CAN A WIFE FILE MAINTENANCE CASE DURING MARRIAGE?
Right to Maintenance of wife during the course of the marriage is not only a moral but also a legal obligation to perform by husband. Under the Family law of Pakistan is a statutory right available to the wife to claim maintenance from the husband. Wife instantly upon Nikah, becomes entitled to maintenance by husband. This right to maintenance is not absolute though as this right emanates from a marriage relationship. This means that as soon as the divorce is effected between the parties, the right to maintenance of wife diminishes.
Question as to how much must be the maintenance of wife defends upon the financial condition of a husband. In some cases, parties during the course of Nikah specify the maintenance amount payable per month in Nikahanama, the same as a full binding effect in Family Court. However, where maintenance amount is not fixed in Nikahnama, Family Court after determining the amount of maintenance of husband, fixed monthly maintenance payable to wife by the husband.
Failure to maintain wife, she can file a suit for recovery of maintenance in Family Court. Suit shall be filed in the Family Court in the territorial jurisdiction of the wife resides. The court upon evidence of the wife and her witnesses declares the amount of maintenance per month and also determines the date of default. Dat of default means the date from which the husband is required to pay maintenance or financial support to the wife.
Therefore, the Wife filing a suit in Family Court must seek fixation of maintenance amount by the court as well as demand from husband past maintenance not paid to her during the course of marriages. The court shall decree the case after evidence. If the husband defies the order of maintenance in favor of the wife, money declared to be payable is recovered by a court from the husband through the sale of his property, attachment of salary or attachment of bank account. If a husband has no asset or salary to satisfy the decree of the court, he can be arrested and be booked for good in jail. Husband cannot default on the ground that he facing financial crises. He shall have to pay the maintenance failing which his non-bailable warrant of arrest can be issued by the Court.
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Wife can claim past maintenance from her Ex-husband but she cannot claim financial support or maintenance from husband for a period in which marriage had been dissolved through Khula or Talaq as the case may be.
Yes, the right to maintenance is available to each wife regardless of whether she belongs to a rich family or whether she is doing a business or job. Husband in all cases is required to maintain his wife.
In normal circumstances, the wife cannot be refused maintenance unless the husband establishes in family court that the wife does not perform her part of matrimonial obligation and in this regard has obtained a decree of conjugal rights from the court of law. Maintenance right also fades away with the dissolution of marriage effected as a result of khula or divorce.