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Wife is threatening to take my flat

By Shivendra Pratap Singh

I am the owner of a flat purchased it before the marriage. My father is the co-owner in that property, and he also paid some amount in the purchase of the flat. The instalments of the EMI is about to complete. My father has relinquished his share in the property by making a gift of his share. Now there is some dispute with my wife, and she is threatening to take this flat. Whether my wife has any right in the flat? Could she claim partition of the flat on divorce?  We are Hindu, and our marriage is an arranged marriage.

Question from: West Bengal

It is an undisputed fact that you are the absolute owner of the flat. You have purchased it out of own income; hence, it is your self-acquired property. However, your father had contributed to some extent in the purchase, but later on, he has relinquished his right in the flat.

Husband is responsible for maintaining his wife. He has to do financial support even after the divorce. The provision of Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act, Section 18 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act and Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure enumerate that wife has right to maintenance from her husband. Therefore, a wife has the right to maintenance instead of the right to share in husband’s property.

You asked whether the wife can claim right in the husband’s property. Property right of a wife is the most critical issue at the time of divorce. The wife has no co-ownership with equal right in the self-acquired property of the husband. Right now, the spouses continue to treat the wealth they bring into the marriage as their separate property.

Wife has an absolute right in the stridhan. When the husband gifts some property to his wife, he at the subsequent stage, cannot reclaim that property. That property becomes the stridhan of wife, and she is the absolute owner. Except this, the wife has no right to claim her share in the husband’s self-acquired property.

The only right she has, while her marriage is persisting, is the right to get maintenance from her husband, which is not even enough to survive with dignity. If she divorces her husband because of any reason she gets nothing from her husband’s property except permanent maintenance alimony.

Hence, she cannot claim in the flat as well as any other property of the husband.

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