Possible new laws may change landscape
While American divorce law sometimes seems daunting, we have to remember that in other parts of the world, the simple act of wanting to leave your spouse can create more problems than what set you to consider divorce to begin with. A prime case is India, where although the younger generation is pushing the envelope in terms of ending relationships—arranged or not—quicker than their parents did. However for women, it's still a huge undertaking that makes most scared to even think about pursuing.
That's because while divorce is an option, it's not one that women view as a viable out. Unfortunately, the current legal system in India is set up for the woman to fail, leaving the divorcee without much, even if the husband is at fault and wealthy. Legally, women can't be granted land in settlements, and the onus is on her to prove her husband's financial status if she wants to receive benefits. Alas, in a land where "under the table" payouts and hidden cash are the norm, it's not easy for her come up with hard numbers. Luckily for the women of India, the government is looking to amend these and more existing marriage laws and help give them a fair shake with the The Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill 2010.
One of the points the new amendment aims to introduce to the marriage laws includes creating a clause that allows "irretrievable breakdown of marriage" to be used as a basis for divorce, and overturning the rule about women unable to own property gained from a divorce. It is also looking to eliminate or shorten a rule on the books that mandates a "cooling-off" period of six to eighteen months before a divorce is granted.
Kirti Singh, a family and property law barrister in India, authored a study in India about the state of marriage after overseeing "thousands" of divorces. She has seen the ugly side of the divorces, the women who are left destitute and dealing with the social implications that are almost as devastating. Singh hopes to shine a light on these women, most of who leave because of physical or mental abuse. In fact, of the more than 400 separated or divorced women she surveyed, more than three-quarters of them blame "cruelty or domestic violence in their marital homes" for the split. Two-thirds of the women surveyed suffered from physical violence. With a new attitude hopefully changing the face of divorce in India, there's finally a hope that the current generation of women who fear leaving an abusive or unfulfilling marriage can see there is another way.