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Indian (from India) Marriage and Divorce

A large portion of my divorce clients either come from India or were married in India.  And a large portion of those clients wishing to get a divorce was paired in an arranged marriage.  Sometimes the other spouse is here in the United States through a visa and sometimes they’ve already gone back to India or were never here in the first place.

Conducting a divorce of an Indian couple, especially of an arranged marriage, poses some cultural issues.  First off, legally, they can get divorce either in India or here in Massachusetts if one of the spouse has lived here for the past year.  In these international divorce situations, it’s often a lot easier to try to get the couple to come together to file an uncontested divorce because initiating a contested divorce internationally is very difficult.  If the couple decides to divorce here in Massachusetts, it simply proceeds as usual.

When the divorce is granted, nothing needs to be done in India.  If the spouse that lives here eventually wants to go back to marry again in India, he or she simply has to get a Divorce Certificate and register it in India so that they can get married again.  If they don’t intend on getting married again in India, registering the divorce in India is not necessary.

The cultural issues is that since it was an arranged marriage, both the husband and the wife’s family has to be involved in the divorce process as well.  Most of the time, there was a dowry paid by the wife’s family to the husband’s family and if there is a divorce, it needs to be given back.  These cultural issues needs to be negotiated and completed before a legal divorce here in Massachusetts can occur.

If you have an international divorce situation, it’s a good idea to have an attorney that has dealt with the countries before and knows the process.  In the alternative, you could get an attorney in the other country to make sure your divorce in Massachusetts will ultimately be valid overseas as well.

3 Comments on “Indian (from India) Marriage and Divorce

  1. “Most of the time, there was a dowry paid by the husband’s family to the wife’s family and if there is a divorce, it needs to be given back.” is completely wrong. It is the other way around. Don’t include statements if you don’t know enough about the culture.

  2. Thank you for that correction. I do know that most of the time the dowry is from the wife’s side of the family. I simply mistyped since in other parts of the world, you see more of the situation where the husband’s family gives the dowry. However, in India, giving a dowry is illegal but people still do it regardless.

  3. I agree with moon thats not always correct. But wife also misuse US laws. She get married to H1 holder and then leave husband after getting residence status.

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