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Delhi HC says father’s obligation won’t end on son turning 18

NEW DELHI: Delhi High court stated that providing Rs.15,000 interim maintenance to a divorced woman for her adult son until he graduates or starts working that a father’s responsibilities does not end when his kid turns 18.

Citing the reason, the court said that the full burden of the son’s education and other expenses cannot depend completely on the mother.

The high court stated that it cannot turn a blind eye to rising living costs and that it is unfair to ask the mother to carry the whole responsibility for herself and her son with the modest amount of maintenance provided by her separated husband for their daughter’s maintenance.

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The high court said that the son’s whole spending on his becoming major is now being carried by the mother, while dealing with the woman’s case disputing a 2018 trial court judgement rejecting maintenance to her and granted it just to her two children who live with her.

“The petitioner no. 1 (mother) is responsible for the whole expenditure of the petitioner no. 2 (son), who has turned adulthood but is still studying and so is not earning. The Family Court, as a result failed to see that, the respondent (man) in this case makes no contribution to the petitioner no.2, the petitioner no.1’s salary would not be sufficient for the petitioner no.1 to support herself,” according to the Justice Subramonium Prasad.

The separated couple has two children after marrying in November 1997. Their son and daughter are 20 and 18 years old, respectively, and they divorced in November 2011.

According to the Family Court’s order, the son was eligible to maintenance until he reached the age of adulthood, and the daughter was eligible to maintenance until she found work or married, whichever came first.

The mother lives with the two children. Because the purpose of providing interim maintenance is to keep the wife and children away from starvation, the courts are not expected to go into minute and excruciating details and facts that the parties must show, high court said.

It stated that the court cannot ignore the fact that the son’s education is still ongoing at the age of 18 and that he is unable to support himself because he will have barely completed his 12th grade by the time he turns 18 years old, and thus the mother must care for him and carry all of his expenses.

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It is impossible to say that a father’s responsibility ends when his son reaches the age of 18, leaving the mother’s shoulder the entire weight of his education and other expenses. Because the son has reached adulthood, the mother’s earnings must be spent on her and her children with no contribution from the father.

The court will not be able to ignore the rising cost of living. With the modest amount of support paid by the respondent herein towards the maintenance of his daughter, it is unreasonable to ask the mother to shoulder the whole burden for herself and the son, the high court said.

It was said that the woman’s earnings would not be sufficient to support a family of three, namely the mother and two children and that the money spent on the son would not be enough for the mother.

It stated this while asking the family court to rule on the main maintenance petition, which had been filed in 2008, as a result, this court is inclined to award the mother Rs.15,000 per month as interim support from the time her son reaches the adult age until he completes his education or gets to work, whichever comes first.

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