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Legal/Financial Assistance Scheme of up to USD $1000 for Women Deserted by their Overseas Indian Spouses

with 2 comments

The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs is running a scheme to provide legal assistance to Indian women divorced/deserted by their overseas Indian spouses.

The domicile of the woman seeking relief under the scheme is not relevant for allowing the benefit and the woman may be domiciled in the country of her overseas Indian spouse or in India at the time of making the application.

Under the scheme, Indian Missions in the USA, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Gulf would empanel credible Indian women’s organizations, Indian community associations, and/or NGOs to provide legal aid to women in distress who have been deserted by their overseas Indian spouses.

The term “Overseas Indian” includes NRIs (Non-resident Indians) and foreign citizens of Indian origin.

The following requirements must be met in order for a woman to be eligible for assistance under this program:

·         The woman must be an Indian passport holder

·         The marriage must have been  solemnized in India

·         The woman’s spouse has deserted her in India or after being abroad within 5 years of the marriage

·         The divorce proceedings are initiated by her spouse within five years of the marriage

·         The spouse has obtained an ex parte divorce within ten years of the marriage, including alimony and maintenance being filed.

·         A woman who has criminal records or pending criminal charges is ineligible to participate in this program.

 The Indian women’s organizations/NGOs will assist with meeting the cost of filing and documentation of each case.  The limit to monetary assistance is $1,000 US dollars, which will be given to the Indian women’s organizations/NGOs, who are responsible for assisting with filing and documenting the case.  It is hoped that community advocates, especially women’s rights advocates, will aide with further legal assistance, court appearances, etc. on a pro bono basis.

Additional information on this program can be found at:



2 Responses

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  1. I was married in india to a US citizen (solemnized and consummated). He brought me on a K-1 visa. Registered marriage in Virginia. I gave birth to a son in Virginia. My husband sent me to India on some false pretexts as he was involved with another woman in the USA. His parents harrassed me for a dowry. His brother in law was making sexual advances.The family tortured me emotionally and verbally . assaulted and battered, I was made to leave for India. My husband kept my son in the US. I had no home to come back to in America. He took ex-partie divorce in Virginia Court without any legal representation afforded to me or even known to me. Took custody of my child from the court by misrepresenting that I was sent notice while I was not. Long story…. Just let me know what I can do? Is there any legal organization which can help? Please reply… Thanks

    monika Sharma M.D.

    January 9, 2009 at 6:41 pm

  2. Sorry to hear about your present situation.

    The K-1 visa allows a fiancée to enter the United States one time only. So, If you left the United States after entering on a K-1 visa, you may not re-enter on the same visa. You can, however, re-enter the United States if you filed for a re-entry permit (Form I-131) before leaving the United States or if after marriage your spouse filed the an Application to Register Permanent Residence (Form I-485) or to adjust status.

    Based on your comment, I am assuming you are now in India and seeking help there. In India you can contact the following agencies, who should be able to help you and/or connect you with associated Indian Women’s NGOs and/or the Indian Consulate in D.C.:

    1. Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs for assistance.

    2. National Commission for Women, a statutorily created organization to protect and promote womens’ interests based in Delhi – link is –

    3. National Human Rights Commission:

    4. Ministry of Women and Child Development:

    Also, see the attached link for a recent article in “The Economic Times” relating to divorce and desertion of Indian brides.

    Hope this was helpful, and we wish you good luck.


    January 11, 2009 at 5:12 pm

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