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Breaking Up: Your Step-By-Step Guide To Getting Divorced is a much-needed book in India, with all the information on getting divorced at one place.
Book review by Aparna Vedapuri Singh
Who would pick up a book with the descriptive title, Breaking Up: Your Step-By-Step Guide To Getting Divorced? While I read it for the express purpose of reviewing it here, if you buy this book, the chances are that you’re going through a rough patch in your marriage and contemplating divorce, have already made up your mind to get a divorce, or want to help a friend or family member through divorce.
With more men and women in India willing to get out of unsuitable or abusive relationships, the time for a book like this has definitely come, and no doubt, plenty of people in the above mentioned categories will find divorce lawyers Mrunalini Deshmukh and Fazaa Shroff-Garg’s effort very useful.The book is a thorough and step-by-step (as the title promises) guide to everything about divorce in India – all the information that you need to know before deciding to get a divorce as well as following through on it, put together concisely and in language that is very accessible to the average reader; which is exactly why it is a pity that the authors see the need to include a long-winded introduction bemoaning the demise of marriage and popularity of divorce in India. Sample these:
Divorce has become fashionable and promiscuity and adulterous relationships are the order of the day.
Women and men alike want instant gratification in any and every sphere; often, concomitant with a high-octane life is a disastrous marriage.
With the middle-class aping the rich, who in turn mimic the uber-rich, there is no room left for mutual love, respect, tolerance and patience – these used to be the pillars of good, strong marriages.
How exactly does this sermonising help the man or woman who is deciding or has decided to get out of a marriage besides making them feel even more wretched? Is he or she going to say, “Golly, I need to get me some patience and give this another two years!”
So, if you are going to read Breaking Up: Your Step-By-Step Guide To Getting Divorced (and it is a very good read if you find yourself in any of those situations I’ve mentioned), do yourself a favour and skip right over the introduction.
Now we come to the book itself, and here the authors have done an excellent job covering the topic from an emotional as well as legal perspective. From finding a lawyer who suits you, to knowing what the grounds for divorce are, to the specifics of how to go about filing a case and what to expect at each stage – all aspects have been covered well, with examples drawn from their own practice to help us understand better. Some of these examples of warring couples are also a great illustration of how some marriages break down without any villains involved, and how mutual consent divorce can greatly help couples who want to split in a civilised manner – although there is the caveat that when one party does not want to sign off on a mutual consent divorce, the other is often forced to give up something in order to gain it.
There is also some information on personal laws in India for Muslims or Christians in cases where these vary greatly, and on special cases like NRIs who may have got married in India but want to get their divorce elsewhere or vice-versa. In all these cases, the authors focus on giving very practical advice besides the basic legal knowledge needed.
For me one of the eye-openers was the amount of time that Indian courts can take to grant a divorce, which is a result of the general slowness with which courts in India proceed coupled with deep-rooted beliefs that divorce must be avoided at all costs (and if it cannot be avoided, it can at least be slowed down, never mind the cost to the lives of both people!)
Sans the gratuitous advice in the introduction that seems to echo this belief (in a more liberal garb), I would recommend this book for anyone who needs more information on the complex process of divorce in India and would like it all at one place.
Publisher: Shobhaa De Books
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Founder & Chief Editor of Women's Web, Aparna believes in the power of ideas
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