Husband wins dogs in bitter divorce row

Divorce|January 10th 2017

A childless couple in the Indian city of Ahmedabad argued bitterly over custody of their dogs when they divorced, The Times of India reports.

The man and wife, who lived in the suburb of Vastrapur, had been married since 2003. Problems in their relationship began around 2010 and the marriage eventually broke down five years later. The couple separated, with the wife accusing her husband of beating her and of marital cruelty. Family members intervened, in a way that perhaps wouldn’t occur in Western societies, persuading the couple to formally divorce, provided he agreed to pay spousal maintenance and she agreed to drop the Police complaint.

They filed for divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act. As the name suggests, this legislation applies to the Hindu majority in India. Other religious communities have separate legislation.

The estranged husband and wife certified that they had agreed to separate and waited the six months specified in the Act. But when this period was completed the divorce stalled because the husband refused to consent unless he was given custody of the couple’s two dogs. These had been taken by the wife when she moved out. She refused to hand them over and the divorce proceedings dully stalled.

The stalemate continued for almost a year. Finally, the wife announced that she wanted to revive her earlier Police complaint because the husband had not stuck to their agreement.

Losing patience with the truculent spouses, judges at the High Court of Gujarat insisted the couple resolve the deadlock and complete their divorce.

The reluctant wife backed down, brought the dogs into court, handed them over to her soon-to-be-ex-husband, and was finally granted the divorce she sought.

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