How much alimony will I need to pay if I divorce my wife?

Section 25 in The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 talks about permanent alimony and maintenance wherein it says that any court exercising jurisdiction under this Act may, at the time of passing any decree or at any time subsequent thereto, on application made to it for the purpose by the wife order that the respondent shall pay to the applicant for her or his maintenance.

The quantum of maintenance depends and defers according to the various factors that have been described in the Section 25 which enables the court to ask the party to support such gross sum or such monthly or periodical sum for a term not exceeding the life of the applicant as, having regard to the respondent’s own income and other property, if any.

However, the court should also take the income and other property of the applicant, the conduct of the parties and other circumstances of the case, into consideration. At the same time it may seem to the court to be just, and any such payment may be secured, if necessary, by a charge on the immovable property of the respondent.

Generally, the following points are taken into consideration by the courts in India before determining the maintenance:

  • Status of the parties and reasonable wants of the claimant as well as her independent income and property.
  • The number of persons, the non-applicant has to maintain the way she has been maintaining so far. This is a major point which determines the quantum of maintenance.
  • Provisions for food, clothing, shelter, education, medical attendance and treatment, etc. of the wife
  • Payment capacity and liabilities of the husband;
  • When no concrete evidence or estimates of the earning of the husband, the court may get a lump sum amount for wife;
  • The non-applicant to defray the cost of litigation and any amount awarded U/s. 125 Cr.PC. is adjustable against the amount awarded under Section 24 of the Act.

Thus, generally, the total amount of maintenance comes around 1/2 to 3/4th income of the husband.

However, the Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act also says that if the court is satisfied that there is a change in the circumstances of either party at any time after it has made an order under sub-section (1), it may at the instance of either party, vary, modify or rescind any such order in such manner as the court may deem just.