What is No-Fault Divorce?

by  Adv. Priyanka Sampathy  




3 mins


No-fault divorce


  • There are specified provisions and laws related to Indian divorce and marriage. 
  • Divorce can be filed with consent from one party or from both parties who mutually agree on ending the relationship between them because of adjustment issues.
  • Some circumstances may lead couples to file a no-fault divorce/mutual consent divorce or contested divorce.
  • The family court should be approached when filing a no-fault divorce under mutual consent. The couple can take considerable help from a divorce lawyer to thoroughly understand the process.

No-Fault Divorce

The incidents can occur and be the reason for a no-fault divorce petition or contested divorce petition.

  • A spouse has found out or has evidence that their partner indulges in extramarital affairs.
  • The petitioner’s partner has not communicated with or avoided them since the petition was filed more than 2 years ago.
  • The spouse of the petitioner is abusing them physically or mentally which is causing them harm or may lead to death.
  • Denial or inability to copulate by the partner of the petitioner can also lead to no-fault divorce as they may mutually decide to separate.
  • If the partner of the petitioner is suffering from a terminal illness, the no-fault divorce can be filed by the decision they take jointly.
  • Mental illness is also a reason for a no-fault divorce or contested divorce.

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Documents Necessary for a No-Fault Divorce or Contested Divorce

The couple must provide certain documentation as deciphered by the law provisions for the filing of a no-fault divorce or contested divorce petition.

  • The parties are to give information about their families and their biodata.
  • For filing a petition of no-fault divorce, the parties should provide their IT returns files for the previous years.
  • Details or some informative snippets of job life and what is their approx remuneration in a year.
  • Brief description of assets in both liquid form and illiquid. The spouses are to mention everything owned by them specifically. 

What are the types of divorce?

In India, there can be two types of divorce as per terms

  • Mutual consent/ no-fault divorce
  • Contested divorce. 

Mutual consent/ No-fault divorce

This type of divorce occurs when the parties mutually decide on ending the marriage through their adjustments and agreements. 

The spouses decide on the terms and maintenance along with the child custody that is if one parent is going to handle all the responsibility or jointly.

In this scenario of no-fault divorce, respect and cooperation are very much needed. The partners can consult a divorce lawyer before discussing every provision and aspect related to no-fault divorce in India.

  • The parties should file a petition for no-fault divorce, which is approved by Section 13b of the Hindu Marriage Act.
  • The family court will declare a date for the first motion of the no-fault divorce. The couple is to appear and present their respective statements, which are recorded for further use.
  • The parties are required to attest to any other proceedings that are done by a jury as their witness.
  • The Hon’ble court gives them a 6-month duration for a second motion which can be reduced if the situation altogether is urgent. The period is given so that partners can think it over and may reconcile for better adjusting. 
  • If the parties show no signs or intentions of reconciliation, the court will declare its final verdict for the no-fault divorce petition. 
  • A decree for the no-fault divorce is issued which is followed by the official separation or divorce of the couple. 

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Contested divorce

A dispute or disagreement of some sort is the cause of a contested divorce. Such cases are very different from no-fault divorce.

It becomes lengthy and hassle-some for the couple as many times a partner may abandon their hearing date and not show up for some reason. The uncertainty increases with time as one or the other partner causes delays.

  • A file is prepared by the petitioner with the necessary documentation that is then submitted to the court. 
  • The documentation should include evidence or a statement mentioning the reason or cause of the circumstances. 
  • The other partner will receive a court order to appear for the petition or respond to it.
  • They might hire a lawyer to put their terms forward and respond to the petition. 
  • Negotiations take place in front of the jury as the partners appear for judgment and statements with appropriate legal advice.
  • The court may provide a period for reconciliation that may or may not happen in such cases, unlike a no-fault divorce.
  • The court then issues a decree and official separation statement in front of the jury and family members.

These are the notable differences between no-fault divorce and contested divorce. They both have a few similar aspects also as per the law provisions but tend to be complex at some points, which can be taken care of with professional legal advice.

Grounds for Divorce in India

The majority of Indian divorce cases are based on some near similar grounds which are as follows:

  • Most cases are of gender inequality where the husbands have subdued their wives to house chores only and do not allow them to work or educate. Some aware women take the necessary actions against the husband and may apply for divorce. 
  • Domestically initiated conflicts are also a reason for divorce.
  • Extramarital affairs are the most common reason for divorce.
  • Pressurized marriage is also a case which also can give rise to a lack of endurance or effort and consideration.

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The parties need to consult a professional before filing for a petition of either no-fault divorce or contested divorce. Their mutual decision matters a lot in this process as things become prompt with a strategic approach. 

The partners can carefully tread along the procedure of divorce and settlement with the help of a divorce lawyer.

Adv. Priyanka Sampathy

Adv. Priyanka Sampathy


5 | 163+ User Reviews

Priyanka Sampathy is a legal consultant who prioritises ethical and professional conduct while striving to achieve desired outcomes. With over 15 years of independent practice, she has significant expertise in handling legal cases. Her exceptional communication skills enable her to express arguments in a clear and persuasive manner, both in writing and verbally, in Hindi, English, and Telugu.

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