chapter  5
50 Pages

- Joint family and property law: Will individualism work?

Joint family law used to be widely seen as the key element of Indian family law and in many ways it still remains in that position today. However, the emergence of new areas of law within the modern systems of family law regulation, as well as the recent prominence given to contentious issues like the maintenance entitlements of divorced wives, divorce law itself, or dowry-related problems, have created a powerful impression that joint family law is less important than it used to be. In reality, questions about the relative entitlement of certain individuals to support from joint family funds, or the extent of the interest of one individual in another person's individual property clearly remain within the umbrella of the old law. We have already seen, in ch. 4 above, that this goes for maintenance entitlements of divorced wives and children. Much could also have been said about the hotly debated issues surrounding dowry, which have not been included in the present study (see in detail Menski 1998b).