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Short marriage, small alimony

A wife of two and a half months wanted her separated husband to bear the expenses of her higher education in the US. The Bombay high court said no.

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A wife of two and a half months wanted her separated husband to bear the expenses of her higher education in the US. The Bombay high court said no.

The court refused to enhance the interim maintenance for the
woman, a Pune-based dentist.

At the same time, the high court rejected the request of her husband to reduce the monthly maintenance amount of Rs12,000. The husband, who works for IBM, lives in Boston.

“The wife may not be entitled to claim interim maintenance based upon an arithmetical calculation alone,” justice Roshan Dalvi said.

Tina and Nitin (names changed) got married on May 5, 2007 and after staying together in Boston for two and a half months, Tina returned to her Pune home. Nitin contended that despite several attempts to call Tina back to Boston, she refused to return.

In August 2007, she came to India, as her grandmother was unwell, and stayed on even after the latter passed away. In September 2008, Nitin filed a divorce petition and the family court granted an interim maintenance of Rs12,000 to Tina as per the Hindu Marriage Act 1955.

Nitin stated that the maintenance amount was too high as he earned only Rs73,620 after tax deductions. His advocate Geeta Mulekar told the court that Tina had not stated that she was a dentist and had her own practice.

Tina has claimed the maintenance of Rs2.5 lakh a month. “Because of the attitude of the respondent [Nitin], she is being deprived of higher studies,” Mulekar said, adding that because of Nitin’s assurances she had enrolled in Simmons Woman College in Boston to pursue MBA.

The validity of the assurance will have to be examined by the trial court at the time of granting divorce, justice Roshan Dalvi said. The court will have to consider whether educational expenses can be covered under maintenance.

“Only the evidence would determine whether the wife would be entitled to pursue her studies in the US,” the judge said.

Refusing to enhance the maintenance amount, justice Dalvi observed: “She [Tina] would not be entitled to half or even almost half of the net salary of the husband because of her extremely short marriage.”
 

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