Filing for a divorce will bring a permanent change in your life. So before you take the plunge, re-consider all your options. Be entirely sure that this is what you want to do.
We’ve prepared a checklist for you that might come in handy before you go to court.
- Be certain that you cannot mend the problems with your partner.
Fights and difficult times in a marriage can make it seem as though you hate each other’s guts. But are you sure that you don’t care for each other anymore?
- List your reasons for filing a divorce.
Are these reasons valid? Will they hold in the court of law? Sometimes you can get so carried away by emotions that you fail to see the situation objectively. Share your reasons with a third party to get their opinion.
- Think how the divorce would affect your kids.
Who is likely to get custody of the children? And how is that going to alter their lives? Have you looked at all the ways that you can make it easier on the kids? In the course of separation, you may not have had the responsibility of the kids, full time, but with a divorce you may. What plans are you making for that? Will you be able to manage it, with jobs and changing schedules?
- Think about how the divorce will affect other relationships in your life.
How will this impact your family, friends and community? How will you cope with these changes? In India, there’s a lot of social stigma attached to divorce, especially for women. It also depends on what part of society you come from. Divorces are seen differently among people from the affluent class, compared to the middle class or lower economic strata. What is your coping mechanism for this?
- Think about how you will prepare for the difficult times ahead.
Divorces are an emotional roller coaster. Once you divorce from your husband or wife, you will have to deal with loneliness and solitude. Who will be there to support you through this tough transition in your life?
- Be prepared for the financial changes that come along with a divorce.
Do you know your spouse’s income and whether you’ll be required to pay maintenance? Sort out the finances before you go ahead.
- Try separating before you divorce.
Separation might be an option before you get into full blown divorce proceedings.
- Ask a lawyer what steps you need to take.
Divorce proceedings can be long, sometimes unpleasant and cumbersome and having professional advice will prove helpful.
If you are feeling confident about divorce, seek legal assistance to go ahead with your choice. Here are some helplines that you can call:
Human Rights Law Network runs Madhyam Helpline and provides Legal Services: (011) 09250808040
Lawyers Collective Women’s Rights Initiative LC WRI runs a pro-bono legal aid cell for domestic violence cases: (011) 24374830
MARG (Multiple Action Research Group): (011) 26497483 / 26496925
Delhi Police HELPLINE: 1091
Delhi Commission for Women: (011) 23379181/ 23370597
Women’s Cell, Delhi Police: (011) 24673366 / 4156 / 7699
National Commission for Women: (011) 23237166/ 23236203 / 23236204
National Human Rights Commission: (011) 9810298900 http://nhrc.nic.in/
Pratidhi: (011) 22527259
If you are in an abusive marriage, read this guide to help you put a case together with or without a lawyer.