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Divorce is a difficult and emotional process, but it is important to understand the legal process involved before you start. In India and there are some important things that you need to know about filing for divorce in India.


Divorce is a life-altering decision that can have far-reaching consequences. In India, a country steeped in tradition and cultural values, the process of filing for divorce involves legal intricacies and societal considerations. Understanding the nuances of divorce proceedings can help individuals navigate this challenging process. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to filing for divorce in India, covering legal aspects, grounds for divorce, procedural steps, and potential challenges. But before beginning it’s always advisable to contact a divorce lawyer.

Types of Divorce in India

There are two main types of divorce: mutual consent divorce and contested divorce.

Mutual Consent Divorce

Mutual consent divorce is the most common type of divorce in India. It is a relatively simple process that can be completed in a few months. To file for a mutual consent divorce, both spouses must agree to the divorce and must sign a mutual consent divorce petition. The petition must be filed in the family court in the district where the spouses last lived together.

Once the petition is filed, the court will schedule a hearing. At the hearing, the judge will ask the spouses to confirm their consent to the divorce and will then grant the divorce.

You can Read here About : How to get Mutual Divorce through Video Conferencing

Contested Divorce

A contested divorce is a more complicated process that can take longer to complete. It is necessary when one spouse does not agree to the divorce or when there are issues to be resolved, such as child custody, alimony, or property division.

To file for a contested divorce, one spouse must file a petition for divorce in the family court in the district where the spouses last lived together. The petition must state the grounds for the divorce and must be served on the other spouse.

The other spouse will then have an opportunity to file an answer to the petition. The answer may deny the grounds for the divorce or may raise its own grounds for divorce.

Once the petition and answer have been filed, the case will be set for trial. At trial, the judge will hear evidence from both spouses and will then make a decision on whether to grant the divorce.

Read More: How to get Divorce in India

Legal Aspects of Divorce in India

In India, divorce falls under the ambit of personal laws, which vary depending on an individual’s religion. The major personal laws governing divorce are Hindu Law, Muslim Law, Christian Law, and Parsi Law. Each law has its own set of rules and procedures for obtaining a divorce. The legal grounds for divorce also vary based on these personal laws.

What You Need to Know About Filing for Divorce in India

Grounds for Divorce

In India, there are several grounds for divorce. The most common grounds are:

  • Adultery: This is when one spouse has sexual relations with someone other than their spouse.
  • Cruelty: This is when one spouse treats the other spouse with physical or mental cruelty.
  • Desertion: This is when one spouse leaves the other spouse without any reasonable cause and without the other spouse’s consent.
  • Conversion: This is when one spouse converts to a different religion and the other spouse does not agree to the conversion.
  • Mental disorder: This is when one spouse is mentally ill and is unable to fulfill their marital duties.
  • Renunciation of the world: This is when one spouse renounces the world and lives a life of seclusion.
  • Presumption of death: This is when one spouse is presumed dead after being absent for seven years without any news.

Procedural Steps for Filing Divorce

  1. Consulting an Attorney: The first step in the divorce process is to consult an experienced divorce lawyer.
  2. Preparing the Petition: Your attorney will assist you in drafting the divorce petition, which outlines the grounds for divorce and the relief sought. The petition should be filed in the appropriate family court based on your jurisdiction.
  3. Filing the Petition: Once the petition is prepared, it needs to be filed in the relevant family court. The court fee and required documents must be submitted along with the petition.
  4. Serving Notice to the Spouse: After filing the petition, a notice will be served to the spouse, informing them about the divorce proceedings. The spouse has the right to respond to the petition within a stipulated time.
  5. Response and Counterclaim: If the spouse contests the divorce, they can file a response outlining their stance. They may also file a counterclaim if they wish to seek divorce on their own grounds.
  6. Evidence and Documentation: Both parties are required to submit evidence supporting their claims. This may include documents, witnesses, and testimonies to prove the grounds for divorce.
  7. Negotiation and Mediation: Many courts encourage negotiation and mediation to resolve issues amicably. This can help save time and reduce emotional stress.
  8. Final Arguments and Judgement: Once all evidence is presented and arguments are made, the court will analyze the case and deliver a judgment. The court may grant or deny the divorce based on the presented evidence and legal provisions.

