“In India, married couples seeking divorce have two main options – mutual consent divorce or contested divorce. Of the two, a mutual consent divorce is usually considered the best option for an amicable split without excessive conflict.
A mutual consent divorce is when both spouses agree to end the marriage. According to the Hindu Marriage Act, the couple needs to have been living separately for at least a year before filing for mutual consent divorce. This waiting period gives them time to reflect on their decision.
The key benefit of mutual consent divorce is that the terms – child custody, alimony, property division – can be decided by the husband and wife themselves. This allows them to part ways peacefully and maintain civility, especially if they have children. There is no mud-slinging or accusations involved since the divorce is on mutual terms.
The legal process for mutual consent divorce involves filing a joint petition with the court and recording sworn testimonies regarding consent. The court grants a 6 month cooling off period for reconciliation before the second motion can be filed to make the divorce official. The entire process is relatively quick, transparent and amicable when both parties are cooperative.
In contrast, a contested divorce is sought by one spouse without the other’s consent. The grounds for contested divorce include adultery, cruelty, desertion, mental illness etc. The accusing spouse has to provide substantial evidence to prove these charges against their partner in court.
Contested divorces can turn bitter, with egos clashing and private matters dragged into public courtrooms. Legal costs for contested divorce are higher since extensive evidence gathering and contesting is involved. Wealthier spouses often have an advantage in contested cases. Custody battles over children can be traumatic for the entire family.
While every divorce case has unique circumstances, mutual consent divorces are usually considered preferable in India unless one spouse is entirely at fault. Not every marital issue needs to be dredged up in an ugly court fight. Opting for mutual consent divorce allows couples to part with dignity, save time and money, and protect their children’s interests.