DIVORCE may have lost its social stigma,but the procedures leading to it still remain a mystery for many. Motivational books help to bounce back emotionally and this is one such. Breaking Up: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Divorced (published by Penguin,Rs 250),by Mrunalini Deshmukh and Fazaa Shroff-Garg,is the first-of-its-kind to explain the legalities. According to co-author Shroff-Garg,it took almost two years to sift through cases to compile the book. We explain the process of divorce,then highlight the grounds under all the religions as per their personal laws,then address ancillary issues such as alimony,child support and custody. We have also added useful tips,check lists,case studies based on Mrs Deshmukhs clientele, says Shroff-Garg. Excerpts from the interview with Mrunalini Deshmukh:
What do you perceive are the prime causes of divorce in society today?
For people who come from the lower strata of society,divorces are more over husbands drinking habits,or wife beating. In the middle-class,where there are professionals involved,it is at times related to ego,intolerance,a third person in the marriage or in-laws issues. In the affluent class,unfortunately,it becomes money-centric. The richer the lady,the more she will fight for the money. The richer the man,less he will want to pay his wife.
Custody battles can turn quite bitter.
In India,we must have the concept of joint custody. Today,mothers have come to the conclusion that children are their right. As much as children are the responsibility of a father in terms of giving money for their education and other expenses,it is also the duty of the mother to ensure that father and child spend quality time together. Almost all countries give joint legal custody,so that children get the feeling that both their parents love and care for them.
You have also raised the issue of equitable rights to assets.
Women should have equitable rights to assets. The law says if the property has been bought by the husband but stands in the joint name of husband and wife,wherein the wifes name is second,she does not have any right. This happened to one of my clients after 22 years of marriage.