The ability to earn money does not mean a divorced wife has no right to maintenance payments from her ex-husband, the High Court of Mumbai has declared.
Justices there were considering the case of an architect living in the Indian metropolis, who wanted to divorce her husband, who lives in Sweden with their two children.
She approached the local family court in Mumbai suburb Bandra, seeking care of their two children and both spousal and child maintenance. The Judge granted her custody of the children despite the fact that they lived with their father, The Hindustan Times reports, but rejected her application for maintenance and did not approve the divorce application.
She then took her case to the High Court. The couple told the Justices that they had mutually agreed on the divorce but while the Justices approved this, they reversed the lower court’s decision to give the mother primary care of the couple’s children.
The husband, meanwhile, opposed her application for spousal maintenance, stressing that she was a qualified architect and had worked for four years before they married. This meant she was capable of earning her own money and supporting herself, he argued.
But the High Court was unconvinced. The wife had not worked since the couple married, having stayed at home to look after the children and so currently, at least, she had no independent income. She was therefore entitled to maintenance, they ruled.
Justices Abhay Oka and Anuja Prabhudessai explained:
“Just because the woman is an architect, this does not mean she is disentitled to seek maintenance.”
The wife was awarded 35,000 rupees (£412) per month.
Photo of Bandra, Mumbai, by Ghariprasada90 via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence