You will no longer need to wait for 6 months to get divorced, thanks to the Supreme Court

The six month 'cooling period' for divorce can be waived off says Supreme Court.

Prapti Elizabeth Prapti Elizabeth Sep 13, 2017
With consent from both the parties, the six months of wait can be done away with in case of divorce. Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Akalhan


The Supreme Court of India seems to be on a roll as it delivers one landmark judgement after another. On Tuesday, the apex court passed a rule that a Hindu couple seeking divorce need not wait six months to terminate their marriage. The 'cooling off' period, earlier a mandatory clause for granting divorce, can be waived off, the court said.

Section 13B(2) of the Hindu Marriage Act says that if a couple does not take back their divorce plea between a period of six to 18 months-then the court shall pass a decree for the marriage to be dissolved. The period given under this section is to rethink the decision of divorce, by the couple. The bench that passed the judgement explained that this period was given as a safeguard against any hurried decision made by a couple to go separate ways. However, it also said that if the concerned parties had settled their differences relating to alimony, custody of the child, and any other issues-the six-month wait can be done away with.

"The object was not to perpetuate a purposeless marriage or to prolong the agony of the parties when there was no chance of 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 bench said.

The court passed the order to waive off the six-month-wait clause on the petition of a couple that had been living separately for eight years, and had settled their issues regarding alimony and custody of the child. They told the court that a six-month wait would only delay their chances of resettling in life. The bench, after examining the issues, and reached the conclusion that Section13B(2)  was never meant to be mandatory, but only to direct the couple to a path of reconciliation, if possible.

A couple can file for waiving the 'cooling period' a week after filing for divorce, and the court will take the call on waiving off the period, the bench said further.


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