NRI Marriages and Divorce

NRI Marriages and Divorce

 ‘Divorce- a resumption of diplomatic relations and rectification of boundaries’-. Bierce. The most sacred institution which binds persons for a lifetime together is self-destroyed by these two persons. It is an abrupt stop and legal way to end a relationship. The financial trauma of this is excruciating.

The contemporary trend is marriage of a Indian brides with NRI grooms. The recent statistics shows that approximately 225 women from metros get married to NRIs every year[1]. The NRI spouse already has another spouse, and in some cases children also, settled with him abroad. In most of the cases the groom does not take the bride with him leaving her behind with parents. But when the reality is disclosed the girl’s family seeks divorce for their daughter. The various situations which lead to divorce are-

  • FINANCIAL STATUS-The NRI spouses inflate their possessions in the foreign country – home, vehicle, high paying job, but actually might not be in a position to support a family after marriage.
  • INCOMPATIBILITY-The lifestyle of the NRI spouse is too much advanced for the Indian spouse to keep pace with him or her. The NRI spouse feels that he or she is not suitable as a partner and seeks divorce on the grounds of incompatibility.
  • BIGAMY-A person who has married an NRI, later finds out that he/she already has a spouse.

What law applies to NRI marriages?

  • If both the spouses are Indians and have been married under Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 then they can seek divorce with mutual consent under section 13-B that provides for divorce by mutual consent.
  • If both the spouses are residing in USA, or any other foreign country, then they can seek divorce by mutual consent under the country’s divorce laws related to foreign marriages. The Indian legal system will recognize the divorce only if it is with the consent of both the parties.

Case law– Ruchi Majoo v. Sanjeev Majoo-Civil Appeal no. 4435 of 2003 with Criminal Appeal no. 1184 0f 2011 Date of decision 16th May 2016- The Supreme Court has ruled that Indian courts have jurisdiction to deal with custodial disputes of minor children even if a foreign court has passed an order in favour of either of parents. Simply because a foreign court has passed an order considering the welfare of the child the Indian courts cannot shut the matter.[2]

[1] Mr. Sidharth Shah, ‘Divorce laws and procedures for NRI in India’ last accessed on 7th August 2017

[2] last accessed on 8th August 2017

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