MEANING AND NATURE
The terms alimony and maintenance are related to the ramifications of divorce. The primary purpose of maintenance or alimony is to compensate a spouse for the basic maintenance and survival while they are undergoing separation or divorce. The sole purpose of aiding someone with maintenance or alimony is to assure the sustenance in the most legal manner. The terms are often used synonymously. It is the financial aid rendered by one spouse to the other when they have undergone separation or divorce, in order to aid the future and financial needs of the spouse or children.
TYPES OF ALIMONY
There are primarily two kinds of maintenance or maintenance classified, namely:
- Interim alimony or maintenance
- Permanent alimony or maintenance
Generally, alimony is provided when the spouse does not have adequate means of livelihood or financial independence. As per section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, permanent alimony is usually provided by the court to wife or husband in order to support the maintenance. However, there are some cases in which wife is earning but there is said to be a considerable amount of difference between the earnings of them, in such cases also, wife could be awarded alimony to help her maintain the standards of living .
FACTORS ON WHICH ALIMONY IS DECIDED
- The amount of alimony is decided on the basis of several peculiar factors, such as the duration of marriage.
- The age of spouse is the other factor taken into consideration while deciding the alimony amount
- Ensuring medical aid to the spouse who is suffering from poor health, also falls into the requisites of alimony
- The husband is liable to pay for maintenance of his wife if she is physically disabled or not well educated.
- Any other situation or reasons as the court may deem fit
WORKING WOMEN AND MAINTENANCE
It is often questioned whether working women are entitled to maintenance or not. Working women are also entitled to maintenance after their separation. According to the courts, even if the wife is employed, she is entitled to an adequate status and standard of living.
PERMANENT MAINTENANCE GIVEN TO WIFE
Permanent maintenance is given by husband to wife in case of divorce. The very amount of maintenance shall be determined as per the provisions of section 25 of Hindu Marriage Act. The court may order husband to pay maintenance to his wife either in lump sum or for her lifetime.
PERMANENT MAINTENANCE GIVEN BY WIFE
A wife can be asked to render permanent maintenance to husband, as per the section 25 of Hindu Marriage Act. Things that are taken into account while court decides upon maintenance given by wife to husband are:
- Property and annual income of wife
- Property and annual income of husband
- Nature and conduct of parties
- Level of mutual understanding and rapport
- Other circumstances as the court may deem fit
GROUNDS ON WHICH APPLICATION FOR MAINTENANCE BE REJECTED
There could be several grounds on which application for maintenance could be rejected, such as
- When the husband is unable to maintain himself
- When wife has issued vague statements regarding husband’s income
- When the wife has not disputed the statements made in reply, in relation to income of both parties
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