Maintenance law in Nepal

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Maintenance is a legal term prevalent in Nepali society. In Nepali society, it is the duty of the husband to provide for the wife and her livelihood and his children. The legal provision also says that the husband is the one who has to earn and provide for the welfare and maintenance of his family. This provision for the welfare of the family is called the maintenance cost. Article 89 of the Civil Code, 2017, also suggested that either one of the spouses who are capable of earning has to provide for the other spouse. In accordance with the Local Government Operation Act, 2017, if the husband fails to provide for his family, then the wife can file a report against him for the maintenance cost.

Most of the people take the word alimony and maintenance cost as the same. However, both are different in meaning and utilization. Maintenance law suggests that the husband has to provide for his wife staying in the marital relationship. Whereas, according to the maintenance law in Nepal, when the wife asks for the maintenance cost, then the husband has to provide for his wife and her livelihood for life long period.

Alimony is the cost paid for the support of his ex-wife after the process of divorce is finalized. All countries around the world have laws to pay for a woman’s livelihood after a divorce. Although commonly called Alimony (derived from the Latin word alimoris that means Nourishment and sustenance). Alimony in Scotland is called Aliment, in the United Kingdom, it is called maintenance cost and in the United States, it is called Spousal Support. It is the husband’s responsibility to provide for his wife financially before or after the divorce. Alimony in legal terms is defined as Legal obligation on a person to provide financial support for a spouse before or after marital separation or divorce. Although alimony and maintenance are interpreted in the same way abroad. In Nepal, maintenance costs and alimony are perceived in two different ways.

Under what conditions and circumstances can we claim for maintenance costs?

If you want to apply for maintenance costs under the maintenance law of Nepal, you should be living under certain conditions. Those conditions are:

1. Staying married but living separately

When the husband evicts the wife and the children from home forcefully without fulfilling his duty. And the wife has to stay apart or rather the husband forces the wife to stay apart, then the husband has to pay for the maintenance for the wife and children. the law of Nepal states that the wife has the right to stay separately without divorcing her husband. And the husband has to fulfill all the obligations toward his wife.

2. In the case of domestic violence

As women are uneducated and unemployed, they have to depend on their husbands for many things. Being dependent on her husband, she has to endure domestic violence. In the case of domestic violence, the wife can file a complaint in the court against her husband. If the wife is physically and mentally tortured by her husband on a daily basis, then the court will punish the husband and order him to pay for the maintenance cost to his wife. the court will also allow the wife to stay apart from her husband.

3. In the case of division of property

If the process of divorce is not by mutual consent and there are disputes over children rearing and property division. Then the divorce case in the court can be lengthy. Article 99 (5) of the Civil Code Act, 2017 has clearly stated that the wife can file for the maintenance cost until the finalization of the divorce. the court will then evaluate the monthly income of the husband, and then order the husband to pay the maintenance cost to the wife on a monthly basis. 

The conditions under which the husband don’t have to pay for the maintenance cost

It is not always possible for the husband to pay the maintenance cost to his wife. There are certain conditions under which the husband doesn’t have to pay the maintenance cost to his wife. Those conditions are:

  • If the husband doesn’t have any property
  • If the earning of the husband is not enough to maintain himself
  • If the husband is physically and mentally disabled to earn
  • If the wife earns more than her husband


If the husband is not fulfilling his responsibility towards his family and is not providing for the livelihood of his wife. Then the wife can file for maintenance cost under maintenance law in the local bodies or the court of Nepal. If the husband causes domestic violence to the wife and evicts her forcefully from home, then under such condition also wife can claim for the maintenance cost. Basically, the maintenance law allows the wife to stay married but live separately and claim for the maintenance cost in case of the conditions that we have mentioned above. The court will then evaluate the income of the husband and orders him to pay maintenance costs on a monthly basis.

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