Male subject line: Spare us the alimony

With either their jobs gone or their salaries cut drastically, a whole lot of men are petitioning family courts to spare them from paying alimony to their former spouses.
The recession is having unforeseen ramifications. Divorce cases are taking a strange twist, as techies who have lost jobs, or are facing steep salary cuts, are struggling to pay alimony to their former spouses. 

Bangalore’s family courts are being flooded with requests from men pleading reduction in alimony amounts. The plaintive chorus before the honourable judges runs something like this: “Sir, we have either lost jobs or are facing salary cuts, so please reduce the alimony. If not permanently, do it at least till the recession gets over.’’ 

BROKE, BUT FORCED TO PAY 

K P Vishnu Kumar, a Keralite settled in Bangalore, was working for Oracle till January this year. He married a Bangalore-based Malayali in 2005, having met her in a matrimonial meet organised at Karnataka Nair Society.

They lived happily for seven to eight months. Then, she became pregnant and went to her father’s house. According to Vishnu, she wanted him to stay at her father’s house as a ‘Ghar Jamai’. He refused to do so and the seeds of marital discord were sown.

In 2007, they went for counselling. It did not succeed. She lodged a complaint at Thyagarajanagar Police Station against him under the dowry harassment act. But the police persuaded them to strike a compromise. The couple stayed together in an independent house away from both their parents for six months. This too did not work, and the woman ultimately approached the family court in December 2008. The court directed Vishnu to pay an alimony of Rs 18,000 per month to his wife pending court proceedings. This order was passed in February 2009.

Meanwhile, Vishnu had lost his job due to the global meltdown. He is still jobless. Now, Vishnu’s advocate has approached the court, stating that his client does not have money and that he is the sole breadwinner for his aged parents, and hence should be spared from paying alimony. His petition will be heard on May 28. 

BETRAYED AND BLED

Zameer-Ul-Haq’s case is dramatic and sadder. He was a graphic designer with Quest Media Productions, Planet Asia and Convergis. He lost his job with Quest media in February this year.

He married a close friend’s sister in May 2004 in Bangalore under dramatic circumstances. His friend’s sister’s marriage had been arranged but got cancelled at the very last moment. Seeing her trauma, Zameer, playing the good samaritan, agreed to marry her. According to Zameer, his wife however was not loyal to him and before long revived her relationship with the very man who had abandoned her so casually. This led to their separation.

She filed a case against him in February 2008 and the court asked him to pay Rs 25,000 as maintenance every month. But Zameer had lost his job and petitioned the court to scale down the maintenance. In his petition he says, “At present, I cannot pay. When I get a job, I will pay but not Rs 25,000. Please reduce it, I have a dependent brother and sister.” His petition is coming up for hearing on June 8.

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