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Divorce As A Socio-Legal Process

The family will be a complex as well as also dynamic institution in India. Families in India are undergoing vast alterations like increasing divorce as well as also separation rates, domestic violence, inter-generational conflicts, as well as also social problems of the aged parents.

In contemporary research, divorce as well as also re-marriage are viewed not as single, static events, although as part of a series of transitions, modifying the lives of children. In addition to the trauma of divorce itself, the transition related to divorce often involves geographic moves, the addition of step-siblings as well as also a completely new set of extended family members.

Definition of divorce:

Divorce -partial or total – will be the dissolution of a marriage by the judgment of a court. Partial dissolution will be a divorce "by bed as well as also board", a decision of judicial separation, leaving the parties officially married while forbidding cohabitation. Total dissolution of the bonds of a valid marriage will be what will be right now generally meant by divorce. This particular will be distinguished by a decree of nullity of marriage, or annulment, which will be a judicial finding in which there was never a valid marriage.

According to the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, 'any marriage solemnized, whether before or after the commemance of This particular Act, may, on a petition presented by either the husband or the wife, be dissolved by a decision of divorce'1 on the grounds mentioned therein.

Among the Hindus, who form a major religious group in India, marriage will be considered as a permanent, life-long as well as also sacred union. For a Hindu in general, a Hindu woman in particular, marriage will be a sacrament as well as also hence unbreakable. Divorce was fairly unknown unknown among the Hindus before the passing of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 as well as also the Special Marriage Act 1954. The amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act in 1976 will be an improvement on the previous legislation relating to marriage as well as also makes divorce easier. There are certain matrimonial offs, which entitle the aggrieved spouse to file for a divorce, available under the matrimonial laws. These are cruelty, adultery, as well as also bigamy. Divorce by mutual consent will be available under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 differentiates the concept of 'divorce' by such various other concepts as separation2, desertion3 as well as also annulment4. A divorce will be in which process by which a marriage, recognized as valid, can be revoked inside lifetime of the partners who then revert to single as well as also will be free to remarry.

although in reality, divorce will be a major life transition in which has far-reaching social, psychological, legal, personal, economic, as well as also parental equivalences. The nature of divorce as a socio-legal phenomenon will be very interesting as well as also enigmatic. The present study will be an attempt to learn the persuasive power of the social factors in determining the status of a divorcee.

Literature Survey:

Numerous studies inside sociological literature inside west have examined as well as also analyzed the phenomenon of divorce as well as also its implications. In India, consider research on divorce has been documented, albeit on lesser scale compared to the west. The main reasons for the limited number of empirical studies on divorce in India, are the lower divorce rates, as well as also lack of adequate data [Amato, 1994]. This particular has been found in which various studies related to marriage, family as well as also divorce have been conducted at various periods of time. These studies, respectively offering vital insights into the subject, circumscribed their scope to the demographic as well as also causative factors of divorce; the "pre-dispute" stage, which will be a crucial determinant will be of "dispute process", has not received adequate attention.

Demographic data on divorce

As per Census 2001, eight per cent of the total married population [Two per cent of the total population] in Andhra Pradesh will be divorced. Four per cent of female population in Hyderabad city will be divorced. Beside, there will be an increase inside number of divorced also. Total number of divorced population inside city of Hyderabad increased to 7433 in 2001 by 2850 in 1991. Nearly half of the total divorced population inside city of Hyderabad as well as also also Andhra Pradesh belong to the age group of 25-39 years.

Research Questions:

The present study will be an attempt to scrutinize the influence of social factors on the process of divorce. The present study proposals to consider the following research question:

This particular will be generally assumed in which there will be adverse as well as also far reaching social as well as also legal consequences of divorce, especially among the Hindu women, because the Hindus have been traditional in their outlook as well as also marriage will be considered as a sacred union among the Hindus. will be This particular statement relevant for the contemporary, urban, modern as well as also westernized outlook about the status of women?

