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Cricketer Shikhar Dhawan married Melbourne-based kickboxer Aesha Mukherjee in 2012, who is 12 years older than him, and has two daughters from her previous marriage. The couple had a 10-year-old son, Zoraver Dhawan, in 2014. However, in September 2021, the pair decided to part ways with each other and filed for a divorce, after 11 years of marriage. On October 4, 2023, the family court in Patiala House Complex in Delhi, granted divorce after hearing to both the parties, stating that Mr. Dhawan went through “immense agony and trauma” after living apart from his son for years.
Why did Shikhar Dhawan decide to divorce?
Mr. Dhawan decided to divorce his wife on the grounds of ‘mental cruelty’ as he felt that he was kept out of touch with his son for years. Mr. Dhawan revealed that Aesha promised to move back to India after their marriage but did not deliver on her promise, as moving back to India meant that she would be forced to lose custody of her two daughters from her previous marriage. Dhawan stated that he could not move back to Australia due to his “career commitments”. Consequently, he had to stay away from his son for continued periods of time.
Mr. Dhawan also alleged that his wife forced him to pay child support, not only for his son but also for her two daughters from her previous marriage, despite receiving child support from her first husband. He also stated that his ex-wife Aesha forced him to make her the proprietor of three properties that Mr. Dhawan had bought in Australia. She is a co-owner of two properties and owns up to 99 percent of one of the remaining properties.
Along with these statements, Dhawan has also said that Aesha agreed to marry him in order to “extort crores of rupees from him” as she continued to threaten him that he did not agree to her demands of money, she would fabricate evidence that will defame his career and reputation.
The Court’s Judgment
Family Court judge Harish Kumar stated that even though Aesha Mukherjee has denied such allegations, she was unable to produce any evidence that suggested otherwise (Aesha was required to show that she had purchased the said three properties from her funds as well but could not do so). As a result, the court has accepted Dhawan’s claims to be true. The court stated that being in a “long-distance relationship” and living separately from his son has made Mr. Dhawan go through “immense agony and anguish” for no fault of his own and made it impossible for him to do anything to “save the marriage”.
Mr. Dhawan has also put a petition in the court asking for the permanent custody of their son Zoraver, stating that it has been both morally and psychologically detrimental for his son to stay with the respondent as she has not ensured their son’s welfare, right from his birth. However, the court has refused to pass any judgment on who gets to have permanent custody of their son.
The court has advised Aesha Mukherjee to bring Zoraver to India for visitation purposes and allowed Mr. Dhawan to visit his son, both in India and Australia, which also includes overnight stays with him and his family members. The respondent is also put under the obligation to let the child have unsupervised meetings with his father, as and when Dhawan visits Australia by giving an intimation in advance, with respect to the academic schedule of Zoraver.
Shikhar Dhawan on his separation from his wife Aesha
In an interview with Aaj Tak. Dhawan stated that he doesn’t want to “point fingers at others” as he believes that he failed due to his own personal decisions. He said that 20 years ago, he wouldn’t know the field of cricket as he knows now and similarly if he chooses to marry again in the future, he would know what kind of girl he wants to share the rest of his life with. He continued that when he fell in love with Aesha, he “couldn’t see the red flags” but if he fell in love again, he would be “able to see those red flags”, depending on which he would choose either to walk out or carry on.
When asked if he has any piece of advice to give to younger generations, Dhawan commented that it is important to spend time with the person you are in love with, so as to see if “you enjoy each other’s company” and if “your cultures match”. The key is to “experience it” and not rush into hasty decisions like marriage.