Shikhar Dhawan was granted a divorce from his estranged wife, Ayesha Mukherjee, by a Delhi family court on Wednesday.
The court accepted all the allegations made by the Indian cricketer in his divorce petition, as Ayesha Mukherjee, who married Dhawan in 2012, did not mount a proper defense.
Dhawan's allegations against Mukerji
Judge Harish Kumar upheld Dhawan's allegations, stating that Ayesha's actions had caused him significant mental distress by keeping him separated from his only son for several years.
Although the court refrained from issuing an order regarding permanent custody of their child, it did grant visitation rights to Dhawan. These rights allow him to spend time with his son in both India and Australia, including video calls.
Dhawan allowed regular visitation with his son
Furthermore, the court directed Ayesha to facilitate the child's visits to India, including overnight stays with Dhawan and his family during at least half of the school vacation period each academic year.
"Since petitioner is a reputed International Cricketer and has been pride of the nation, subject to petitioner approaching the Union Government of India, it is requested to take up the issue of visitation/custody of the minor son with its counterpart in Australia to help him have regular visitation or chatting with his own son or his permanent custody," the Court ordered.
Dhawan's plea and court's response
As per Dhawan's plea, the wife had initially said she would live with him in India. However, she failed to do so owing to a commitment to her ex-husband with whom she has two daughters. The wife had committed to her ex-husband not to leave Australia where she presently lives with her two daughters and a son from Dhawan.
"He (Dhawan) for no fault of his own had been through immense agony and anguish of living separately from his own son for years. Even though the wife denied the allegation, submitting that though she genuinely wanted to live in India with him, however due to her commitment towards her daughters from her previous marriage requiring her to stay in Australia, she could not come to live in India and that he was well aware of her commitment, yet she did not choose to contest the claim," the judge noted.
Unchallenged testimony of Dhawan has to be believed, the judge said, while adding,
"Hence, it stands proved that the wife backtracked from her assurance of setting up matrimonial home in India after marriage and thus made him suffer a long distance marriage and suffer immense agony and anguish of living separately from his own son for years."