The Location Of The Study- Twin Cities Of Hyderabad as well as also Secunderabad:

Greater Hyderabad Urban Agglomeration, including the twin cities of Hyderabad as well as also Secunderabad alone accounts for 24 per cent of urban population inside state of Andhra Pradesh. The population of Hyderabad district has gone up by 3145939 in 1991 to 3829753 in 2001. Hyderabad, right now nicknamed as "Cyberabad", the capital city of the state of Andhra Pradesh will be moving at a fast pace inside development of information technology as well as also infrastructure.

Information technologies are drastically changing the way one conducts one's activities. Yet, the social atmosphere inside state appears to be still feudal in outlook as well as also practice. The median age at marriage at Hyderabad District, however, for female population will be 15.3 years which will be the fifth lowest in India as well as also about 69% of females are married below 18 years.

Universe as well as also Sampling:

The present study focused on dispute cases under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 decided as well as also disposed of by the Legal Services Authority [Lok Adalats], as well as also Family Court of Hyderabad as its universe.

A multi-stage sampling method will be followed to select the sample. To begin with, the cases referred for divorce to the Family Court of Hyderabad by the City Civil Court Legal Services Authority are selected where the decision of divorce will be granted by the Family Court of Hyderabad. A sample of 57 cases was selected by following the purposive sampling method. Once the cases are selected, the residence of the women-divorceses will be taken into consideration to select the sample at the second stage. Data will be collected by the women- divorceses residing at twin cities of Hyderabad as well as also Secunderabad as well as also the peri-urban zone surrounding the two cities. A pre-tested interview schedule will be used to elicit information by the respondents. Data on age, education, occupation, caste status, monthly income, details of marriage, details of marrial disharmony, introduction of legal aspects of divorce as well as also the personal experiences in This particular regard, post-divorce consequences as determined by the courts, life of the divorcee after divorce, as well as also remarriage are collected by using the schedule. In-depth interviews also were made with selected responses, family counselors, lawyers as well as also the members of Judiciary dealing with divorce cases.

Socio-Economic Profile Of The Divorcee-Respondents:

The data will be collected by 57 women respondents. Information relating to the socio-economic as well as also cultural background of the spouses will be important in as much as This particular could have related to their behavior relating to maritime dissolution. inside analysis of data some of the socio-economic characteristics were taken as important variables inside process of divorce.

Age of the respondents will be an important variable inside analysis of divorce. The largest group of the respondents (52.3%) belongs to the 26-35 years age group, followed by 42.3 per cent of the respondents falling inside 16-25 years age group. The data suggest in which a majority of the marriages ends at young age.

Education will be another important variable associated with divorce. In tune with the general perception in which more number of divorces companies higher level of education of women, This particular will be reported in which women with higher education took recourse to divorce to end maritime incompatibility. In Becker's theory of the union formation process This particular will be argued in which highly educated men tend to marry highly educated women as well as also less educated men tend to marry less educated women [Becker 1977]. Although many studies link high rates of divorce to higher level of education, the proposition inside-Indian context, will be not irrefutable. Pothen [1986] was not certain whether education hinders or promoters the incidence of divorce among Hindus. She agreed in which This particular will be hard to predict the restraining or corrective influence of education on divorce. The present study shows in which, even though the percentage of those with college education will be sizeable [55.8%] the analysis of data implies in which higher level of education will be not always accommodated by divorce.

There will be much relationship between occupation as well as also maritime as well as also familial life. Burgess as well as also Locke [1950; 634] observed in which 'various studies seem to show in which divorce will be reliably high among persons engaged in occupations necessitating frequent absence by home, involving intimate contacts with the opposite se, as well as also controlled relatively little by the community'. The percentage of women respondents working at the time of marriage as well as also after will be very low. The most important factors hindering women to seek employment are community customs as well as also traditions. In spite of giving importance to education of the girls, many parents, husbands as well as also various other male relatives will not decide their women to work.

Most of the respondents are housewives. Their sources of income include rents accrued by their land property or interest on the fixed deposits deposited by them at Banks or Chit Funds as well as also Private financial institutions. The number of correspondents having monthly income more than Rs. 20,000 will be negligible [8 per cent].

