Interfaith Marriage and Divorce Laws
Interfaith couples should seriously consider legality of your planned marriage(s) as per your country’s laws (see table below). The choice(s) of your marriage(s) (like Nikah, Hindu Vivaha and/or church marriage) have major implications for validity of your marriage, to your married life, and especially during divorce and child custody. You must seek legal advise.
|Country||Reference and additional information|
|UK Marriage Laws||Advise from one expert: UK Laws. This is applicable to most secular countries. For INDIA, see below.|
|Marriage to any Muslim||Sharia laws (VIDEO), Sharia even not converted, International Sharia Laws||Malaysia Marriage laws||Malaysia Marriage laws, Expert’s advise and Marriage Between Muslim and Non-Muslim. Malaysian Government’s site, also read Malaysia interfaith couples, Sharia even not converted,|
|Singapore marriage laws||Singapore’s secular laws|
|Dubai Marriage laws||Dubai Saria Court Registration|
|Jordan||Jordan Marriage laws|
|Israel||Israeli law permits only religious marriages held by religious testimony, and does not allow civil marriages. Among the Jewish population, the Chief Rabbinate, which operates according to Orthodox Jewish standards, has a monopoly over marriage. Only those who are recognized as Jews according to Orthodox Jewish law can get married in Israel. Members of other religions can only marry spouses of the same religion and only by their own recognized religious authority. The result is that no interfaith or non-religious marriages are allowed in Israel. However, the Ministry of Interior registers and accepts civil marriages held abroad.|
INDIAN MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE LAWS
India has a dual system of matrimonial laws. Various communities or groups of communities are ordinarily governed by their personal laws, while at the same time individuals can opt out of the community-specific family-law regime and voluntarily subject themselves to the national laws on civil marriages.
Muslims are governed by their personal laws under which “Nikah” (i.e. marriage) is a contract and may be permanent or temporary and permits a man to have four wives if he treats all of them equally. To have a valid “Nikah” under the Muslim Law, presence of a Qazi (Priest) is not necessary. Merely a proposal in the presence and hearing of two sane males or one sane male and two sane female adults, all Muslims and acceptance of the said proposals at the same time constitute a valid “Nikah”. Under Indian laws, a husband can divorce his wife without any reasons merely by pronouncing three times the word “Talak”. However for a Muslim woman to obtain divorce certain conditions are necessary. Read LegaLight.
Parsees there is a Parsee Marriage & Divorce Act, 1939 that governs the provisions of their marriage and law. Read LegaLight.
Christian are governed by an Indian Christian Marriage Act 1889. Read LegaLight. If one party thereto alone is a Christian, such a marriage becomes valid only if the personal law of the non-Christian Party treats such marriage as valid. Where the wife is a Christian woman and the husband is a Hindu, there is no prohibition under Hindu law for such a marriage. Where one of the parties to a marriage in India is a Christian and the other party is a non-Christian the best course to adopt is to solemnise the marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 (Wikipedia).
B. CIVIL MARRIAGES:
Persons of any religion (Hindu, Muslim, Christian or Parsee) who get married under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 (also called “Civil Marriage”) are governed by the said act.
THE SPECIAL MARRIAGE ACT, 1954 (General Marriage Law):
1. It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir and is applicable also citizens of India domiciled in the terrorists to whom this Act extends.
2. The Special Marriage Act, 1954 provides for a special form of marriage in certain cases and for the registration of such and certain other marriages and also for divorce available to all citizens of India married under the Act. A marriage between any two persons (Muslim, Christian, Hindu and others) may be solemnized after giving notice thereof under the Act. It may be solemnized in any form, which the parties may choose to adopt. After the marriage has been solemnized, the Marriage Officer shall enter a certificate thereof and the parties to the marriage and three witnesses shall sign the certificate of marriage. There is also a provision for registration of marriage by Marriage Officer any marriage celebrated whether before or after the commencement of the Act. The effect of registration of Marriage is that all children born after the date of ceremony of marriage shall in all respects be deemed to be the legitimate children of their parents. The marriage of any member of an undivided family belonging to Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh or Jain religion, solemnized under this Act shall be deemed to affect his severance form the family. The Act provides for remedies like restitution of conjugal rights, judicial separation, nullity of marriage and divorce on the grounds specified to the respective sections 22 to 24. There is provision made in the Act for the grant of alimony pendente-lite and permanent alimony to the wife.
