A dozen plots of 1,200 square feet each, 13 houses, three shops in a mall and two fix deposits of Rs 30 lakh each — all these account for a multi-crore alimony paid by a millionaire to his wife of a few days.
This reflects the growing trend of expensive divorces where blank cheques are often offered and flaunted in courtrooms and divorces on mutual consent are bought and sold openly among couples.
A Rs 30-crore separation deal settled recently at a Lucknow court could be the most expensive to date, at least in Uttar Pradesh.
The husband, son of a leading businessman, filed a divorce petition when he found out during his honeymoon in France that his wife went to a spa where male masseurs serviced women and vice versa.
The case was decided within six months within the four walls of Lucknow’s family court and the wife was paid Rs 4 crore, according to court records. However, sources said the husband’s family was so eager to get their son separated from the girl, that they paid her several crores outside the court to convince her to agree for a divorce.
The total payments in cash and kind: 12 plots of 1,200 square feet each, 3 high income group houses, 3 middle income group houses, 5 low income group houses in posh localities of Lucknow, 2 flats in Kolkata, 3 shops in a city mall, two fix deposits of Rs 30 lakh each and some more money.
“This is a new trend emerging in Lucknow’s high-profile families. People have money and they don’t mind spending it for a divorce to buy mental peace. Young couples working in multinational companies get separated for petty reasons. And they don’t mind paying huge alimonies,” said a senior lawyer.
Average alimony ranges between Rs 10 and Rs 20 lakh but can go into crores — if property and cash are together taken into consideration.
Not just the men, women too have paid heavy amounts to get divorces. The Bahrain-based daughter of a state politician filed for a divorce from her south Indian husband settled in Dubai after three years of marriage.
When the case was being heard, the politician came across a man willing to marry his daughter — already separated from her first husband. The woman paid Rs 3 crore to buy her freedom from the first man and marry the second.
“The trend sheds light on commodification of relationships. Society is becoming highly materialistic, where economic values are overtaking social values,” said sociology professor Rajesh Mishra.
Sociological theories suggest such trends start at the upper strata of society and gradually percolate down, becoming a common practice.
Till 2000, the maximum maintenance that could be fixed at family courts was Rs 500. But the amount was raised to Rs 10,000 and could be increased further on the discretion of the judge, depending on the requirements of the woman.