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India considers legalising pre-nups, for stronger maintenance laws

Pre-nuptial agreements, entitling women to maintenance through contractual clauses, will be legal in India soon as per plans of the Women and Child Development ministry, reported The Indian Express.

Woman and Child Development (WCD) Minister Maneka Gandhi said that the ministry is currently drafting a bill to address concerns in Indian marriages such as maintenance to wife.

Gandhi reportedly said: “Pre-nup happens mostly among rich people abroad because some multi-millionaire wants to protect his or her assets in case the marriage ends. Here, it will be to ensure maintenance for the woman in case she is abandoned by her husband, battered or chooses to leave her husband for some reason. Presently, since there are no hard and fast rules on maintenance, women have to fight it out in courts for years on end.”

As per the ministry’s recommendations, legal pre-nuptial agreements in India will provide that a percentage of a spouse’ earnings will be available to the other spouse as maintenance over a specific period of time, instead of the current statutory provisions for fixed, depreciating, maintenance amounts.

The ministry also plans to deal with the wife’s share in husband’s property in the case of divorce with or death of the husband, in the pre-nuptial agreement law which it plans to make applicable to all Indian citizens irrespective of religion and personal law.

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