SOLEMINIZATION OF SPECIAL (CIVIL) MARRIAGES
Conditions relating to solemnization of special marriages:
A marriage between any two persons may be solemnized under this act, if at the time of the marriage the following conditions are fulfilled, namely: –
1. Neither party has a spouse living:
2. Neither party is capable of giving the valid consent to it in consequence of unsoundness of mind; or
3. though capable of giving a valid consent, has been suffering from mental disorder of such a kind or to such an extent as to be unfit for marriage and the procreation of children: or
4. has been subject to recurrent attacks of in sanity
5. the male has completed age of twenty one years and female the age of eighteen years;
6. The parties are not within the degrees of prohibited relationship:
7. Provided that where a custom governing at least one of the parties permits of a marriage between them, such marriage may be solemnized, notwithstanding that they are within the degree of prohibited relationship; and
8. Where the marriage is solemnized in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, both parties are citizen of India domiciled in the territories to which this Act extends}.
C. MULTIPLE MARRIAGE CEREMONIES
Sometimes, a couple go through multiple marriage ceremonies to please parents or for personal preferences. For example, Shah Rukh Khan had a court registered marriage followed by a Hindu (and Nikaah too?) marriage ceremony. Legally, only the first marriage ceremony and laws relating to it are applicable. Check with an attorney for details.
Advocate Shuma Talukdar says: September 18, 2013 at 10:18 pm
Law is very clear on this point. Couples of two different faiths willing to get married have to get themselves registered under Special Marriage Act. Once they get registered under Special Marriage Act, they will be governed by the provisions of Special Marriage Act, and other secular laws. Religious laws will have no implications on them. In your case religious rituals after getting registered will have no implications.
Jay: Court marriages can be done in 2 ways.
1. Get a marriage registration application form thats available at court filled by both the girl and boy.
After submission of the form both get a notice at their addresses and they have to respond to it in court which will issue a marriage date accordingly. You will then appear before the magistrate on the given day with 3 witnesses and get married then and there. You also get a marriage registration certificate.
2. There are times when 2 consenting adults want to get married without letting their parents know about it. In case you dont want a notice to reach your home you can directly appeal to the court for marriage.
Please visit any nearby court and meet with any available marriage counselors or lawyer about the same.
The lawyer will prepare your papers and present both the guy and the girl in front of the magistrate and get marriage orders.
This process hardly takes a day or two. You have to provide your identification proof and photographs.
PS- A lawyer will guide you the best. They charge nominal fee for it but in case they charge you a hefty amount visit another lawyer/counselor. –Jay
ADVANTAGES OF A MARRIAGE BY HINDU MARRIAGE LAW:
No Name says: November 22, 2012 at 1:49 pm
Hindu marriage law is governed by The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and Hindu Succession Act, 1956 in India.
1. The Hindu Man and Woman have equal right to divorce his/her spouse under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Divorce can be granted by Court only. Neither by the party himself nor by any group or Religious person.
2. She has all property or inheritance rights not only from her husband but also from her parent under the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. see http://www.lawyerscollective.org/files/LCWRI%20INHERITANCE%20REPORT.pdf also
3. She can marry any other Hindu even is he does not belong to his caste. there is no requirement of Horoscope matching which is a voluntary act. Horoscope matching is a astrology job to match the astrological features of boy and girl. It is not a cumbersome procedure or difficult job.
4. The dowry is banned under the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.
5. No Hindu widow is burned with the dead body of her husband.
6. She can remarry.
7. The widow is not considered to be a curse and she participates in all function. There is no ban in coming in public. She can wear jewelry or colourful clothes. (She takes part in her children’s marriage!)
8. Child and infant marriage is banned and penalised on complaint. -No name.
Other reading materials:
Arya Samaj marriage not valid for a Muslim (Times of India)
Don’t fake-convert (legal issues)
Marriage laws in India – good information
Section 2 in the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939: Grounds for decree for dissolution of marriage.—A woman married under Muslim law shall be entitled to obtain a decree for the dissolution of her marriage… Read
Readers, if you know of special legal cases or have experience, please share it here for the benefit of other interfaith couples.
Disclosures: InterfaithShaadi is an international organization and has no legal credentials in any country. All advise provided here are based on common senses. You should check with a marriage lawyer/attorney in your own country for advise.
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