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Supreme Court order fixing alimony at 25% of husband's salary makes divorce so much cheaper for the man

With the Supreme Court now poised to tell us exactly how to live and breathe and bring up toddlers the latest pronouncement of what a man should pay as alimony could cause a bit of consternation. In its wisdom, the judiciary has pegged the alimony at 25 percent of the man's salary for the wife and that's it. "Just and fair."

On your bike, girl, the party is over.

I read out the news article to my wife. That, she said is unjust and unfair, it should be half, there are two of us, you are the provider, so it should be 50 percent. But that said, for those whose arrows have bust and Cupid done the dirty, this landmark judgment in a case in Kolkata has many a repercussions. The judges agreed that a quarter of the salary should be sufficient.

What they have not said is what constitutes the salary. The judgment mentions net salary.

Most of us have low basic pays so that gratuity is not high. Is it 25 percent of the basic and excludes all the allowances and perks that come with the job. What about DA, is that integral to the net salary? Since the difference between gross and net is largely the tax paid on the sum and the insurance and other cuts, the salary get slimmer by the minute.

 Supreme Court order fixing alimony at 25% of husbands salary makes divorce so much cheaper for the man

Supreme Court. AFP

But perks and allowances are not seen by thousands of us as salary, net or gross. Those are all on the side. What about the house rent? Does that count? And car allowance and travel allowance and cashing one's leave up to a max of 90 days. Would she get 20 odd days salary out of that?

Corporate honchos get entertainment allowances and outstation allowances that go with the territory and would the wife have the right to say, hmmmm, a total of Rs 97,000 in restaurants this month, so you owe me Rs 22,000 and skip the tip. Take the club membership. Just getting it costs a bomb. Is that part of the salary?

Senior executives get furniture allowance to redo their homes. Now, is that part of the salary.

Go a step further. Is the driver's salary part of your net salary since the company has hired him for you.

Most men would be pretty happy to get out the mess they are in if the 25 percent is just the basic and the company has broken down the salary to save you taxes. What if the husband who is about to hoof out the onetime love of his life has a corporate medical allowance, does that count, can she get that?

So, armed with all these unanswered questions I said to my wife, if you ever decided to dump me I'll get a Chartered Accountant who will redo my tax returns and skin my basic down to practically nothing so 25 percent of practically nothing will be practically nothing, you better stick with me.

She sniffed as wives sniff when they find their husbands tedious.

But seriously, this is a legal decision that is so much in the man's favour. The Supreme Court has done well by us. We keep hearing about women who chiselled their husbands out of huge sums of money and left the poor sods high and dry and took them to the cleaners.

At 25 percent no way...those days are gone. Could this decision cause a spurt in the split market?

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Updated Date: Apr 21, 2017 12:20:35 IST

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