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A Qualified Woman’s Sacrifice To Give Up Her Career For Family Should Be Considered While Deciding Alimony, Says SC. We Agree!

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When my mother got married, she was relatively young but she was going places. She had pursued her post graduation in finance was working just fine and was even up for a promotion when she got pregnant. Ultimately bidding goodbye to her job and her career, my mother decided to be at home, because that is what the society expected of her. And it is often this sacrifice of a financial income by women is dismissed, especially when it comes to alimony. Shouldn’t that be taken into about?  The Supreme Court has an answer, and it’s important for any qualified woman of the country. 

The Supreme Court, as part of an important ruling, observed on Wednesday that the sacrifice or choice of a qualified married woman to give up her career to provide for her family must be considered by the courts when deciding on her support after the breakup. The bench ruled that the alimony should financially cover her efforts to get back on her feet professionally. And considering how most women give up a chance to have a career to take charge of the household, it only seems fair.

The court stated that it should be kept in mind, while deciding upon the alimony amount,  the fact that it would be difficult for women, who had left their jobs to care for her family, to find suitable jobs after a break of several years. Justice Indu Malhotra, who authored the bench on this ruling urged courts to consider the age and employment opportunities of women as the prime factor in alimony cases. A qualified woman’s sacrifices must be taken into account.

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Justice Malhotra wrote, “On termination of the relationship, if the wife is educated and professionally qualified, but had to give up her employment opportunities to look after the needs of the family, being the primary caregiver to the minor children and the elder members of the family, these factors would be required to be given due importance.”

She further stated, “The separated wife would be required to undergo fresh training to acquire marketable skills and re-train herself to secure a job in the paid workforce to rehabilitate herself. With advancement of age, it would be difficult for a dependant wife to get an easy entry into the workforce after a break of several years.”

Thanks to this patriarchal society that we have been born and raised in, a qualified woman isn’t given a fighting chance. Be it in letting go of their aspirations to pursue their education or career goals, women are rarely given choices. As women go through the motions – they are far from congratulated for their contribution of the household. She is expected to not pursue a career she may be well qualified in, to provide childcare and labour at home while seamlessly ensuring that the husband and the rest of the family functions without any problem. And if a marriage were to be dissolved, that opportunity cost paid by the woman, should be factored in. Add to that that a career break is viewed negatively so that women have to work doubly hard to get back into the work force and you realise that we are doing our women a great disservice.

That, the Supreme Court took into account the sacrifices of a woman in a marriage, is a landmark moment for all women out there who are often exploited after a divorce. This is a great step forward.

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