Is Divorce Decree obtained in the Foreign Land – A Valid Divorce in INDIA?

The Laws differ from country to country. The validity of a Divorce order becomes questioned when the couple has a Domicile in a country and the Divorce decree is obtained in a foreign land. When a marriage is solemnized in India, can a foreign court pass a Divorce Decree and is it a valid Divorce order in India?
The Marriages in India are governed by the personal law and the marriage is recognized through various customs and traditions. It is very common for a couple to migrate to Different countries to stay there permanently or temporarily.
The validity of a Divorce order of the foreign court needs to be analyzed with following categorization:

  1. In the case of mutual consent divorce decree, where both the parties consent for the separation on an agreement terms, the decree granted by a Foreign Court is considered to be legal, valid and binding in the Indian Courts.
  2. In the case where a divorce decree is granted by a Foreign Court in a contested divorce in the following circumstances , the Divorce order becomes invalid in India when :
    • An ex-parte decree is passed by a Foreign Court, (i.e) when one of the party does not appear before the concerned (or) intimation of the case is not informed to the other party. An order of Divorce obtained so, then the validity of the Decree can be questioned and contested in the Indian court.
    • Divorce obtained on grounds other than the grounds enumerated under the Hindu Marriage Act if the parties were married under Hindu Law, as a divorce matter is governed by the law under which one gets married and not the law of the land where the party is residing.
  3. If both the parties contest the Divorce filed in Foreign Land it would be said that both the parties have consented to the jurisdiction of the place, in such a case the decree would be considered to be a conclusive one.

Thus, a Foreign Divorce Decree becomes conclusive only when both the parties contest or consent to the jurisdiction of the foreign Land. When one of the parties fails to appear or if there is no intimation to the other party about a divorce filed in the foreign land, such Divorce Decree shall not bind the other party and can be contested.