Instant Divorce In India

It’s called “instant divorce” or “triple talaq” and Muslim men have been using it to divorce their wives in a matter of minutes over the phone, by mail, and through mobile phone text messages.

All that has been required for a Muslim husband to end a marriage was for him to say “talaq” (divorce) three times to his wife. He didn’t have to say it to her in a face-to-face meeting, nor did he have to give any reasons for ending the marriage. Marriages of any duration have been susceptible to instant divorce even those of multiple decades.

That might come to an end since the All India Muslim Personal Law board adopted the model nikaahnama (marriage contract) May 1, 2005. But, because it would have to be accepted among a multitude of Muslim sects and sub-sects, the potential for the “triple talaq” becoming a thing of the past, might not occur right away.

Within the nikaahnama is a mandatory clause that, in the case of marital discord, would require a couple to approach the local family court who would intervene in working out a divorce settlement.

An important provision of the nikaahnama places the entire economic responsibility on men, including all household expenses, paying for the children’s education, and providing “adequate” funds for his wife’s expenses. Her expenses include such things as perfume, hair dye, and other beauty treatments.

Another provision says a man should be considerate toward his wife including letting her visit her parents’ house whenever she wants. What makes this provision significant is the caveat that he should not leave her at her parents’ home against her wishes which is meant to stop the practice of abandoning wives with their parents.

Written records of marriages are required with copies of the nikaahmana given to the bride and the groom and an additional copy given to the government or the local family court.

The marriage contract also makes it mandatory that the couple’s parents or guardians be present at the marriage ceremony.