Cost of Divorce

The cost of divorce in India varies depending on the type of divorce and the complexity of the case. However, it is generally a costly process. The cost of filing the divorce petition, serving the petition on the other spouse, and attending the hearing before the judge can be significant. In addition, there may be other costs associated with the divorce, such as the cost of hiring a lawyer and the cost of mediation.

Challenges and Considerations

While filing for divorce, there are several challenges and considerations that individuals should be aware of:

  1. Emotional Strain: Divorce is emotionally taxing for both parties involved. Coping with emotional turmoil and stress is crucial.
  2. Child Custody and Maintenance: If the couple has children, the issue of child custody and maintenance becomes significant. Courts prioritize the best interests of the child when making decisions.
  3. Property Division: The division of shared property and assets can be contentious. Legal provisions guide how property is divided based on ownership and contributions.
  4. Time-Consuming Process: Divorce proceedings in India can be lengthy due to the backlog of cases in the judicial system. Being prepared for a potentially extended process is important.
  5. Social Stigma: In Indian society, divorce can still carry a social stigma, particularly for women. It’s important to be prepared for societal judgment and have a support system in place.
  6. Financial Implications: Divorce can have financial implications, including legal fees, alimony, and potential changes in lifestyle. Planning for these changes is crucial.


Filing for divorce in India is a complex and multi-faceted process that involves legal, emotional, and societal considerations. Understanding the legal grounds, procedural steps, and potential challenges can help individuals navigate this journey with greater clarity. Consulting experienced legal professionals, prioritizing open communication, and seeking emotional support are key steps toward achieving a smoother divorce process. While divorce marks the end of one chapter, it also paves the way for new beginnings and opportunities for personal growth.

