Can Working Women Claim Alimony? Top Key Points
Yes, working women are eligible to claim alimony based on their income and living conditions.
The court usually directs a working woman to maintain her livelihood on her own but there are the following circumstances and considerations that the court take into account to allot alimony to working women also.
- Income earned by the wife is insufficient – if the court is of the view that the wife is unable to maintain the same standard of living which she use to enjoy during the time of marriage, then she qualifies to get alimony despite being a working woman.
- The court takes into consideration the process of divorce itself deprives a woman of many comforts and can lead her to fall into emotional and psychological distress which can lead to stress and anxiety that can double-up the responsibility that comes with divorce, hence the alimony from the husband can provide some relief.
- After-effects of divorce – Many women can go through a series of difficulties without the support she used to have in her matrimonial home. The court taking into consideration such circumstances can direct the husband to maintain his wife even if the wife is employed.
- Child custody – if the child or children born out of the wedlock are in the custody of the wife and the wife despite being a working woman is unable to meet the needs of the child/children alone through her income, the court can direct the husband/father of the child/children to pay alimony so that the child/children’s needs are met and the wife can maintain the child’s/children’s same standard of living as they enjoyed in a family/ matrimonial set up.
- It was held by the Supreme Court of India that any working woman can claim maintenance despite her efforts to earn her livelihood if the amount earned by her is not enough to satisfy her unavoidable necessities.
- The Supreme Court of India also clarified that the expression ‘unable to maintain herself’ does not require a woman to be destitute for money before she can claim maintenance or alimony.
- In case the husband is jobless, he being jobless does not qualify as an excuse to avoid alimony or escape alimony. The working wife is still entitled to and can rightfully claim maintenance from her husband to support the child.
- Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code states that if the spouse is unable to maintain herself because of reasonable situations, then it is the duty of the husband to provide the wife with sufficient alimony that can enable the wife to live a life of dignity.