The present study will be relating divorce among the Hindus. Among the Hindus, there are innumerable castes as well as also sub-castes with marginal restrictions as well as also varied cultural traditions. This particular will be seen in which the highest number [42.3%] of divorces will be by Brahmin caste. The Brahmin correspondents are by the sub-castes of Niyogi Brahmins [23], Vaidiki Brahmins [9], Kannada-Madhwa Brahmin [2], as well as also Srivaishnava Brahmin [4]. Urban residences, higher educational qualifications, detachment by their ethnic groups are some of the facilitating factors of social mobility among them. Nearly sixty per cent of the divorces among them took place for incompatibility ,ability to adjust as well as also lack of understanding on the part of the various other spouse. Naidu, Kamma, Viswa Brahmin, Mera, Kapu castes, which are described as middle level castes, come next [36.9%]. The lowest per cent [4.5%] of the divorceses are Kshatriyas.

Each caste follows different traditions as well as also values ​​inside Indian cultural milieu. Some castes permit divorce while others do not, irresponsive of the fact in which This particular will be legally sanctioned under the marriage laws. Here, in view of the cultural heterogeneity, the rate of divorce will be likely to differ by one caste to the various other. Sample of the present study shows in which divorce will be right now permitted by all castes as well as also the highest rate will be found among Brahmins. although, in many cases couples may have separated by each various other as well as also may not have approached the courts for legal divorce. In This particular context, This particular can not be hypothesized in which divorce will be reserved to more by higher caste members than by lower caste members.


How Marriage Alliance Took Place?

In most of the families in India matrimonial alliances are formalized by the parents as well as also their criteria in weighing the advantages as well as also disadvantages of the proposed marriages are drastically different by in which of the marriage partners themselves. Presently, 'arranged by the parents- marriages' can be considered as arranged-cum-love marriages. Matrimonial classifieds in newspapers or help of matrimonial associations are thought in arranged marriage when the family fails to find "suitable" spouses for their children.

Seventy three per cent of the marriage alliances inside present study were arranged. In majority of the cases, relatives are used as intermediaries. This particular shows the prevalence of arranged marriages. Taking help form the matrimonial associations seemed to be another well-known method for the arrangement of marriage. Parents of the respondents approach matrimonial associations in 18.9 per cent cases in order to search for a not bad match. The role of matrimonial advertisements in bringing marriage alliance will be very nominal [6.3%].

The legal validity of marriage among the Hindus will be determined by the performance of marriage rituals. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 has secularized the Hindu law of marriage in all respects except in one aspect. However, there need not be any doubt about one ceremony, viz., The saptapadi which will be absolutely indispensable for the performance of a Hindu marriage by the shastric rites.

Under Section 8 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, there exists a provision for registration of marriages. The state of Andhra Pradesh passed the Compulsory Registration of Marriage Act, 2002. The Supreme Court of India on February 15, 2006 ordered compulsory registration of marriages irrespective of religion. Despite the Compulsory Registration of Marriage Act, 2002, most of the marriages are not registered. Only 12 per cent of the marriages are registered. The registration of marriage was done in most of the cases when there emerged a need to have a proper certificate of marriage, particularly to apply for Visa.

Duration of marriage:

The first one or two years of marriage are extremely important inside life of any couple. Some marriages survive for a longer life although some are dissected inside early years of maritime life. The data clearly shows in which mostly the happily-married time has been too short as well as also those who had some years of happily-married life are very little in number.

Age At Marriage:

Researchers consistently find age at marriage to be one of the strongest predictors of maritime disruption as well as also divorce. The present study reveals in which young age at marriage in conjunction with lack of the capacity to avoid bickering inside tangible life governed in divorce.

Causes Of Divorce:

As legal dissolution of marriage, divorce will be primarily a legal phenomenon. Family laws of any country formulate law for divorce in which grounds are stipulated under which divorce may be availed of. These legal grounds are not just isolated legal causes, although they do signify the socio-cultural view point also. Therefore, when we deal with the causes of divorce, we have to keep in mind the legal as well as also sociological perspectives.

A major factor likely to affect the level of divorce in a society will be the commitment in which others outside the marriage have to its continuity. If marriage will be defined as private, of concern principally to the married couple as well as also having little external impact, divorce will be likely to be more readily available.