You can also read : Life After Divorce in India

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Filing for Divorce in India

  1. What are the grounds for divorce in India?
    • Grounds include adultery, cruelty, desertion for 2 years, religious conversion, mental disorder, leprosy, venereal disease, renunciation, and not heard alive for 7 years.
  2. Is mutual consent necessary for a divorce in India?
    • Mutual consent is one of the simplest grounds for divorce, requiring both parties to agree.
  3. How long does a mutual consent divorce take?
    • Typically, 6-18 months, involving a 6-month cooling-off period.
  4. Can the cooling-off period in mutual consent divorce be waived?
    • In some cases, courts can waive this period if both parties agree and circumstances justify it.
  5. What is contested divorce?
    • When one party files for divorce without the spouse’s consent, based on specific grounds.
  6. How long does a contested divorce take?
    • It varies widely, from 2 to 10 years, depending on the case’s complexity.
  7. What is alimony and how is it calculated?
    • Alimony is financial support provided to a spouse post-divorce, calculated based on income, lifestyle, and the recipient’s needs.
  8. Is alimony mandatory in India?
    • It’s not mandatory but often awarded, especially in long-term marriages or where one spouse is significantly financially weaker.
  9. Can working women claim alimony?
    • Yes, if their income is substantially lower than their husband’s.
  10. Are child custody arrangements part of the divorce process?
    • Yes, child custody is decided as part of divorce proceedings.
  11. What is the main consideration in child custody cases?
    • The child’s welfare is the paramount consideration.
  12. Can mothers always get child custody?
    • Not always; the court considers the child’s best interests, which might sometimes favor the father.
  13. What is joint custody?
    • Both parents share custody, but the child may reside primarily with one parent.
  14. How is property divided in a divorce?
    • Property acquired during marriage is generally divided equitably, but personal inheritances or gifts can be excluded.
  15. Are personal gifts included in the property division?
    • Typically, personal gifts or inheritances are not included.
  16. What is the process for filing a divorce petition?
    • A petition is filed in the family court in the area where both spouses lived together last, or where the spouse resides.
  17. Can NRIs file for divorce in India?
    • Yes, if they were married in India or their marriage is recognized under Indian law.
  18. What if my spouse is missing or untraceable?
    • You can still file for divorce, but it may require proving efforts to locate your spouse.
  19. Is online divorce filing possible in India?
    • Filing can start online, but the process eventually requires physical presence in court.
  20. What if my spouse refuses to grant a divorce?
    • You can still file a contested divorce based on valid grounds.
  21. What are the legal fees for a divorce in India?
    • Fees vary based on case complexity, lawyer’s expertise, and location.
  22. Can divorce be done without a lawyer in India?
    • It’s possible, but legal guidance is recommended for proper procedure and documentation.
  23. What if I can’t afford a lawyer for my divorce?
    • Legal aid services are available for those who cannot afford a lawyer.
  24. What is mediation in divorce cases?
    • A process where a neutral third party helps couples reach an amicable settlement.
  25. Is mediation mandatory in mutual consent divorces?
    • Not mandatory, but it’s often encouraged.
  26. Can I change my lawyer during my divorce case?
    • Yes, you have the right to change your lawyer at any stage.
  27. What is the role of a family court in a divorce?
    • Family courts handle the legal proceedings of divorce, including custody and alimony.
  28. Can the terms of a mutual consent divorce be modified later?
    • Yes, if both parties agree and the court approves the modifications.
  29. What happens if one party violates the divorce settlement?
    • The aggrieved party can approach the court for enforcement of the settlement.
  30. How does adultery impact a divorce case?
    • Adultery is a ground for divorce and can impact alimony and custody decisions.
  31. Is dating during divorce proceedings legal?
    • While not illegal, it can complicate the divorce process, especially if contested.
  32. What are the residency requirements for filing a divorce in India?
    • Typically, one must file in the court of the area where both spouses last lived together.
  33. Can a divorce decree from another country be recognized in India?
    • Yes, if it complies with the provisions of Section 13 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908.
  34. What if my spouse contests the divorce at a later stage?
    • The case becomes a contested divorce and proceeds accordingly.
  35. How are international assets handled in Indian divorces?
    • It’s complex and may require considering laws of the country where assets are located.
  36. Can I remarry immediately after my divorce is finalized?
    • You must wait until the appeal period is over, which is usually 90 days.
  37. What if my spouse is mentally ill?
    • Mental illness can be a ground for divorce, but it must be properly documented and proven.
  38. What if my spouse is involved in criminal activities?
    • Criminal activity can be a ground for divorce if it impacts the marital relationship.
  39. Is it necessary to prove fault in a mutual consent divorce?
    • No, mutual consent divorce does not require proving fault.
  40. How is spousal support determined?
    • It’s based on the recipient’s financial needs and the payer’s ability to pay.
  41. Can a husband claim alimony in India?
    • Yes, if he is financially weaker and the wife has a substantial income.
  42. What if my spouse remarries during the divorce process?
    • Remarriage without legal divorce can be grounds for a nullity petition.
  43. What is a nullity petition?
    • A legal procedure to declare a marriage null and void.
  44. Can same-sex couples file for divorce in India?
    • As of my last update, same-sex marriage is not legally recognized in India, hence divorce proceedings don’t apply.
  45. What is an annulment, and how is it different from divorce?
    • Annulment declares a marriage legally void, as if it never happened, unlike divorce, which ends a valid marriage.
  46. Can we settle a divorce out of court?
    • Yes, through mutual consent or mediation, leading to an out-of-court settlement.
  47. What is a maintenance petition?
    • A legal request for financial support during or post-divorce.
  48. How long after a divorce can I file for maintenance?
    • There’s no specific time limit, but sooner is typically better to justify the need.
  49. What if my spouse hides assets during the divorce?
    • You can seek legal recourse for proper asset disclosure.
  50. What are the emotional impacts of divorce, and how can they be addressed?

    • Divorce can be emotionally challenging. Professional counseling and support groups can help in coping.

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