Legal Advice

Since the first day of my marriage, I have been subjected to extreme cruelty, harassment, and cheating by my husband and his family

Question: Since the first day of my marriage, I have been subjected to extreme cruelty, harassment, and cheating by my husband and his family. As well as denial of sex, and my husband's extramarital affair. They demanded more dowry, broke their promise to move to XXX for work, and forced me to leave my job and work as a servant. My husband rejected me completely and physically abused me when I confronted him about his affair. I left and now my husband and in-laws are pressuring me to give a mutual divorce and are defaming my family. I am mentally depressed and need guidance on what steps I can take to address this situation.

Advise

If you do not want a divorce but still want to avail yourself of all the legal rights that a legally married woman is entitled to under the law, then you should take proper legal action against your husband and his family. 

Your husband’s extramarital affair constitutes a marital offence, as he has been unfaithful to you. Therefore, he has no right to force you to agree to a mutual consent divorce

If there has been violence, abuse, or cruelty in your marriage, you should file a complaint under Section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act against your husband and in-laws. You should also seek monetary relief in the form of maintenance and a restraining order under Section 18 of the DV Act

Additionally, you should file a complaint under Section 125 of the CrPC to seek maintenance for yourself. Denial of sex and abstaining from sexual relationships constitute cruelty and provide a just ground for living separately. Therefore, you are entitled to receive maintenance while living apart. 

If you want to prevent your husband from remarrying his paramour, you should not agree to a mutual consent divorce. However, if you both agree to end your marriage, then mutual consent divorce would be the best option.

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate

High Court Lucknow