Property in matrimonial relationship may be of various forms, such as share in a joint business venture, dowry, presents given before, during or after marriage by friends and relations of either party or both parties, jewellery, benefits of hire purchase, matrimonial home and furniture and other contents, loan by one spouse to the other, various other properties pooled by them during marriage and so forth. Under the Marriage Laws Amendment Act, 2013, the wife has a claim in the property of the Husband but nowhere is it stated that she shall have a 50% claim, i.e. half of the property. Even if the house property was exclusively owned by the husband from before marriage, wife’s right of residence in a portion is now clearly stated and defined in the law. Such portion would match the status and lifestyles of the parties. The wife has to file a petition before the court to get any claim on the property. Under Section 27 of The Hindu Marriage Act, the wife may have a share in the husband’s as well as the joint property but this share is decided upon by the courts on a case-to-case basis. Under Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 the court can grant a right to either spouse to claim permanent alimony and maintenance. The wife also has special rights to maintenance and separate residence under Section 18 of Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act. Therefore, a wife has a right to share in property even if she has not contributed a penny but this share is not fixed and is decided by the courts on a case-to-case basis depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, including the status and lifestyle of the spouses as well as their incomes. References: Asutosh Mookerjee, “Marriage Separation and Divorce” 3ed. Reprint 2005, p. 399. Kanchan B.R. v. Akash Alias Usuf Hussain 1 (2001) DMC 574 (Del)
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