Preparations for the big fat Desi Wedding are the most exciting part of our lives. We wish to get the best of everything from clothes to shoes to makeover to venue. The only surprise deal that you get as a bride is a piece of pre-filled paper that you are required to sign.
While seemingly insignificant, this piece of paper aka Nikkahnama pretty much decides the course of your future and the extent to which you can have control of your life. Unfortunately, a good chunk of the paper that gives you the right to decide about your future is cut out before it reaches you to sign. This is the most important part of the document and it gives you legal rights to be able to resolve more than half of the issues that most women face in our society.
The Right to Set Mehr and Ask for It At Any Point
The amount of dower or Mehr is to be decided mutually between the Bride and Groom. Contrary to popular opinion, the bride can ask the groom to pay her the complete Mehr at the time of Nikkah.
The bride also has the right to ask for any kind of property or asset as Mehr. This wife will have complete legal authority over this property even if the marriage dissolves.
Right to Divorce
This is one of the most important clauses that is cut out in the Nikkahnama and is often confused with Khulaa. If you have reserved your right to divorce in your Nikkahnama you have the authority to ask your husband to divorce you and he cannot divorce you.
Both the parties can decide the conditions under which the wife can ask for divorce. Having this right, works the same way as the husband giving divorce in his discretion and does not require to wife to forgo her Mehr or any gifts given to her by the husband. However, if a wife does not have this right and she wishes to end the marriage, the only way is to seek Khulaa from court, under which she is asked to forgo her Mehr and gifts from husband in her possession.
Restricting the Husband’s Right to Divorce
Interestingly, the wife has a right to alter or restrict the husband’s right to divorce unnecessarily and set conditions under which divorce will be valid.
Demanding Financial Allowance
This clause gives the wife a right to set her financial allowance payable by the husband. She can also put in specific details and expense heads that she would like to be taken care of by the husband.
Restricting the Right to Remarry
This clause gives you the right to put restrictions on the husband’s right to remarry. In this case he will not be able to marry again without your consent.
Nikkahnama is the legal agreement between the two parties who will be spending their lives together. Reading up on it and putting in all the necessary clauses with mutual discussion can save you from a lot of conflicts and problems later and can provide greater stability to your relationship.