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Is there any difference between divorced and separated in India while applying for Passport?

Q. When filling an application form for passport, I noticed four columns regarding marital status viz, single, married separated and divorced. Is there any distinction between divorce and separated?

Dissolution of marriage done by court in a legal proceeding when a petition is filed by one of the party to marriage is divorce. Legal separation happens when a court gives decree,where a man and wife cease to cohabit but marriage is not dissolved as it happens in divorce.

Section 10 of Hindu Marriage Act 1955 explains about judicial separation where party to marriage can put petition in the district court and pray for judicial separation decree on any of the following grounds, if other party has:

  • Deserted the petitioner for not less than 2 years at the time of petition is presented;
  • Treated the petitioner cruelly;
  • Has been of unsound mind or lunatic for a period not less than 2 years from the time of petition is presented;
  • That the other party has been suffering from venereal diseases.

Desertion here means without reasonable cause or consent of the party to the marriage. Judicial separation decree can be rescinded by court if it thinks it is just and reasonable to do so. Legal separation also called as separate maintenance, or divorce from bed-and-board. It is a legal process where married people have a de facto separation but remain legally married. When there is mental pressure between couples it can be eased by just staying away from each other. Some types of separation that exist are trial separation, living apart, permanent separation, legal separation.

When court confirms and gives judgment to dissolve a marriage contracted by a man and woman it amounts to divorce. Even in cases where marriage is utterly null and void no party can treat the other as sole until a decree of divorce is made. In a divorce health insurance coverage of spouse ends but in legal separation it continues. Legal separation is considered as a softer option to divorce but divorce is considered a more extreme step. In legal separation couples have a chance to get back together and save their marriage. It can neither be denied nor avoided that divorce industry seem to be growing in a very fast pace it may be because people now do not consider the end of the world if they go for divorce as it was considered some decades back. G.V.N. Kameswara Rao vs G. Jabilli on (10 January, 2002) court granted decree for dissolution of marriage on the ground of cruelty which is considered as one of the reasons for divorce under Hindu Marriage Act 1955.

by Sushma Javare.