Divorce Trends In Urban India Through The Legal Lens

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Is the divorce rate increasing? Is matrimony not the sacred institution it once was? What are the most common reasons for divorce in India? Today, we have an expert with us who talks about the common divorce trends that he has observed in his legal practice.

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, to 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 at least three to four times, if not more.

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What are the most common reasons for couples approaching the courts for divorce?

Per a Forbes Advisor survey, the primary factors driving divorce in the US are incompatibility, lack of family support, and lack of intimacy. Another reason for seeking divorce is cruelty. It is a broad term. Cruelty includes physical as well as psychological. Other grounds for divorce cases are desertion (abandonment) and adultery.

couple seeking divorce
Lack of intimacy is one of the reasons for seeking divorce

How often is infidelity the leading cause of filing for divorce?

As per the above survey, 34% of marriages ended due to an affair. It is interesting that in most cases of adultery 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 when they are cheating online.

Do men and women clients react differently to infidelity?

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 fact: 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.

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There have been other instances where the aim of the man who has caught his wife cheating has been to conquer his wife and make her suffer socially, economically and emotionally.

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When the wife finds out: in a particular case of a couple, married and with children, and seems 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 the grounds of incompatibility. The wife is not ready to divorce him, and the case is still in 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 and marriage counseling 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 that stop couples from divorcing each other?

Child, society, family, and at times the financial dependence of women on men.

Do men get harassed in divorce cases?

Several times women file criminal cases on dowry etc., extramarital 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.

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