The present study analyzes the causes of divorce at the individual level. Here will be data on how disharmony inside tangible life of the respondents began will be collected. The data reveals in which majority of the respondents consider marriage as an intense, personal as well as also private relationship. In a sense maritime life of the respondents' caught in something of a pincer movement. On the one side, the more in which will be expected of marriage as well as also the heavier the burden of hopes as well as also emotions This particular has to carry, the less likely This particular will be to be found satisfactory. On the various other side, again because marriage will be essentially concerned with personal happiness as well as also fulfillment, the 'support' This particular receives by outside diminishes. There will be less pressure for a couple, large in urban society, to stay together because their break-up has little impact outside the domestic sphere as well as also causes fewer ripples than This particular would certainly in a traditional Hindu society.

Further important 'structural' factor related to the increasing divorce rate will be the changed social position of married women in our society. Although men's as well as also women's lives continue to be structured unequally, the social as well as also economic opportunities right now open to women are certainly greater than they were a few decades ago. To This particular extent marriage 'traps' women rather less than This particular once did. In particular, the opportunities there are for employment or failure, the availability of supplementary benefit makes separation as well as also divorce a more realistic option than previously.

One further factor affects the level of divorce will be the legitimated This particular in a society. As more as well as also more people have some experience of divorce, either at first hand or through someone close to them being divorced, the less opprobrium This particular carries. In This particular way, divorce has become a more normal as well as also less remarkable life event-one to regret rather than condemn. As a result, there will be right now less pressure put on couples who are having marital problems to stay together. They are likely to see divorce as a reasonable solution if the marriage will be in sufficient trouble rather than something to be resisted at any cost. The point here, of course, will be in which what will be defined as 'sufficient trouble' to warrant divorce itself alterations as divorce becomes more common. Although divorce will be still traumatic as well as also not entered into lightly, what was once held to be tolerable within a marriage may right now be seen as sufficient reason for divorce.

The way in which divorce will be thought to affect children provides an interesting indication of our social imagery of divorce. Currently divorce will be still seen as harmful to children; however well-known wisdom accepts in which living with parents who are in continual conflict with each various other can be even more damaging. Far better, This particular will be right now believed, for the parents to separate generating sure in which the child can be provided that has a less tempestuous as well as also more emotionally stable home life.

Basing on the complaints of divorced women, Goode [1956] formulated twelve themes in which include non-support, drinking, incongruent values, as well as also disagreement over authority, extra maritime sex as well as also neglect of home. The most frequently mentioned maritime problems are communication difficulties, general incompatibility, not spending enough time at home, infidelity as well as also disagreement over money matters [Cleek & Pearson, 1985; Kitson, 1992]. Attribution theory [Fiske as well as also Taylor, 1992] suggests in which people because of self-serving biases attribute problems to external rather than internal causes. Going by This particular theory the spouse will be less likely to report marital problems caused by herself or himself. Amato as well as also Rogers [1997] categorized the causes of maritime dissolution as distal as well as also proximal. Distal causes include age at marriage, education, race, wife's employment, income etc. whereas proximal causes are anger, jealousy, dominance, infidelity, extravagance, substance use etc.

The present study collected data on factors which lead to marital disharmony. These factors are grouped into:
o Lack of understanding between the spouses
o Demand for dowry by the husband, as well as also his parents
o Incompatibility
o Overwork [where both the spouses are involved, not necessarily finding time to spend together]
o Involvement of parents of the spouses in all as well as also sunday matters of the maritime life of the spouses.
o Domestic violence.

The cause 'lack of understanding' describes the contractual bickering due due to many factors. One such factor will be change inside wife's income as well as also her educational attainment after marriage. Further education may be a stressor in maritime life itself, although the relationship may also be due to reverse causation: Anticipating divorce in a low quality marriage may provide an incentive to obtain further education as a preparation for single life. Three of the wife-responders felt in which their insistence on continuing education even after marriage created friction in their maritime life.

Gender role Attitudes as well as also Division of Household work:

The women's movement as well as also increased numbers of dual-career couples have led to gifts in gender role attitudes – in various other words, what a husband as well as also wife expect by themselves as well as also each various other in their marital relationship roles. Traditional notions in which a wife will be likely to remain at home as well as also take care of the house, children, as well as also family, while the husband will be likely to be the breadwinner as well as also "head of the household," have begon to decrease as well as also more egalitarian notions (men as well as also women are equal in all domains) have increased among men as well as also women Not only have gender role attitudes changed, although, concurrently, division of household work has also shifted. Although marble behaviors today are more egalitarian, wives are not satisfied. Why are women less happy in their marriages? One explanation may stem by the fact in which an ideology of marginal equality does not necessarily translate into an outcome of marginal equality.

