Updated: Feb 20, 2022
Written by: Akshaya Rayavarapu
Marriage and Family are considered to be the most sacred and significant institutions of Indian society. Marriage is considered the foundation of a stable family and civilized society. when two individuals are married to each other, they bring in different thoughts, opinions, different interests, and goals into their relationship. These interests, goals, and opinions will not be stable throughout their married life. They will change with time. At some point in time, the interests, thoughts, opinions, and goals of these two individuals do not match and they may become repulsive. And at this moment, suspicions and selfishness regarding their interests will grow wider and it may lead to a resentful attitude towards each other. And these suspicions and selfishness will grow to an extent where it may lead to disagreements among themselves which may finally lead to matrimonial disputes. The attitude of these two individuals towards each other, the disagreements among themselves, and their selfishness regarding their interests and goals may further lead to differences among each other, it may create hatred and it may also create hindrances in solving their disputes. When they become incapable of solving their disputes, it may further lead to separation from each other and divorce. Matrimonial disputes will be created in a process. These disputes not only occur because of the differences in their thoughts, opinions, and interests but it is a series of circumstances that will create high damage to their relationship and further lead them to divorce.
CAUSES OF MATRIMONIAL DISPUTES – CO-DEPENDENCY
Sometimes this can also be a cause that will lead to matrimonial disputes, where the couple depends too much upon each other. This may lead to an unhealthy relationship. When the circumstances are such that, you do not feel comfortable doing things with your partner being absent, or you have changed yourself so much that you forget your likes and dislikes that you used to have, you may feel so suffocated and you may feel like losing your identity. This may probably lead to a dispute and an unhealthy relationship.
When the thoughts of each other do not match or even if they do not comprise, it may lead to an unhealthy relationship. Relationships where one spends a lot of money and the other person saver of money, then their opinions clashes. When a husband says to his wife that she must only cook and clean and the wife does not agree with him, this may lead to a matrimonial dispute among them.
EXPECTATIONS BEING NOT MET
When there is already an ongoing dispute among a couple in their relationship, where one person is not happy with the actions and attitude of the other person and he/she expects that their partner should make significant changes in his/her actions and attitude to make their partner happy, but they do not do it, then it may lead to another dispute making their relationship unhealthy.
This is a well-known ground of matrimonial disputes and divorce. Often there are a lot of complaints from women regarding domestic violence. There are a lot of cases where women are being mistreated by their partners or in-laws in their relationships. They face physical, mental, verbal, and emotional abuse by their partners. This is the most important ground for divorce. To protect women from domestic violence, the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 was laid down. Section 2 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 defines that abusing someone physically, verbally, emotionally, economically, and sexually are punishable.
OFFENCES AGAINST THEIR MARRIAGE
When either of the party commits bigamy or adultery, is considered an offence against marriage and it may lead to a matrimonial dispute which will further lead to divorce. Bigamy is mentioned under section 494 of IPC. Section 494 of IPC defines bigamy as “whoever, having a husband or wife living, marries in any case in which such marriage is void because of it taking place during the life of such husband or wife, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine”. Bhaurao Shankar Lokhande & Anr. vs. State of Maharashtra & Anr., 1 February 1965, is one such case of bigamy, where the appellant Bhaurao Shankar Lokhande has been found guilty of bigamy and has been convicted under section 494 of IPC. And adultery is mentioned under Section 497 of IPC. Section 497 of IPC defines adultery as “whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has a reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent and connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine or with both. In such case, the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor”.
INABILITY IN RESOLVING CONFLICTS
When the couple has disagreements among themselves but they could not resolve them by themselves, this might increase the intensity of their dispute and finally lead to divorce. Whenever a fight happens between a couple in a relationship, they usually do not listen to either side and keeps on blaming each other. This is the reason why the inability to resolve conflicts is created in a relationship.
REMEDIES FOR MATRIMONIAL DISPUTES
When a matrimonial dispute arises between a couple, they approach family courts, as family courts are considered the most significant means to deliver justice. Here, they approach the court to adopt means, like, mediation and conciliation, etc. Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 has some matrimonial remedies mentioned to provide relief to the aggrieved party.
