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LEGAL FAQS

Q: I am 39 years old and may not live long. I have a daughter of 14 months. I will be leaving her money in the form of fixed deposits, NSCs and bank balance. The bank will not accept her as my nominee if I donít appoint a guardian. I want her to get the money at various stages, such as an amount when she turns 10, another when she turns 15 and so on. However, I do not want her mother to be involved in it in any way. Please suggest how I can go about it.

Anurag Sharma, via email

A: Your wife will have a say in matters relating to your daughter as she is legally her natural guardian. But the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956, gives both parents testamentary power of appointment of guardians by way of a will. So you could make a will in favour of your daughter bequeathing the assets to her in the manner you wish and appoint someone you trust as the executor of the will.

 

Q: I left my marital home eight months after my marriage because I was ill-treated by my husband and in-laws. I was pregnant then. I do not wish to go back to my in-lawsí house but I am not considering divorce either. My son is nine months old now. At what age can my husband claim the childís custody? If my husband gets a court order to meet my son, can I prevent it? If yes, how?

Name withheld

A: In all matters relating to the custody of a child the paramount consideration is the welfare of the child. Though the general rule is that a child below the age of five shall be in the custody of the mother, it does not mean that a child older than five will be given to the father. If there is an order from the court granting your husband visitation rights to your child, you may appeal to the same court to set aside that order or file an appeal before the appellate court.

 

Q: I had an arranged marriage 17 years ago and the marriage is registered. My husband is having an extramarital affair. What action can be taken against the woman?

Name withheld

A: Unfortunately Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code does not punish the woman for the offence of adultery even if she is an abettor. The law treats adultery as an invasion on the right of the husband over his wife. There is no provision whereby you can take legal action against this woman. But if she is married, her husband can initiate a case of adultery against your husband.