Osama Sohail is a distinguished lawyer with a flourishing practice in Delhi. He has 11 years of experience in dealing with matrimonial matters ranging from divorce, child custody, domestic violence, marriage annulment, dowry cases and more.
Do you feel there has been an increase in the number of divorce cases over time?
Yes, there is a definite increase in the number of cases today. I would say that in the last decade divorce rates - filing of divorce cases - have increased by atleast three to four times, if not more.
What are the most common reasons for couples approaching the courts for divorce?
Most common reason for seeking divorce is cruelty. It is a wide term. Cruelty includes physical as well as psychological. Other most sought after grounds for divorce cases are desertion (abandonment), and adultery.
How often is infidelity the main cause of filing for divorce?
A third of the cases have elements of infidelity in one way or another. But it is interesting that in most cases infidelity or cheating, it does not find mention as a reason (to part ways).
How do spouses claim to have found out about their partners’ infidelity?
Phone, call records, Facebook, Whatsapp, SMS, etc. In one way or another they leave their imprint.
Do men and women clients react differently to infidelity? For instance, will a man demand/desire the same punishment for a cheating wife as compared to a woman against a cheating husband?
It depends. In my experience I have seen extremes of cases. For instance, in one case that I handled, a husband found out that his wife was involved with multiple partners and had all the proof (voice recordings, etc.) to prove his case. He filed for divorce and there was more than one respondent in the case: those who were involved with his wife. My client’s aim from the very beginning was to ensure that his wife knows she cannot lie any more, and they find a way to part amicably. He was ready to pay all required dues etc. as well.
There have been other instances where the aim of the man, who has caught his wife cheating, has been to vanquish his wife and make her suffer socially, economically and emotionally.
When the wife finds out: in a particular case of a couple, married and with children, and seeming to lead a happy life, the wife caught her husband cheating. She tried to reconcile for the sake of the children, but the husband wanted a divorce on grounds of incompatibility. The wife is not ready to divorce him and the case is still in the court.
Losses from the ordeal of litigation have also been a factor in couples playing smarter and trying to settle disputes amicably.
Are couples ready to take therapy as a step to avoid divorce?
Therapy should be a desirable approach but there are few takers. High fees may sometimes be a reason. However, I would say that a beginning has been made in that direction.
What are the reasons, in your experience, that act as factors stopping couples from divorcing each other?
Child, society, family, and at times financial dependence of females over male counterparts.
Do men get harassed in divorce cases?
A number of times women file criminal cases on dowry etc., extra marital involvement, domestic violence, to ensure that the cheating husband does not get the divorce and suffers socially, financially etc.
What are the trends in divorce settlements these days?
People having farsightedness spare themselves from protracted litigation, preferring amicable resolution of disputes, by opting for Mutual Consent Divorce on terms that are negotiated and accepted by and between them – with or without their legal representative.