The not-so-sweet face of NRI marriages – and how to prevent it

NRI Marriages issues

 The sacred institution of marriage has become more of a settlement system between two families nowadays. People have started thinking of it as a status symbol and entering into NRI marriages is considered a sign of higher status in society.

NRI marriages imply wedding of a Non-Resident Indian with a person residing in India. Though traditionally this marriage isn’t any different, in several cases problems arise due to various issues such as language constraints, difficulties in communication, no or little information about the local criminal justice, police and legal system, etc.

Also, the women being far away from the family in an alien land often feel isolated. When they face problems with their in-laws they have no one to go to.

The problems which may be faced in NRI Marriages are:

  • Abandonment by the in-laws immediately after the wedding.
  • Brutal harassment, both mentally and physically, after moving to the foreign land. This is usually done to extort more and more dowry.
  • Deserting the woman in the alien country without providing any means of sustenance
  • Facing bigamy. Sometimes in NRI marriages the husband might already be married to some other women and the new wife would be treated only as a domestic help, ill-treated and malnourished.
  • Fraudulent marriage as after marriage it may come out that either of the counterparties has given false information about the job, family, immigration status, marital status, earning and other material particulars.

Preventative measures to avoid these issues

To deal with these problems and keep them at bay, one should take the following steps:-

  1. Confirm the following facts about the families before entering into marriage:-

The families should get the following documents checked and if possible get a photocopy of each of them before performing the wedding.

  • Family background
  • Passport, Visa
  • Alien Registration Card, Voter
  • Tax returns of last few years
  • Bank Account Number along with the statements
  • License Number, Social Security Number
  • Documents related to Property and other assets
  • Details about Education as well as Employment (employers, post, salary, address of the Offices)
  • Immigration Status (type of Visa, eligibility to take the spouse with him)
  • Criminal antecedents
  1. Precautions that should be taken up by the parents of the bride to safeguard her interest in foreign land:-

  • Perform both traditional and registered marriage and maintain a proof of it.
  • Avoid a secretive marriage and do not get engaged in haste. Also, invite a sufficient number of people so that if needed there are witnesses for the wedding.
  • Do not agree to get married only in the foreign land. Reason being that the laws of that country may not be favorable for divorce and abandonment. In this case, the verdict of Indian courts may not hold any standing in the foreign courts.
  • The families should always be aware themselves about the laws in foreign countries related to abuse, domestic violence, divorce, etc.
  • Open a bank account exclusively in the name of the bride that can be used in case of emergency.
  • Always keep prepared the photocopies of essential documents such as the marriage certificate, passport, visa, etc.
  1. Have a safety plan:-

  • Maintain contact details of Police, State authority, helpline, Indian Embassy at the foreign land, Indian welfare officers, social support groups.
  • Stay in touch with friends and relatives.
  • Do not hand over the passport or visa to any unauthorized person.

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