Is maintenance amount calculated from salary alone?

Dear experts, I have a query on maintenance. I and my wife have been living apart for the last 7 years but under the same roof. Though our relationship got severed 7 years ago, we continued to stay in the same house ( in different floors) for the sake of our only son. Recently, my wife has started abusing me and my mother unnecessarily and deliberately trying to create scenes. I am afraid that she is trying to get me into some troubles as she is planning to settle down in her parents' place. Hence, I decided to live separately now and file a divorce case, as the marriage is a dead one and no chance of bonding together even for the sake of my son. The purpose of filing divorce is that I want to legally show that I don't want to be in that dead relationship anymore. Though I have evidences to produce in court, I don't want to do it because it will affect my son's future and he may become a target for abusing by others in future. Therefore, though this divorce is not going to be in my favour, i am not bothered about it. But she will definitely file for maintenance as she and her mother, brother are behind money. In such case, I want to know how much money I have to pay her as maintenance. I left my job 7 years ago and took a project assistant position in a NGO. I am drawing Rs.8000/- per month for the last 5 years. To run my family, my mother helps me with her pension. In case, if my wife files for maintenance, whether my salary alone will be taken into account or my mother's pension amount will also be added to arrive at her maintenance amount? Please advise. Thanks


Sir, do hire a prudent competent advocate, do not let someone get the better off you for no reason. And as far as maintenance is concerned your salary wont be the only factor taken into consideration. 

Reiterating the factors to be considered while considering the merits of an application for grant of interim maintenance under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 the Court held that the object behind Section 24  is to provide for maintenance, pendente lite, to a spouse in matrimonial proceedings so that during the pendency of the proceedings the spouse can maintain herself/himself and also have sufficient funds to carry on the litigation and  not unduly suffer in the conduct of the case for want of funds. A spouse unable to maintain himself/herself is entitled to maintenance on the principle of equistatus and respect that the spouse would have enjoyed if he/she continued to live with other spouse.

The Court reiterated the factors to be considered while determining the amount of maintenance as laid down in Bharat Hegde v. Saroj Hegde,  2007.

  • Status of the parties.
  • Reasonable wants of the claimant.
  • The independent income and property of the claimant
  • The number of persons, the non applicant has to maintain.
  • The amount should aid the applicant to live in a similar life style as he/she enjoyed in the matrimonial home.
  • Non-applicant’s liabilities, if any.
  • Provisions for food, clothing, shelter, education, medical attendance and treatment etc. of the applicant.
  • Payment capacity of the non-applicant.
  • Some guess work is not ruled out while estimating the income of the non-applicant when all the sources or correct sources are not disclosed.
  • The non-applicant to defray the cost of litigation.
  • The amount awarded under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code is adjustable against the amount awarded under Section 24 of the Act.

Thank you




Good day,

Under section 125 of CrPC, a wife can claim for maintenance under set conditions, such as if the wife doesn't have a regular income, and if the man is well off, he must pay maintenance to his wife, children and parents. The maintenance amount is not a pre decided amount, it depends on your income and what the court decides.

Keep in mind, that if your wife is a working person, she can't claim maintenance as one of the requirements to claim maintenance is that the person who is claiming must be non working, and doesn't have means to sustenance. The maintenance laws differ with religion, as each religion has it's own laws regarding maintenance. 

Under the various maintenance laws in India, it can be deferred that maintenance after divorce is granted to the wife only on the following grounds:

If the husband has abandoned her or neglected her on his own will

If the husband has tortured her or subjected her to cruel treatment

If the husband is suffering from a virulent or venereal disease

If the husband is living with another wife

If the husband has a concubine which he keeps in the same residence where his wife lives, or he lives with the concubine at some other place.

If the husband has changed his religion to any other religion.

Any other reason that is justifiable for living in separation with her husband.

Under Bhagwan Dutt v. Kamla Devi, (1975) 2 SCC 386- it was decided that women's income will be taken into consideration while determining the amount of maintenance payable to her, and it was also decided that it's not an absolute right of a wife who has been neglected to claim maintenance, nor is it a liability for the husband to support her at all times.


Hope this helped!




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Hon. Supreme Court of India has very recently passed a judgment that very explicitly describes the matter of maintenance for a spouse, it has also prescribed the format of affidavit that has to be submitted by both parties. 




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