A Family Court in Mumbai Metropolitan region rejected a Woman’s plea for interim maintenance of ₹40,000, observing that she had not disclosed her “true income’’. The battle, however, also brought in an uncommon defence from the estranged husband: The existence of a pre-nup.
The Husband’s Lawyer said it barred his wife from claiming anything if the marriage ended.
They married in 2016 and the vows followed a pre-marital Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to ensure that she would have no stake in his property if the marriage fell apart. The husband had filed for Divorce and in its pendancy she sought interim maintenance.
A pre-nup agreement has no official legal mandate in India yet. The husband, represented by Advocate Kanupriya Kejriwal, cited it to oppose her plea for interim maintenance.
The wife said that he compelled her to leave her job, and while she had her mother’s pension she had no independent income. She said that it was the husband’s moral, social and legal obligation to maintain her, and that she must have the same “standard of living’’ as his.
He questioned her claim of entitlement to his standard of living, when the marriage, he said was “32 days old’’.
The Family Court recorded his Lawyer’s submissions that the couple had entered into a pre-marital memorandum of understanding, where the wife stated that she would have no stake in his movable or immovable properties if the marriage breaks, and had also declared that she was well educated and earned enough to take care of herself if such a situation arose.
His plea was of several missing entries in her bank statement. He said that they resided separately since September 2016. She was well qualified, he said, and left her job on her own, and sought dismissal of her plea.
She expressed willingness to resume cohabitation and claimed that she was sent to her parents’ house when she was ill, and since then he did not accept her back.
The Court sought the wife’s bank statement before and after marriage but noted that she produced one from two years after separation. It found no explanation for missing entries and said that it was “difficult to accept” her statement of no source of income, so there was no option but to reject her application.