RESTITUTION OF CONJUGAL RIGHTS (SECTION 9)
When either of the spouses withdraws from their wedding without a reasonable excuse, then section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act says that the other spouse or the aggrieved party can apply for the restitution of conjugal rights. According to section 9, the court may not compel the other spouse to be in a marital relationship with the other spouse but it can ask for a justifiable reason as well as a remedy for the other spouse.
JUDICIAL SEPARATION (SECTION 10)
When the court suspends the rights and duties of marriage for a while, then it is called judicial separation. The grounds for judicial separation are, “adultery, cruelty, desertion (2 years), conversion (apostasy), insanity, leprosy, venereal diseases, renunciation from the world, not heard for 7 years, bigamy, husband guilty of rape, sodomy or bestiality”.
VOID AND VOIDABLE MARRIAGE (SECTION 11 & 12)
Section 11- Any marriage which is contravening to clause 1- “neither of the party has a living spouse at the time of marriage”, clause 4- “parties shouldn’t come within the degrees of prohibited relationship unless the custom permits”, and clause 5- “the parties are not sapindas for each other unless custom permits” of Section 5 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 will be considered as void marriages. Under this section, maintenance cannot be claimed.
Section 12- Any marriage contravening to clause 2- “neither party is incapable of communicating their consent or suffering mental disorder or disqualified to the procreation of children” of Section 5 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, will be considered as voidable marriage. Under this section, the wife can claim maintenance and the court can also provide “maintenance opened pendent lit” which means maintenance can be provided even during the time of pending litigation.
DIVORCE (SECTION 13)
The concept of divorce is the same as the concept of judicial separation. The grounds for divorce are also the same as the grounds for judicial separation. The only difference between section 10 and divorce is that section 13 allows re-marriage under section 15 of the Hindu Marriage Act. There are two sub-sections under section 13.
Section 13(A)- this section provides alternate relief in divorce proceedings, like, the maintenance, custody of children, etc.
Section 13(B)- this section allows parties to take divorce by mutual consent.
Under Muslim law, a Muslim husband can divorce his wife in two different ways; Talaq-ul-Sunnat, Talaq-e-Biddat. A Muslim wife can divorce her husband in three different ways; Talaaq-i-tafweez, Lian, and by dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939. However, triple talaq has been declared unconstitutional by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the case of Shayara Bano vs. Union of India & Ors., 17 August 2017.
Matrimonial disputes leading to divorce will have a profound on their respective families and especially on the children of the couple. Matrimonial disputes often happen when the interests and desires of the couple do not match and remain unfulfilled. When both the spouses go to a stage where they give more preference to their interests and opinions and they disagree with each other’s opinions and desires, this leads to matrimonial conflicts which will further lead to divorce. Divorce will leave a bad impact on one’s family, especially on those families where they have children. This may affect the growth of the child as well as his/her future. The legal system along with the remedies and legal aid should also try to focus on minimizing the number of cases of divorce. The couples with these matrimonial disputes should be subjected to counselling and try to bring in an attitude of adjustment among the couple. Through this, there might be a chance of re-establishment of a friendly relationship among them. as marriage is considered a sacred and significant institution for a civilized society, preservation of marriage should be considered a priority by the present legal system of our country.
 Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code  Bhaurao Shankar Lokhande & Anr. vs State of Maharashtra & Anr. (AIR 1965 SC 1564)  Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code  Shayara Bano vs. Union of India & Ors., (2017) 9 SCC 1
● Surinder Singh Joshi, Dr. Balram Gupta, “A Detailed Study on Causes of Matrimonial Disputes in India”, 3, International Journal of Education and applied research 51 (2013), available at: http://ijear.org/vol3issue1/surinder2.pdf (last visited on June 4, 2021).
● Protection of Women from Domestic Violence, 2005.
● Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
● Muslim Marriage Act, 1939.