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Empowering Women: Property Rights of a Wife After Divorce in India

Blox Social
Posted on
Sep 23, 2023

To empower women and give them an equitable share of marital assets, India’s legal system underwent significant reform in recent years with regard to the property rights of a wife after divorce. Understanding the nuances of wives’ property rights after divorce is crucial to ensuring a fair and just decision. The legal conditions and considerations that govern a wife’s property rights in India after a divorce are examined in this article.

Marital Property vs. Streedhan

One of the key distinctions between property rights is the difference between what is deemed separate property and what is marital property. The couple’s marital property includes investments, real estate, and other goods. The gifts, items, or resources a woman accumulates during her marriage that are solely hers are referred to as “streedhan.” Women must establish a distinction between these two categories while pursuing their fair share after divorce.

The Hindu Succession Act, 1956

The Hindu Succession Act has important implications for the property rights of the wife after divorce. This law provides that a wife shall have an equal right to her husband’s property, including his share of any joint family property. She is still eligible to collect her fair share of the marital assets in the event of divorce, ensuring her financial security.

The Domestic Violence Act, 2005

Despite whether or not she owns the property, the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act upholds a woman’s right to live in her married home or a shared household. The purpose of this regulation is to serve as a safety net, guaranteeing that even after a divorce, a wife’s right to refuge will be upheld.

The Special Marriage Act, 1954

The Special Marriage Act is applicable when one or both partners do not wish their legal status to be governed by personal laws, such as in interfaith marriages and other unions. This law ensures an equitable distribution of the assets earned throughout the marriage by providing equal rights to both spouses in the event of divorce.

Section 18 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act

According to the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act 1956, Hindu wives and widows are entitled to receive maintenance from their husband’s share in the joint family property throughout their entire lifetime. Section 18 of the Act outlines the circumstances in which a wife may elect to reside separately and still be eligible to claim maintenance. This provision acknowledges the significance of ensuring that women receive financial support, even during marital separation or the loss of a spouse. Some of the conditions covered in this Act are abandonment, remarriage without divorcing the first wife, domestic violence and adultery. The Act also covers the condition of the husband being unable to pay financial support to the wife. In such a case, the wife can claim financial support from her father-in-law. The two exceptions of this Act are:

  • Proof of wife’s adultery is presented to the court.
  • The husband and wife are living separately with mutual consent.
  • The wife refuses to live with her husband without a justifiable reason.

Maintenance and Alimony

Even though they are not directly related to property rights, alimony and maintenance make up a sizable portion of the divorce process’s financial costs. A wife can request maintenance from her ex-husband to maintain herself, especially if she needs financial assistance.

Ancestral Property Rights of the Wife After Divorce

Generally, wives are not entitled to receive a part in the ancestral property unless deemed so in a will. However, any existing children between the divorcing couple can claim a share in the ancestral property. Also, there may be cases where the ancestral property is no longer a joint property held by all coparceners. In such cases, the divided property will be considered the husband’s separate property. 

Customary and Personal Laws

Along with the aforementioned deeds, conventions and individual laws may also impact property rights after divorce, particularly in communities with their own set of laws and customs. Women must be aware of the specific laws that pertain to their particular socioeconomic status or religious beliefs.

Legal Recourse and Expert Counsel

Navigating the intricate and often complicated domain of divorce and property rights can be daunting. It’s essential to seek the guidance of legal experts with extensive family law knowledge. With the assistance of a skilled attorney, a wife’s rights can be safeguarded and maintained throughout the legal process.


Giving women post-divorce property rights is essential to creating gender equality and financial independence in India. A wife’s chances of obtaining her just share of the marital estate might be greatly increased by being knowledgeable of the legal landscape and seeking legal counsel. Utilising the provisions outlined in several pieces of legislation would allow women to establish their property rights and begin the journey towards independence and empowerment.

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