Filed in International Divorce News:
New Delhi: According the Telegraph, Calcutta, Indian divorce law does not provide for an equal split or even an equitable split of assets in a divorce situation. So, for example, if Elizabeth Hurley or Arun Nayer thought they could petition the Indian courts to get a portion of the other’s assets, they need to think again. Luckily, both parties will petition the British courts which has historically tended to not only split assets down the middle, but also, until recently, to treat prenups as toilet tissue.
Says the Telegraph:
Had Arun Nayar been in India, he could not have asked for a share of Liz Hurley’s assets in a divorce case even if he admitted to being financially weaker.
Neither could Hurley have asked for a division of Nayar’s property, for that matter, had she been the weaker partner.
“There’s no talk of division of assets” in Indian divorce laws, Supreme Court lawyer Pinky Anand said.
Financial settlements are limited to paying maintenance. On this count, the Hindu Marriage Act and the Special Marriage Act are gender-neutral, allowing the spouse with the smaller income to seek maintenance. “But nothing more,” Anand stressed.
Muslim and Christian personal laws do not allow a man to even claim maintenance.
Under the gender-neutral British law, which will apply in Nayar’s case, the weaker spouse can stake claim to a share of the other’s assets.
In India, the law feels there is no need for a couple to share their property, women’s rights activist Kirti Singh said. Whatever the man has is his. Similarly, the woman’s property is hers. That has to change, she added.
The Domestic Violence Act, 2005, takes a small step towards division of assets by allowing women to seek a portion of the marital home or rent in lieu of it.
But the concept of equal division of assets built by a couple during a marriage does not exist, Singh said.
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