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Can wife claim husband’s paternal property

My husband is a qualified doctor but he has not been practicing for seven years. I have two sons and one daughter. When my husband does not take care of us, can I claim my husband’s paternal property? My husband does not own any immovable property. He is a jobless person. My father-in-law is a class one officer and he has a huge property. My husband is the only son so he will get all self acquired and ancestral property after the death of my father in law. 

Question from: Gujrat

Wife’s right in ancestral property

A wife has no right in the ancestral property of the husband during his lifetime. Only coparceners of the joint Hindu family (Mitakshra) inherit ancestral property. Wife is not a coparcener hence, she cannot claim any right or title over the ancestral property. There is a situation in which the wife accrues right in the ancestral property of the husband.

When the ancestral property is divided and each coparcener gets their separate share. Thereafter the ancestral property becomes the self acquired property of the coparcener. If a coparcener dies intestate then the wife being the class I heir inherits that property.

Also read: Wife’s right in the joint Hindu property

Wife’s right in self acquired property

So far as self acquired property is concerned, the wife has no right during the lifetime of the husband. After the death of the husband, a wife becomes entitled to get share in his self acquired property. She will get a share if her husband died intestate (without making a will). If the husband has made a testamentary will and did not give any property to his wife, then the wife will get nothing in self acquired property of the deceased husband. 

Rights of a married woman 

Right to maintenance: A married woman has no title or interest in the property of husband and in the matrimonial home. But being a legally wedded wife she has many rights. She can claim maintenance from her husband if he has sufficient means to maintain her. Your husband is a qualified doctor and has the ability to earn and take care of his family. However, your husband has not been practicing but he cannot evade himself from maintenance. 

Also read: A jobless husband is bound to maintain his wife

You can claim maintenance from your husband under section 125 of the code of criminal procedure (crpc). Your husband is an abled person hence, the court will presume that he has sufficient means. He cannot deny maintenance because of unemployment. In this situation, you can also claim maintenance for your sons.Right to residence: a legally wedded wife has right to residence in the matrimonial home. You have a right to reside in a matrimonial home despite that you have no title or right thereon. Section 17 of the Domestic Violence Act provides such a right to residence in a shared household.

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Division of self acquired and ancestral property

The self acquired property of the deceased person devolves upon his legal heir if the deceased dies intestate (without making a will). So far as ancestral property is concerned the coparceners of Hindu undivided family get share in the ancestral property by birth. Therefore, a Hindu cannot alienate ancestral property by making a testamentary will. The legal heirs can divide the self acquired and ancestral property either by filing a partition suit or through a family settlement deed.

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