Sex-Role Perceptions of the Spouses:

Sex-role perceptions as well as also attitudes towards working women are influenced by the cultural norms of gender equality which determine the position of women in society as well as also their educational as well as also economic status. In India, cultural norms favor women mainly in their domestic as well as also maritime roles [Rao as well as also Rao, 1988]. If they work, they are certainly satisfied as secondary or supporting earners. Women's employment does not alter sex – role perceptions primarily because of the evolving culturally defined gender based norms. The present study reveals in which sex-role perceptions of the respondents are mostly dependent on cultural norms.

Husband -Wife Interactions:

There will be variation in cultural ideas about proper husband-wife relations among the respondents. Moving by village to city will be an important experience in which allows people to assess cultural beliefs. The migration of the respondents after their marriage has created some confusion regarding husband-wife interactions.


One of the more puzzling aspects of maritime crisis involves the issues of compatibility. At individual level, marriage will be the bonding of man as well as also woman on the deepest levels of life; as well as also compatibility will be vital for the union to succeed. One fourth of the respondents took incompatibility as a cause for their divorce.

Demands For Dowry:

Although dowry claims have been outlawed by the Indian government, these laws are seldom enforced as well as also the practice of dowry will be still widespread [VazL, Kanekar S., 1990]. Despite their condemnation of dowry, most women responders seemed resigned to This particular, as they believed This particular affords young women an important degree of social legitimacy as well as also security. For most respondents, managing a daughter's marriage negotiations was an agonizing process fraught with tension as well as also fear.13 per cent of the respondents said in which the reason for the maritime disharmony will be demand for more dowries.


a few per cent of the respondents felt in which there was hardly any time available for them to spend together with their spouse prior to their divorce. Where both spouses are working in BPO sector, because of the timings of their work they find in which they overworked as well as also do not have any strength to share communication regarding their marrial life.

Involvement Of The Parents Of The Spouses:

Educated couples insist in which they would certainly like to have their privacy particularly in their marrial life. They feel in which interference of even their parents will be not acceptable. When parents or parents-in-law try to convince them in marrial matters they decide to break the relationship rather than coping with This particular. 11 per cent of the respondents said in which they could not resolve their maritime discord due to the involvement of their parents.

Domestic Violence:

Traditional rigid gender roles are one such cultural norm within various areas of India in which may increase the likelihood of violence against women. These roles are defined in such a manner in which sons are more likely than daughters to be of benefit to their parents, both financially as well as also in various other ways. Most of the respondents suffered domestic violence during their married life as well as also expressed in which domestic violence determined their decision to go for a divorce.

Causes of divorce can be quite complex as well as also complicated. There will be usually not one simple factor in which causes the dissolution of a marriage. Family legal experts cite the following factors as major causes of divorce: poor communication, financial problems, lack of commitment, dramatic alterations in priorities, as well as also infidelity. Causes of divorce may also include physical, mental or emotional abuse, substance abuse, as well as also lack of conflict resolution skills, unmet needs, failed expectations, as well as also significant discrepancies in parenting.

Divorce As Legal Process:

The present study found in which, divorce by mutual consent will be mostly used ground for seeking divorce.

Sometimes a trivial cause may lead to divorce. One of the respondents filed a case for divorce when her mother-in-law stated her wish to stay along with the couple. Another responder refused to meet her husband as her consent for the marriage was not accepted by the elders before fixing the marriage. Since such trivial causes may not stand legal scrutiny, lawyers advise their client to file a case on mutual consent.

