Qanoon Saaz

Understanding Spousal Maintenance Laws in Pakistan


Spousal maintenance, also known as alimony, is a legal obligation that one spouse may have to financially support the other after a divorce or separation. In Pakistan, the concept of spousal maintenance is rooted in Islamic principles and is regulated by both religious and civil laws. This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of spousal maintenance in Pakistan, examining the legal framework, key factors, and the process involved.

Legal Framework:

In Pakistan, spousal maintenance is primarily governed by the Family Courts Act of 1964 and the Family Law Ordinance of 1961. These laws encompass various aspects of family matters, including the financial support of spouses after a divorce. Additionally, Islamic principles play a crucial role, as a majority of the population adheres to Islamic law.

Factors Considered for Spousal Maintenance:

Financial Need: The court considers the financial needs of the spouse seeking maintenance. This includes essential living expenses, medical costs, and any other reasonable expenditures required for a decent standard of living.

Income and Financial Status: The court examines the financial capacity of the spouse obligated to pay maintenance. This includes their income, assets, and overall financial standing.

Duration of Marriage: The length of the marriage is a significant factor. In cases of shorter marriages, the court may grant temporary maintenance, while in longer marriages, permanent maintenance may be considered.

Conduct of the Parties: The behavior and conduct of both spouses during the marriage are taken into account. For instance, if one spouse abandoned the other without cause, it may influence the court’s decision regarding maintenance.

Health and Age: The health and age of both spouses are considered. If a spouse is elderly or in poor health, they may be more likely to receive maintenance.

Process of Seeking Spousal Maintenance:

Petition Filing: The process typically begins with the filing of a petition in a family court. The petitioner, usually the spouse seeking maintenance, outlines the reasons and provides evidence supporting their claim.

Court Proceedings: Both parties present their cases in court. The court may request financial documents, witness testimonies, and other relevant evidence to make an informed decision.

Court Order: Based on the evidence presented, the court issues an order specifying the amount and duration of maintenance. The court aims to ensure fairness and equity in its decision.


Spousal maintenance in Pakistan is a complex legal matter that involves the consideration of various factors to determine a fair and just outcome. The legal framework, shaped by both civil and Islamic laws, seeks to provide financial support to the economically disadvantaged spouse. Understanding the factors that influence maintenance decisions and the legal process involved is crucial for individuals navigating the complexities of divorce and separation in Pakistan.

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