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A divorce is among the most disturbing occurrences for any couple. It can also be a long-winded and expensive affair in India if the divorce is contested. Even couples that jointly agree to the divorce, though, must prove that they have been separated for one year before the courts consider their plea.

In India, as with the majority of personal matters, rules for divorce are connected to religion. Divorces amongst Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and Jain community are under the purview of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. The Muslim community governed the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939, Parsi community by the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 and Christian community by the Indian Divorce Act, 1869. All civil, as well as inter-community marriages, are governed by the Special Marriage Act, 1956.

How to File and Draft a Divorce Petition?

The divorce or dissolution petition is filed in the court by a spouse who wishes to seek a divorce. The filing spouse is known as the “complaint” in some states, otherwise to be called as the petitioner. The divorce petition is the formal application before the honourable court informing the court of the desire to finish the marriage and the beginning of the divorce procedure.

The format of Divorce Petition

The format varies from state to state; the divorce or dissolution petition will contain the following information:

  • Spouse details: Spouses by name & address;
  • Marriage details: Date & place of marriage;
  • Child out of wedlock: Identification of the children out of wedlock.
  • Place of cohabitation: Acknowledgment that both parties have lived in the state or county for a certain period of time prior to the filing the petition;
  • Grounds for divorce: The reasons for the dispute over marriage;
  • Court fee: It Differs based on the gender of the petitioner i.e. free for females as the petitioner.
  • Prayer: Details about the alimony, cost bearer of a legal suit, child custody, such other request before the court.

Place of Divorce petition which is to be filed

  • Place where the marriage has been solemnized.
  • Place where both husband as well as wife last resided together.
  • Place where the wife is residing at the time of filing of the Petition before the court.

How to Draft a Divorce Petition?

The petition for the divorce could be drafted in general by detailing about the facts in the following sequence:

  • Court

First of all, mention the court where the application for divorce is to be filled, generally, it is before the honourable family court.

  • Matter

Subsequently, mention in which matter it has been filed say for e.g. following:

  1. In a matter of dissolution of marriage under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1956, or/and
  2. In matters of Divorce of the Petitioner with the Respondent on grounds of cruelty or/and
  3. In matters of the Family Courts Act, 1954, or/and.
  4. Give space for the case number (as it will be given by the court clerk) and mention the year.
  5. Details of the parties to the application

Provide the name and the address of the petitioner and defendant or compliant and defendant as the case may be.

Facts of the matter

The facts of cases which will include following and in a given manner:

Marriage details:

Detail about the date, place where the marriage had been solemnized and by the tradition followed in the marriage, say Hindu Vedic, Christian or as the case may be. Also, attach the proof of the marriage, say certificate of marriage, if that is not there then a photograph of the wedding.

The religion of the parties to the dispute is also mentioned.

Details of the involved parties: Provide the reason for dispute, it can be started with the time duration they lived together and cohabited and so on, also detail about the birth of the child if any out of the wedlock or adopted or such any other manner related to the concerned parties and also detail the age of child, what is the present situation, like who is maintaining the child’s living costs and such other responsibilities.

Dispute details:

Detail about the actual reasons which made the complainant or petitioner approached the court say either ill-treatment, and the period of such ill-treatment, physically assault, prolongers of such behaviour, what made the petitioner not to take resort to his/her legal rights, generally the Petitioner does not complain and undergo such ill-treatment, hoping that the Defendant will see better sense.

In case the petitioner or complainant got hospitalized due to such an act of the defendant then, attach the hospitalization or such other relevant documents.

In the case where the repetition of such act by defendant mention that along with the evidence if possible.

Mostly, the petitioner is required to put up all the reasons, acts, omission, incident or such cruel and violent manner of treatment made an apprehension in the mind of the Petitioner that it will be harmful and injurious for the Petitioner to continue to cohabit with the respondent. Ultimately to mean that there exists no collusion or connivance between the Petitioner and Respondent in the filing of this Petition.

  • Alimony

The Petitioner is also required to mention the claiming alimony in figures as well as words.

Any other proceedings filed apart from this in this Court or in any other Court in India

No other proceedings in connection with the marriage between the Petitioner and the Respondent should be filed and if already filed then mention the effect the same to the present matter.

  • Court fee

In case the Petitioner is a lady then in such case, is exempt from payment of Court fees.

  • Prayer

One should be very clear in one’s mind before putting up the Prayer before the court, generally, it asks for the following:

  1. To grant the decree a dissolution of the said marriage between the Petitioner and Respondent;
  2. That the Petitioner be granted the alimony @ Rs. _______/- per month;
  3. That the Respondent be ordered and decreed to pay the expenses of this Petition; and
  4. Or can ask for such further and other reliefs as the nature and circumstances of the case might require.

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