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Beneficiality of Prenuptial Agreements

We Indians consider marriage as a religious sacrament, a strong belief of the connection between two different individuals uniting for a permanent bond till death parts them. It is a peaceful journey of joy, bliss, love, sorrow and sacrifices. Such belief prevails because various religious customs and traditions are followed across different parts of India. The definition given by R.N. Sharma for the Hindu Marriage is most appropriate one its states that:
It is a religious sacrament in which a man and a woman are bound in permanent relationship for the physical, social, and spiritual purposes of dharma, procreation, and sexual pleasure.

As per such belief, Indian marriages cannot be decided upon by a contract. The various decisions ruled by Supreme Court stated that any contract entered upon by parties which has marriage as an object will be termed as Null and void. Hence prenuptial agreement or any other form of contract where the marriage will be considered as an object will not be legally tenable in India.

In India, Prenuptial Agreements, Antenuptial Agreements, or Premarital Agreements are sort of an alien concept which comes under the purview of Indian Contract Act, 1872. It is basically a private written contract signed by the couple prior to their marriage which later helps them in controlling various legal rights over each other which they acquire through a civil union. It is much more of a Financial Agreement between parties who will be tied up by marital bliss.

It typically lists down all assets, liabilities, insurance owned by husband and wife. It also mentions all property shares and rights each partner will get after marriage or after the filing of the divorce. By signing a prenuptial agreement parties to marriage give up their rights for legal and fair division of marital estate after dissolution of marriage.

India for now does not have any statues governing Prenuptial Agreements, such agreements are mostly popular in developed countries like the US and Australia. Though recommendations were made for making Prenuptial Agreements mandatory before marriage by Maneka Gandhi who was then the Minister for women and child development to D.V. Sadananda Gowda, then minister for law and justice, as it was difficult for women from low socioeconomic back-ground to fight against their partner for alimony or any property rights over his assets while filing for divorce. But it did not come into force as Indian's won't stand marriage as an agreement or contract to deal with.

Researcher here points out that Prenuptial Agreements are actually beneficial for both parties who decide to enter into a civil union or anyone of the party to marriage.

Divorce being an expensive and time-consuming procedure to follow, prenuptial agreements will help save time and money for both the parties filing for divorce. Even if both parties agree upon various legal issues still, they end up spending thousands before the formal dissolution of marriage, so in such a case the already formed agreement will be of more help to resolve various legal hurdles and lengthy court battles. This is the most economical form of divorce.

The most important benefit of a prenuptial agreement is splitting up of spousal property which is a complex area of divorce. As prenuptial already mentions all property owned, its legal rights, and it's splitting ratio between husband and wife after filing for divorce. It also specifies the property and rights which the child born out of such marriage will get. It prevents the parties from personal debts. As prenuptial agreement also mentions the liabilities of each party which will also get divided amidst each other upon the filing of the divorce.

Prenuptial agreements helps in commencing an honest and fair conversation between the couple prior to their marriage about assets, liabilities, and other financial resources. This builds up a strong and a deeper level of the trust relationship between husband and wife which can help them to sustain their relationship for a longer tenure without any scope for a divorce. It gives certainty in a marriage where both parties have the freedom to agree upon a ratio in which the assets and liabilities will get divided in case of separation or divorce. This helps in saving time, uncertainty, and stress arising out of litigation upon divorce.

Prenuptial Agreements help women's who sometimes give up their career for sake of family needs. They then might feel safe and secure for their self-maintenance and also education and maintenance of her child in case of any marital breakdown.

Though it does not have any legal sanctity in India, still many business families try to opt for a prenuptial agreement in secret as it gives clarity to the wife about what she would get in case of divorce, as without a prenuptial Law of the state will decide upon the division of spousal property. Even 20% people from metropolitan cities of India nearly make this form of contract prior to marriage for personal satisfaction and peace of their mind. As per Special Marriage Act,1954 if a marriage is registered before Registrar with all necessary documents then prenuptial agreements can be legally binding only if both the parties mutually consent to sign-up without any Fraud, Undue Influence or Coercion.

Hence if all these things are taken into considerations, prenuptial agreements are beneficial in today's era for society as a whole. It will help Indian society to turn into a modern and a real world where the parties will accept each other not only with personal flaws but there will also be transparency in financial background.

The Concept of prenuptial Agreements and its related laws in India though not today, but might increase in future as it is most economical way of splitting up. But as of now prenuptial agreements are not legally binding as Public opinion stands as a major challenge before Courts as they assume prenuptial agreements to be immoral and against the culture and tradition of Indian society and a conversation relating to that will hamper the actual purpose of marriage.

Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Siddhi Sandeep Kotre
Awarded certificate of Excellence
Authentication No: SP124918621972-06-0921

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