples to reconcile and enjoy their marriage again. Some of the couples had even signed the divorce papers while others were at the verge of divorce.

Which tactics did they use? Below are 6 steps that prominent marriage therapists recommend to salvage your marriage.

Marriage, Divorce, US
Marriage counseling in Denver state that they have helped so many couples to reconcile and enjoy their marriage again. Pixabay


  • Accept your spouse’s feelings


It’s okay to feel anxious and down-casted if your spouse wants a divorce; however, it doesn’t mean your partner will not come around.

Each one of you has the right to express or feel the way they want to; therefore, you have to agree that your spouse wants out. It’s important for you to accept your partner’s position without manipulating it.

This will help you get to the root cause and most likely things will turn around and reawaken your love towards each other.

Also Read- India: Students From Small Towns Now Prefer Courses in Cybersecurity, Professional Gaming


  • Take responsibility


This might be the last thing you want to do! You need to approach your spouse and validate why they want to leave the marriage.

This is very powerful; just keep it brief and straightforward. For instance, you can tell your spouse, “I understand. You feel I haven’t been faithful to you.”

Confirm that you understand from their perspective even if you don’t agree.

Marriage, Divorce, US
Currently, divorce has become so rampant; for instance, in the U.S, the divorce rate stands at a whopping 50 percent! Pixabay


  • Stop over-reacting


You need to block the fight or flight reaction that is easily awakened by divorce threat. You should remain calm, kind, mature and the affectionate person that your spouse fell in love with.


  • Take a break


Give your companion space; don’t try to pursue, plead or beg your partner at such a time. Do your thing as this is time to let go. Create a scenario whereby your partner will miss you.

Also Read- “Foodie Call”: Study Shows Nearly 1 in 4 Women go on a Date for Grabbing a Free Meal


  • Work on yourself


At this time you need to concentrate on building yourself and being the best person you can be. Visit friends, marriage therapists like those Marriage Counseling in Denver or learn yoga.

Ultimately your spouse will notice the changes and the new positive attributes in you.


  • Reestablish contact


After following the above guidelines, most likely your spouse will come around. You can meet for coffee and focus on positive discussion, not on the fallen relationship.

Once the barrier is broken and you can smile and laugh again; you can gauge if you can work out things together.

It is important to note that stable marriage needs both partners to be actively involved. After following the steps above, you should assess if your partner is reciprocating or you are just hitting a rock.

You can involve a counselor along the process in case things are not adding up. Try as hard as you can to salvage your marriage, but if your spouse doesn’t show up you will still feel great how you carried yourself.