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Whether Husband is bound to pay Maintenance to Wife If he loses his Job?

Whether Husband is bound to pay Maintenance to Wife If he loses his Job?

Whether a husband is bound to pay maintenance to his wife even if he loses his job is a complex question with no straightforward answer. It depends on various factors and is ultimately decided by the courts on a case-by-case basis. Here’s a detailed breakdown:

General Principle:

  • The husband in India holds a legal obligation to provide maintenance to his wife and dependent children under several matrimonial and domestic violence laws, including the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. This obligation arises from the husband’s responsibility to share his marital income and ensure the wife’s standard of living, even after separation or divorce.

Job Loss and Maintenance Orders:

  • Loss of job as a ground for modification: While losing a job doesn’t automatically absolve the husband of his maintenance obligation, it can be a ground for requesting a modification in the amount of maintenance awarded by the court. He needs to prove genuine unemployment and lack of any income through evidence like termination letters, income tax returns, etc.
  • Court’s Discretion: The court will assess the husband’s ability to earn based on his qualifications, skills, and employability. If he appears capable of finding work within a reasonable period, the court might reduce the maintenance amount but not necessarily eliminate it altogether.
  • Wife’s Income and Standard of Living: The court also considers the wife’s income and earning potential. If she can independently support herself, the maintenance amount might be lower or even denied. However, the court ensures that the wife’s standard of living, established during the marriage, is not drastically compromised.

Recent Judgments:

  • Several recent Indian High Court judgments have emphasized that temporary job loss shouldn’t relieve the husband of his maintenance obligation. Examples include:
    • Madhya Pradesh High Court (2023): The court held that a husband capable of earning, even through manual labor, cannot avoid his maintenance obligation by claiming job loss.
    • Karnataka High Court (2023): The court rejected a husband’s plea to remove interim maintenance awarded to his wife based on job loss.


  • Losing a job can impact the amount of maintenance awarded, but it doesn’t completely erase the husband’s obligation. The court, based on evidence and considering both spouses’ situations, determines the appropriate course of action.

Disclaimer: This information is intended for general knowledge and should not be construed as legal advice. For specific legal guidance on your situation, it is essential to consult with a qualified lawyer who can understand the intricacies of your case and provide tailored advice.

Adcocate J.S. Rohilla (Civil & Criminal Lawyer in Indore)

Contact: 88271 22304

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