A Hindu Joint Family or Joint Family is an extended family arrangement prevalent among traditional Indians of the Indian subcontinent, consisting of many generations living under the same roof. All the male members are blood relatives and all the women are either mothers, wives, unmarried daughters, or widowed relatives, all bound by the common [sapinda] relationship. The joint family status being the result of birth, possession of joint cord that knits the members of the family together is not property but the relationship.
The family is headed by a patriarch, usually the oldest male called “[Karta]”, who makes decisions on economic and social matters on behalf of the entire family. The patriarch’s wife generally exerts control over the kitchen, child rearing and minor religious practices. All money goes to the common pool and all property is held jointly. There are several schools of Hindu Law, such as Mitakshara, the Dayabhaga, the Marumakkathayam, the Aliyasantana etc.
Broadly,Mitakshara and Dayabhaga systems of laws are very common. Family ties are given more importance than marital ties. The arrangement provides a kind of social security in a familial atmosphere. * | A joint family of the South Indian Bunt community (circa 1900). Six key aspects of a joint family are: * Head of the family (Karta) takes all decision regarding financial and economical aspects of family. * All members live under one roof. Share the same kitchen. * Three generations living together (though often two or more brothers live together, or father and son live together or all the descendants of male live together). * Income and expenditure in a common pool- property held together. * A common place of worship. * All decisions are made by the male head of the family- patrilineal,patriarchal. * No division of property until the death of the Karta (head of family or older male person).