Alimony in Pakistan – A Guide
Alimony in Pakistan is considered as the payments made by the ex-husband to his ex-wife after their divorce. Alimony and Child Maintenance payments are two very different types of financial support, which we will go through in detail in this guide.
In Pakistani law and Islamic law, unless agreed otherwise via a prenuptial agreement, Alimony is paid exclusively from the Husband to the wife. Alimony is spousal financial support used for the wife to maintain herself financially. This is not considered a luxury, but her right in a marriage, whether the couple is living together or not (unless she leaves her husband’s home intentionally, which we will go through in detail shortly).
How much is Alimony in Pakistan usually?
Alimony is dependent on the husband’s income and salary. The payment of alimony should, in the ideal circumstance, cover the cost of a wife’s living expenses and day-to-day expenses such as food, healthcare, and accommodation.
In divorce cases in Pakistan, we have seen Alimony payments being agreed from as little as Rs.3,000/- a month to figures over 1 lakh a month. A general sum is very hard to furnish, as it depends on a case-by-case basis, with the ultimate factor being the man’s income.
How long does a man pay Alimony in Pakistan?
From the moment a couple is married, a husband is bound to pay for the maintenance of his wife. The claims of alimony start from the moment they do not live together. The reason that the claim starts from here is that (unless the wife has evidence to support her claim otherwise) it can be assumed he is taking care of his wife whilst they are together.
Not living together as a married couple is not unusual, as it may be due to one of the spouses traveling for work, or if they live and work abroad, or for medical reasons, etc. so not living together (when the couples agree to it) is no grounds for not paying maintenance.
Can Alimony be claimed only during a divorce?
No, alimony and the wife’s maintenance are not dependent on divorce proceedings at all. A Wife may file a case for financial maintenance even whilst being married, or in a conjugal rights application. There is no need for a wife to ask for alimony only during divorce proceedings.
A woman can simply file a case, stating that (even if she is living with her husband) she is not being properly financially maintained. In the most common cases, women in marriages to a man with more than one wife may claim she is not getting as much as his other wives.
A Suit of Maintenance after Divorce in Pakistan
In Muslim Divorce Cases in Pakistan, a wife can claim backdated alimony if she can prove that she was deprived of financial maintenance and spousal support. The burden of proof on this would be on the wife. She may also claim Child Support, but we cover that topic in detail separately.
Aside from backdated alimony and wife’s maintenance payments, from the moment of the announcement of divorce, there is a 3-month period known as “iddat”. As a wife, she is entitled to claim spousal financial support for this period.
Spousal Payment after divorce
Unless stipulated in the nikah marriage or nikahnama or unless it’s mentioned in a Prenuptial Agreement, a divorced wife may only be entitled to 3 months (90 days) which makes up her iddat period. If she is pregnant, then the duration of her pregnancy.
This does not take into account Haq Mehr and Dowry’s Articles (Bridal Gifts). Anything given as a gift from the husband (or his family) to the wife is exclusively hers.
Alimony in Christian Divorce Cases
Alimony payments in Christian marriages in Pakistan work on the same principles. During a Christian Marriage in Pakistan, a wife is entitled to financial support from her husband, as well as child maintenance. The only main difference in alimony for Christian marriages in Pakistan, and Christian Divorces in Pakistan, is that there is no 3-month period, post pronouncement of divorce for “iddat”, that the wife may claim alimony for.
There is one exception to this rule, and that is if the couple goes through the divorce process of Judicial Separation. In Judicial Separation, the courts will give the divorcing couple a period before their divorce is officially announced (which varies from a month to 2 years, upon the case and court discretion). During this time, the wife is entitled to alimony from her husband (or soon-to-be ex-husband).
Grounds for disqualifying alimony
Claims for alimony may be discharged on various grounds. The main grounds that we have seen come mainly in two forms. One is where the husband claims that he has already paid it. This is where the wife needs to prove otherwise.
The second disqualifying ground is when a wife voluntarily leaves the marital home against the husband’s wishes. In the eyes of the law, unless the wife can give a good reason not to live with her husband (for example, domestic violence) then she would forfeit her right to alimony and financial support from him. In the case of Khulla where the wife leaves her husband to file a divorce, she also loses the right to alimony. This does not include or involve child maintenance payments in Pakistan, which the husband is still obliged to pay irrespective of alimony.
How can a wife claim alimony when the husband is abroad?
In the instance of a wife being in Pakistan, and the husband is abroad, the wife would need to file a case in Pakistan at the husband’s last known address, or his family’s address. Once a case is heard and decided in her favor, she would need to take that judgment to the resident country where the husband resides.
If her husband has assets or maintains a bank account in Pakistan, or has property and/or land in Pakistan, she can file a case for it to be recovered to cover her expenses. This is a separate case and could also be done, but only after she gets a judgment in her favor for the execution of alimony.
How does a wife claim alimony when she’s abroad and the ex-husband is in Pakistan?
In this scenario, the wife has two options. The easiest option, by far, would be to file a case in Pakistan (through a Special Power of Attorney) against the husband. If a case against the husband is initiated, then he would have to defend his case and, on merit, have to resolve his issue of non-payment of maintenance to his wife.
The second option would be for the wife to file a case in her country of residence, and then bring that judgment to Pakistan for execution. If the marriage took place in Pakistan, and both parties are Pakistani nationals, then the husband may be able to defend this claim by having the case re-heard in Pakistan.
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