Divorce is an unfortunate reality that many couples may face in their lives. However, couples who have reached a mutual agreement to separate legally and have resolved all matters related to alimony, property distribution, child custody, and visitation rights can opt for a mutual consent divorce procedure in India. In this blog post, we will explore the intricacies of this process, emphasizing the significance of a knowledgeable lawyer and private counselor. We will also discuss the required documents, court proceedings, and the duration of the procedure. Additionally, we will provide valuable insights and precautions to consider during this challenging time.
A lawyer plays an essential role in two stages: negotiating the terms and conditions of the divorce and handling the court proceedings. While the first part is crucial, the latter is primarily an administrative task. Spouses need to engage an experienced professional to negotiate the terms and conditions, which can significantly impact the process. Once the spouses finalize the terms and conditions, they can present them before the Court more straightforwardly. A competent lawyer and private counselor are instrumental in a mutual consent divorce. It is essential to be cautious of professionals who may advise or negotiate in a manner that prolongs the process for their interests.
Therefore, spouses should be mindful of whether the professional’s advice is genuinely for their benefit. Balancing give-and-take and prioritizing practical solutions over idealistic ones is critical for achieving the best negotiation outcome. Transparent communication about professional fees with the lawyer is essential to avoid friction later. Discussing expectations, deliverables, priorities, and timelines will ensure a smoother process. It is crucial for spouses to clearly state that their priority is the dissolution of marriage and negotiate a lumpsum fee for the entire process.
Initiating the mutual consent divorce procedure requires certain essential documents. These include the Marriage Registration Certificate, Marriage Invitation Card, Marriage Photos, Aadhar Card, Pan Card, and photographs of both spouses. In addition, the petitioner affixes approximately Rs. 100 court fee stamps to the back of the petition. It is important to note that the correct filing format may vary from Court to Court, and engaging an experienced lawyer familiar with the local court procedures and systems is crucial to avoid potential obstacles and save time during the registry clearance for hearing.
The mutual consent divorce procedure in India is relatively straightforward. After filing the petition, both spouses must appear on the first day of the hearing. During this hearing, the judge seeks to understand the reasons for the couple’s decision to seek a divorce and ensures their commitment to the decision. Additionally, the Court appoints a marriage counselor who conducts a similar questioning session to ensure that family members, relatives, or others do not unduly influence the spouses. The intention behind this question is to save marriages by encouraging the couple to introspect and review their decision.
The final divorce order is granted by the Court when all efforts of reconciliation at the friends and family level, as well as during interactions with the Judge and Court-appointed marriage counselor, have failed. Subsequently, the Court grants a hearing date six months after filing. At this stage, the spouses must file a second motion or a claim affidavit affirming their mutual consent for divorce and the stability of their decision after six months. The Court grants the divorce order and uploads it on the E Courts website within a few days. Later, the parties can apply for certified copies of the divorce order through their lawyer.
While obtaining certified copies takes time, an experienced lawyer who works with the system can expedite the process for urgent requirements. Realistically, the entire mutual consent divorce procedure typically takes six to seven months to reach its conclusion.
Under certain circumstances, the Court may consider granting the divorce in less than six months. To achieve this, the lawyer representing the spouses can apply to the Court, requesting waiving the mandatory cooling-off period. The application should provide grounds such as the spouses living separately for more than 18 months without any possibility of reconciliation or settlement of all matters related to alimony, maintenance, property distribution, child custody, and visitation rights. It should also highlight that prolonging the process for an additional six months would exacerbate the emotional turmoil experienced by the spouses and their families.
Although the mutual consent divorce procedure may appear straightforward, entrusting the process to an experienced family lawyer is advisable. Beware of agents and professionals who promise instant results at discounted prices. If the process encounters obstacles due to missing documents, compliance issues, or court queries, the lawyer must address and resolve these issues. Inexperienced lawyers may face difficulties in navigating smoothly during such situations.
Therefore, engaging a professional with a good reputation, a thorough understanding of the procedure and documentation, and a strong rapport with the Court is crucial to avoid mistakes and delays caused by non-compliance.
In conclusion, navigating India’s mutual consent divorce procedure requires careful consideration and the guidance of an experienced lawyer and private counselor. By prioritizing practical solutions, maintaining transparency with your lawyer, and understanding the importance of negotiation, couples can navigate the process smoothly and efficiently. Correct filing formats and compliance with local court procedures are essential to prevent potential obstacles. While the system encourages reconciliation, if both spouses are resolute in their decision to divorce, the procedure typically takes six to seven months to reach its conclusion. Waiving the mandatory cooling-off period is possible under specific circumstances but requires appropriate grounds and a compelling case.
Ultimately, entrusting the process to an experienced family lawyer is vital to avoid mistakes, overcome challenges, and ensure a successful outcome. By considering these factors, couples can confidently navigate the mutual consent divorce procedure, knowing that they have made informed decisions and prioritized their well-being and the dissolution of their marriage.