Maintenance and Alimony

Maintenance and Alimony: How-to Guide on Conditions, Procedure and Laws in India

Indian Law provides right to claim maintenance, whether the divorce is filed or not, and whether the divorce proceedings have started or not. The following sections provide information about the maintenance in case of Hindu Marriage:

  • Section 125 Cr.P.C. (Criminal Procedure Code)
  • Section 20 of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence
  • Section 18 of Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act
  • Section 24 and 25 oif Hindu Marriage Act

Its objective is to provide means and provisions for the spouse with lesser means, although it is mostly the man who is asked to give maintenance in the cases and seldom are men found to be financial beneficiaries in such a case. Whether a man or woman, we help both in maintenance cases, as the judiciary is generally tilted towards women in such cases.


In competition matters, the court gets involved and makes your mind up the issue of alimony/maintenance on the intrinsic worth of each case. The power of the court to grant alimony is not some degree of to cases where the pronouncement is obtained by the wife. Courts have supremacy to grant alimony to the wife even where the husband is granted a announcement. It is quite probable there may be no alimony/maintenance awarded at all depending upon the facts and situation of the case. Assessment of the quantity of permanent alimony is entirely the court’s discretion.

Working women get maintenance/alimony after a divorce in India

The concept behind such recognition is that a wife is deprived of many comforts after she leaves the matrimonial home. The monetary comfort from her husband gives her some solace. She might be living in her parental house but even then she has to incur some expenses. She does not get that support which she would have got in case she had been residing in the matrimonial home. It is the duty of the husband to maintain his wife and it has to be put on a higher pedestal. Even if the wife is employed, she is entitled for the status and standard of living.

Leading Case Law: Mohd. Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum

In this popular case, the lower court granted Ms. Shah Bano Begum’s claim for maintenance, which was set at 179 rupees per month by the High Court in a revision application. Mr. Mohd. Ahmed Khan appealed to the Supreme Court in 1985 and the Court held that a payment made pursuant to personal laws cannot absolve a husband of his obligation to pay fair and reasonable maintenance under Section 125 Cr.P.C, 1973 and a husband can be liable to pay maintenance beyond the iddat period.

FAQ on Maintenance and Alimony

Can men ask for alimony?

Yes. The burden to provide alimony can fall on either the man or the woman and the law does not make it exclusively a woman’s right to seek alimony in the event of a divorce.

What do I do if I want alimony?

The issue of alimony payments becomes a part of the divorce proceedings and is usually decided by the courts as to whether or not a person would receive alimony. It is a right of a person to seek alimony, however it is not absolute and the court may not grant the same. The amount and duration for payment of alimony is decided on the basis of various factors:

  • economic conditions of both partners
  • age of the partners
  • length of the marriage
  • health of the partners
What if I don’t ask for the alimony but decide later that I need it?

A request for alimony must be done during the proceeding of divorce and cannot be done later. The court can however modify the amount of alimony to be paid or the duration for which it is paid (section 25(2) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955) in case there is a change in the circumstances of either party.

What is alimony?

It is the maintenance allowance that either the husband or the wife pays to the other in order to support the other in the event of separation or divorce.