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Ashmit Gupta, a 38-year old Kolkata businessman who has filed for a divorce, must arrange Rs 30 lakh for the alimony his ex-wife has sought. While he has investments worth Rs 10 lakh that will pay a part of that amount, he is still to arrange Rs 20 lakh within the next few months.
Countries like Egypt are now contemplating a law to make divorce insurance mandatory to ensure that men are able to pay alimony to their ex-spouses without having to face a financial burden. Considering the financial costs linked to a divorce and subsequent payments to the spouse, it could be time for Indians to seek insurance to cover divorces as well.
While India still has among the lowest divorce rates, the numbers have doubled over the last one decade. As per Census 2011, there were 1,362,316 divorces in India. While the number is low compared to other countries, it is still a significant number.
If the average alimony amount per divorce stood at Rs 15 lakh, it is a whopping Rs 2.04 lakh crore in settlements itself for the 1.36 million divorces. Over and above that are the legal expenses and child support which would run into several lakhs of rupees.
It is estimated that the alimony payment amount in India has risen by 35 percent over the last five to seven years.
Taking an insurance policy that pays for the divorce proceedings is a financially-prudent idea. Usually taken at the time of marriage, this insurance product will provide for all financial costs pertaining to a divorce.
The premium payable depends on the earning capacity of the individual and the income profile of the couple. There is usually a period of initial two to three years during which a claim is not admissible.
As a starter, policies with a standard cover of Rs 25 lakh or 30 lakh could be offered. These would be priced at less than Rs 15,000 per annum. If any individual seeks additional insurance, top-up plans could be offered.
The amount and duration for which alimony is payable depends on how long the marriage existed. Marriages that last more than 10 years are even entitled to get a lifelong alimony.
In India, there is no cap on the amount of alimony that can be sought by the wife. In case of a lump-sum settlement, the amount could go up to one-third of the husband’s net-worth.
With Indian couples being far more open to the idea of a divorce than a decade ago, it is imperative that the financial costs will also be considered. Having insurance products available for this purpose could help sort out the financial matters and help the couple focus on other crucial matters including property division and child custody.