Can a Divorce Decree Be Reversed?

Undergoing an elaborate divorce process is certainly reckoned by no sense of regret. The settlement agreement reflects the concordance between the spouses. But during and after the breakup, there are number of circumstantial changes as well as new discoveries that can cause one of the spouse or both to reconsider the earlier decisions. There are certain circumstances where marital settlement agreement can be modified only with the parties’ mutual consent.

But in some cases, after considerable period of time, couple may realize to restore the marriage. But can a divorce decree be reversed under Indian Law?

In a country like India, a land of diversified religious communities with distinct marriage laws, separate laws have been implemented for couple belonging to distinct religious beliefs:

  1. Divorce among Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains are governed by Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
  2. Parsis by the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936
  3. Muslims by the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939
  4. Christians by the Indian Divorce Act, 1869
  5. Civil and inter-community marriages are governed by Special Marriage Act, 1956
  6. The Foreign Marriage Act,1969

Under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 elucidate different theories of divorce-fault, mutual consent, breakdown ad also explains the ground for divorce under this Act.

But reversal of divorce decree is clearly specified in Indian Divorce Act 1869. According to it, the decree of separation can be reversed during the absence of husband or wife. Here desertion is the suitable ground where husband or wife, a decree of judicial separation has been pronounced, can present a petition to the court.  On this ground, the court can be presented with a petition on account of his or her absence with a reasonable excuse for the alleged desertion. After being satisfied of the truth of the allegations on such petition, the court may reverse the decree accordingly. But it ensures that reversal must not affect the rights or remedies or must not render prejudice in respect of contracts, debts or acts of the wife incurred with the span of the sentence of the separation and reversal thereof.

In general, there is no easy way to revoke the divorce degree but if any of the spouse filed the divorce petition earlier, then the other party can go to the court and possess the right to challenge accordingly. A statement can be issued if both the spouses want to live together. With the immediate effect, the High Court would dismiss the divorce decree and may allow the appeal.