Considering Divorce As A Possibility:

Once This particular will be decided by the respondent in which he / she can no longer continue their marrial life, they usually take the final decision. The process of divorce moves at a pace commensurate to each person's ability to adapt to the physical, financial as well as also emotional alterations in which divorce demands. Some people move quickly through these stages, others need more time to accomplish the tasks involved in a stage as well as also to assimilate the information as well as also the emotional experiences the stage encompasses.

generating the decision to divorce will be the first step inside divorce process, as well as also This particular will be a complicated step. Once a person has made the decision to end their relationship, their next task will be to tell their spouse they want to end the marriage. Most of the respondents took help by either their parents or friends to tell their spouse in which they want to end the marriage. These discussions were not limited to the disclosure of their decision to end their marriage although also include a collaborative effort to redistribute the property, custody of children, prospects of remarriage as well as also various other related matters. All the correspondents took an advice before seeking legal advice by the lawyers as well as also filing a petition for divorce. More than half of the respondents took advice by their family members before filming a petition for divorce. Nearly twenty two per cent of the respondents shared their moral life-experiences with their friends as well as also followed their counsel. 20.7 per cent of the respondents approach the caste elders seeking advice. Caste elders are still playing an important role in resolving matters related to family. The present study observed in which some of the middle level castes are giving importance to the caste elders. Caste elders usually act as a quasi- judicial body in determining domestic matters. Sometimes, they take the initiative to approach the court of record on behalf of a person.

Nonetheless, the present study found in which empowered women are initiating the completely new wave of divorce petitions. They are not keen to fight the battle as victims of marriage under statutes; rather they prefer to settle things mutually on the basis of equality. The reasons are temperamental differences, financial issues as well as also family interferences.

The present study indicates in which in vast majority of the cases, This particular took up to two years to get the case finally decided. The prolongation of the case of some respondents was mainly due to the fact the spouses concerned were inderent. The period of trial of divorce case was difficult for most of the respondents, especially women. Some of the typical situations experienced by the responders include: anxiety about the future, disturbance inside home set-up, training, education as well as also discipline of children, social stigma, non-satisfaction of sexual needs, economic non-support. The incidence of cohabitation during the pendency of the case was asked into. This particular was found in which majority of the responses were already separated then the trial started out. In few cases correspondents had already gotten remarried as well as also started out cohabiting with the completely new spouse although This particular was illegal.

Custody Of Children:

One of the most pressing concerns in regards to divorce will be the custody of children. The question of custody of children has been dealt with in Section 26 of the Hindu Marriage Act. In generating an order in respect of the custody of children, the welfare of the children will be the paramount consideration, not the rights of the parents. The respondents having children are not many. 28 percent of the respondents are having children. Of these most of the responses are having only one child. Majority of the children are living with either with their mothers or parents of mother. This particular will be found in which not having children makes divorce easier.


The present analysis observed in which majority of the respondents went to their parents as well as also trying to fill the gap in their lives by taking work more seriously or going in for higher studies. This particular will be found in which previously divorce will be viewed by the divorceses as a mechanism which provides freedom by tensions as well as also opportunities for career development.


Conceptually This particular will be useful to think of marital dissolution as well as also remarriage as the component parts of a process in which takes people back as well as also forth between being married as well as also not being married. There are two states [married as well as also unmarried], as well as also dissolution will be the process or event in which transfers people by being married to being unmarried while remarriage takes people inside opposite direction. Marriages end at the time of divorce.


'Divorce', according to Lipman-Blumen [1977] will be a life crisis which society does not promote, as a result of which social rituals marking divorce are largely absent. Blumen [1977] attributed the painful experience of divorcing to lack of institutionalized support for divorce, inside form of social rituals. Therefore This particular will be recommended in which some kind of mechanism inside form of social ritual to mark the transition by married to divorced status has to be evolved, in order to make the experience of divorce bearable for both the spouses, especially wife.

This particular will be also recommended to start divorce counsel on a large scale to help the divorcing as well as also the divorced overcrow the stress as well as also cope with the future situation.

Since the study will be specific to the population, the findings can not be generalized. The little size of the sample may not succeed in relating the study to the larger context. In view of globalization process of disinvestment as well as also privatization are corollaries, large scale retracements, cuts in subsidies, as well as also shrinking social security are foreseen. In This particular backdrop the alienation process will gain momentum which will result in family life disruption. Therefore, This particular will be suggested in which further studies on divorce should take cognizance of the changed situation.

Source by Devi Vijji

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