SC empowers judges to untie marital knots before 6 months cooling period


The Supreme Court of India has rested the power on individual judges to decide if a mandatory six-month waiting period can be waived for couples who file for a divorce petition under mutual consent.

Supreme Court

As per the current Hindu Marriage Act, after filing a divorce petition, a couple has to wait for 18 months to actually get the divorce. Of which 12 months of separation have to be established, followed by a six-month “cooling off” period that is required for reconciliation.

“Though every effort has to be made to save a marriage, if there are no chances of reunion and there are chances of fresh rehabilitation, the court should not be powerless in enabling the parties to have a better option,” the Supreme Court said.

The top court also added that the six-month waiver must apply where the couple has to settle differences including alimony and child custody. The current verdict has come in response to a Delhi couple’s petition, who insisted for the six-month waiting period to be waived off, because they had been living separately for eight years and were confident that they would not reconcile.

How and whom does this apply to?

1. New rule affects couples seeking divorce through mutual consent only

2. 6-month waiting period after one year of separation not mandatory (necessary to establish 12 months of separation)

3. Judges can decide respectively whether to waive off the 6 months cooling off period after divorce petition has been filed with mutual consent

4. The same will not be applicable for contested divorce petitions

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