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NRI divorces wife in US court, she fights back


A Hoshiarpur-based woman, whose US-based husband had divorced her by allegedly misleading a US court, has successfully convinced the US court to reopen the divorce case as she was kept in the dark by her husband about the proceedings. Experts say this could be the first-of-its-kind case concerning US courts.

Ms Dalvir Kaur got married to Mr Tej Mohinder Singh, a US resident, on January 16, 1993. A son was born out of the wedlock. Ms Dalvir Kaur was not taken to the USA by her husband and she continued to reside in India.

Some time ago she got the shock of her life when she received a divorce decree issued by the court of Second Judicial, District Court of the State of Nevada. The decree had been issued on January 5, 2004.

According to available information, Ms Dalvir Kaur’s husband had stated before the court that the marriage was incompatible and hence should be annulled. He also claimed that the defendant, Ms Dalvir Kaur, had been personally served a copy of the summons on January 2, 2003, and that proof of the same had been filed in the court on April 29, 2003. Apparently satisfied with his claims, the court allowed his prayer and issued the divorce decree. The order was passed on default basis as Ms Dalvir Kaur did not present her side of the case before the court.

However, on receiving the divorce decree, Ms Dalvir Kaur refused to remain silent. She immediately consulted a Punjab and Haryana High Court lawyer, Mr Amardeep Singh Walia, who prepared a petition for her to send to the court in the USA that granted the divorce.

“Since she did not have the resources to immediately go to the USA, I told her to send a written petition to the court at Nevada and hope for the best. In that petition, Ms Dalvir Kaur has prayed that the divorce decree should be set aside as it had been granted on the basis of a fraudulent claim. She has also prayed that Mr Tej Mohinder Singh should be prosecuted for filing a fraudulent proof of service with the court.

Also, the court has been requested to adjudicate on the issues of child support, spousal support and child custody. Thankfully, the court has taken note of her concerns and has given her the opportunity to present her case properly,” says Mr Walia.

In view of her financial condition, Ms Dalvir Kaur was being granted exemption from depositing court fees and other charges. Incidentally, a court-appointed officer, who looked into Ms Dalvir Kaur’s charges, has recommended that her plea should be allowed as she was not given an opportunity to be heard. “Ms Kaur should have been properly noticed of the divorce proceedings and given an opportunity to respond,” the officer held.

Following the court’s decision that she should be allowed to present her case, Ms Dalvir Kaur was granted a six-month visa to visit the USA.
Remarks Mr Sukhwant Singh, brother-in-law of Ms Dalvir Kaur: “It is amazing how the US judicial system works. On our simple representation, the court understood that a wrong had been committed. We are hopeful that we will win the case.” - Maneesh Chhibber, Tribune News Service

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