Not only is a divorce a mentally messy affair but it can also have deep financial repercussions— for what is a marriage if not an investment of time, energy, emotions and also money!
If you are considering separation or if you are someone who likes to stay informed about divorce proceedings, here's a look at what exactly is 'alimony' and how it is calculated in India.
What is alimony?
Alimony (maintenance, support or sustenance) is the financial support that is provided to a spouse after divorce. Generally, it is provided if a spouse does not have adequate means to take care of the basic needs of life. Although, by law, alimony can be granted to either spouse, usually, it is required to be awarded by the husband to his wife.
Who is eligible to get alimony?
Under Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act, permanent alimony is provided by the court to the wife or even to the husband for her or his support and maintenance. In case the wife is a working woman, but there is a considerable difference between her and her husband’s net earnings, she will still be awarded alimony to help her maintain the same standard of living as her husband.
If the wife is not earning, the court will consider her age, educational qualification and ability to earn to decide the amount of alimony. If the husband is disabled and is unable to earn and the wife is earning, then the court grants alimony to the husband.
How is alimony calculated?
There is no fixed formula or hard and fast rule for the calculation of alimony that the husband needs to provide to his wife. The alimony can be provided as a periodical or monthly payment, or as a one-time payment in the form of a lump-sum amount.
If the alimony is being paid on a monthly basis, the Supreme Court of India has set 25% of the husband’s net monthly salary as the benchmark amount that should be granted to the wife. There is no such benchmark for one-time settlement, but usually, the amount ranges between 1/5th to 1/3rd of the husband’s net worth.
That said, there are certain factors that are taken into consideration by the court while computing the alimony amount. Such factors may be varied and may include the following:
Husband’s and wife’s incomes and other properties, if any
Conduct of both the husband and the wife
Mandatory deductions such as income tax, EMIs, loan repayments etc. are considered to calculate the net income of the husband
Liabilities of the husband, such as dependent parents
Social status and lifestyle of both the parties
Age and health condition of both the parties
The period for which the couple had been married
Expenses for education and upbringing of the child/children
Hence, based on a range of factors, which depend on the specific circumstances and facts of each case, the amount of alimony or sustenance to be granted is decided by the court.
Note: The above information is generic in nature and is meant for educational purposes only. Nothing here is to be construed as an investment or financial or taxation advice nor to be considered as an invitation or solicitation. Readers are advised to exercise discretion and should seek independent professional advice prior to making any financial or legal decisions.