Know-it-all Guide To Marriage and Family Law in India   

Marriage and Family laws
Real Estate » Know-it-all Guide To Marriage and Family Law in India   

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The Family Laws in India cover all matters concerning a family, such as marriage, separation, divorce, and inheritance. These are legally enforceable rights and duties that validate the status of interpersonal relationships between two or more parties.

The marriage and family laws in India are governed by the personal laws of the parties, which depend upon their religion. The constitution of India enshrines that all people of the country can follow the marriage acts based on their religions. Rather than following a uniform code of conduct, the laws are built upon the religious guidelines of the communities and are enforced to uphold the individual rights essential to human dignity.

Governing Acts of Marriage and Divorce in India

The laws of marriage and divorce are separate for the four major religions of the country: Hindus, Christians, Parsis, and Muslims. Marriage registered and carried out under the various religious acts is considered to be solemnized in India. Each citizen has the liberty to either choose their legal representation of marriage with respect to the religion they belong to, or they can opt-out and choose to be solemnized under the Special Marriage Act 1956.

Similarly, there are two ways of obtaining a divorce in India, namely mutual and contested. The requirements for divorce are finalized as per the governing acts under which the marriage was solemnized. While marriages are often officiated as per the requirement of the respective acts, their validation is determined by matrimonial lawyers. But a contested divorce requires an appeal in the family court and the best divorce lawyers in Chandigarh. 

Also Read: What are the Divorce Laws in India?

The Five Family and Marriage Acts of India 

ReligionGoverning Acts
Hindu, Jain, SikhHindu Marriage Act, 1955
Christian
  1. Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872
  2. Divorce Act, 1869
MuslimMuslim Marriage Act, 1954
ParsiParsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1869
Pan-religion/SecularSpecial Marriage Act, 1954

Marriage laws in India: Overview

Below are the small descriptions of various religious laws:

1. Hindu Law on Marriage and Divorce

Basic conditions for marriage as per the Hindu Marriage Act-

  1. Neither party has a living spouse.
  2. Both parties are capable of valid consent.
  3. The bridegroom is above the age of 21 and the bride is above the age of 18.
  4. The parties are not in a prohibited relationship.
  5. The parties do not share a common ancestor or are cousins.

Basic conditions for divorce as per the Hindu Marriage Act-

  1. The Marriage was solemnized as per the Hindu Marriage Act.
  2. The grounds for divorce meet one or more conditions of Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act.

2. Muslim Law on Marriage and Divorce

Basic conditions for marriage as per the Muslim Marriage Act-

  1. Existence of a proposal made by one of the parties and its acceptance by the opposite party.
  2. The oral proclamation of ‘Ijab’ and ‘Qubul’ from both sides of the aisle in a single sitting.
  3. Both parties must be competent, and the absence of competence in a party must be aided by a guardian.
  4. The presence of sane two witnesses.

Basic conditions for divorce as per the Muslim Marriage Act-

  1. The couple can file for divorce with mutual content through Mubarat.
  2. Muslim women can file for divorce under the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939.
  3. The grounds for divorce must meet the conditions laid out in the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939.

3. Christian Law on Marriage and Divorce

Basic conditions for marriage as per the Christian Marriage Act

  1. Neither party has a living spouse.
  2. Both parties must be practicing the Christian religion.
  3. The marriage must be officiated by a marriage registrar appointed by the state government.
  4. The ceremony must be officiated by two witnesses. 
  5. The marriage must be notified by the registrar.

Basic conditions for divorce as per the Christian Marriage Act

  1. The Marriage was solemnized as per the Christian Marriage Act.
  2. Since Christianity does not recognize divorce, the grounds for divorce meet one or more conditions of the Indian Divorce Act.

4. Parsi Law on Marriage and Divorce

Basic conditions for marriage as per the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act-

  1. Both parties are practicing the Parsi religion.
  2. The marriage has been officiated by a Parsi Priest/Dastur
  3. The bridegroom is above the age of 21 and the bride is above the age of 18. 
  4. The ceremony has been officiated by two witnesses. 
  5. The marriage must be registered by the marriage registrar.

Basic conditions for divorce as per the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act-

  1. The Marriage was solemnized as per the Christian Marriage Act.
  2. The grounds for divorce meet one or more conditions of the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act.

5. Pan-religion/Secular Citizens

Basic conditions for marriage as per the Special Marriage Act

  1. The act of marriage has been performed by the special officer appointed under the Act.
  2. Neither of the parties should have a living spouse.
  3. Both parties should be capable of consent.
  4. The bridegroom is above the age of 21 and the bride is above the age of 18. 
  5. The parties should not be related to each other by blood.

Basic conditions for divorce as per the Special Marriage Act-

  1. The Marriage was solemnized as per the Special Marriage Act.
  2. The grounds for divorce meet one or more conditions of the Special Marriage Act.

New marriage law in India 2020

There is an active debate in the parliament over the reformation of Marriage Law in India, with special provisions for amendments in the Special Marriage Act, Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, and the Hindu Marriage Act. The bill also seeks to increase the legal age of marriage for women from 18 to 21.

Also Read: Important Marriage Laws in India for all the Newlyweds

In conclusion,

Indian citizens have the privilege to choose the marriage laws they wish to follow, as laid out by the different laws and the Special Marriage Act (applicable to the entire country except for Kashmir and Goa). There are other exceptions to the rules as well. As a developing country, India continues to be plagued by multiple strains on the enactment of marriage and divorce laws, particularly in the areas of child marriages, dowry, and divorces. In such cases, one must take help from one of the most competent law firm, Lex Solutions.