The Indian Divorce Act 1869: Everything You Need to Know

Indian Divorce Act 1869
Matrimonial Disputes » The Indian Divorce Act 1869: Everything You Need to Know

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The Indian Divorce Act of 1869 is concerned with governing the divorce of Christian couples in our country. Since there is a lot of diversity among religions in India, there are multiple laws governing marriage and divorce for couples belonging to different communities. The Act contains provisions for dissolution of marriage, null and void marriages, custody of children, and a lot more. This blog aims to inform you about everything you need to know about the Indian Divorce Act 1869.

Grounds for Divorce Under Indian Divorce Act 1869

Indian Divorce Act 1869 section 10 outlines the grounds on which a Christian man or woman may file for divorce in our country. This law’s jurisdiction extends to all Christian marriages except in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Any marriage solemnized before or after the Indian Divorce (Amendment) Act, 2001 can be dissolved on the following grounds:

  • Either party has committed adultery
  • Either party has converted to a religion other than Christianity
  • Either party has been of unsound mind for two years or more since the petition was filed in court
  • Either party has been unheard of for 7 years or more and hence presumed dead
  • Either party has refused to consummate the marriage
  • Either party has failed to respond to the court’s order for the restitution of conjugal rights for more than 2 years
  • Either party has deserted the other party for more than 2 years
  • Has treated the petitioning party with cruelty – this involves both physical and mental abuse
  • Has been suffering from venereal disease or leprosy
  • A wife may also file for a divorce if the husband has engaged in bestiality, rape, or sodomy

Also Read: The Indian Divorce Act 1869 – An Overview

Dissolution of Marriage by Mutual Consent

The Christian divorce law in India also has a provision where the couple can file for divorce mutually when they both agree that their marriage is not working out. This is outlined in section 10A of the Indian Divorce Act. To file for a mutual divorce:

  • The couple must have lived separately for at least two years
  • They both agree that they are unable to live together
  • They do not withdraw the petition within 6-18 months of filing the petition in the district court

The Process to File a Divorce

The divorce process in India is usually regulated by the provision of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. The following steps must be followed:

  1. Whoever files the divorce, the man or wife will have to hire a lawyer first who will inform them of the procedure
  2. The lawyer then files a divorce petition at District Court
  3. The court will send a copy of the petition to the spouse
  4. The spouse can either contest the divorce or mutually agree
  5. In case the divorce is mutually agreed upon, the couple will have to prove that they were living separately for more than a year
  6. A cooling-off period of six months is given to the couple to reconsider
  7. The court meets again after the cool-off period and if the parties still want a divorce, the court dissolves the marriage.

Null and Void Marriages

The court resolves the right to declare marriages null and void according to the Indian Divorce Act 1869 on a few grounds. Any husband or wife may file to declare their marriage null and void if:

  1. The partner is impotent at the time of the marriage and even while filing the null and void suit
  2. The parties are within the prohibited degree of consanguinity
  3. Either party was mentally unsound at the time of the marriage
  4. Either party had a living spouse at the time the marriage was solemnized.

New Rules for Divorce in India 2021

There have been new rules and historic judgments that have set precedents for new divorce laws in our country. Since January 2022, domestic violence, dowry harassment, and child marriage have been included as valid reasons for divorce. Let us explore some of these.

6-Month Cooling-Off Period Not Mandatory

While the 6-month cool-off period is a good step to discourage hasty decisions, it can be waived off nowadays. In a recent historic hearing, the Delhi High Court granted divorce to a mutually estranged couple sans the 6-month cool-off period observing, “However, keeping them tied to a legal bond would only mean snatching away from them the opportunity ever to lead a fulfilling life.”

Adultery is not a Criminal Offence

Adultery is still a valid ground for divorce according to the Indian Divorce Act 1869. However, it is no longer a punishable criminal offense. The law has evolved since ancient times to recognize that adultery is an immoral choice, not a sin, and hence has stopped penalizing adulterous partners.

Only Civil Courts Can Grant a Divorce

This is a great step to stop illogical divorces across the country. No personal or religious law is now able to govern divorce in our country. Only a civil court has the jurisdiction to dissolve a marriage or declare its nullity.

Also Read:- The High Rate Of Divorce In India And Its Effect On Society 


Whether you are a Christian whose divorce laws fall under the Indian Divorce Act or belonging to any other religion governed by the various other divorce laws, like the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 or the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act of 1939, breaking the bond of marriage is usually hard for anyone. To minimize the hassle of legal proceedings and court hearings, you should hire the best lawyer in Chandigarh, if you live in that area. That is where a firm like Lex Solutions can be a lifesaver, as they have the best legal professionals on their team.


1.Can divorced parties be married again?

Yes. Divorced parties under the Indian Divorce Act of 1869 can remarry after their divorce has been granted or has not been appealed against in higher courts within the stipulated time.

2. What is section 58 of the Indian Divorce Act?

Section 58 of the Indian Divorce Act 1869 states that no clergy is compelled to marry any person who has been divorced before due to his/her adulterous act. That means they can choose whether or not to remarry an adulterer of their own volition.

3.Is there a provision for the custody of children in the Indian Divorce Act?

Yes. The Indian Divorce Act details procedures for the custody of children too.

4.Was there an amendment to the Indian Divorce Act?

Yes. This act was amended by the Indian Divorce (Amendment) Act, 2001.

5.How can I get in touch with Lex Solutions?

You can get in touch with Lex Solution by either fixing an appointment through their website or calling 9956849634.