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Arranged marriages don't always work out in the US

Even though many communities across the world, including many European cultures, have had arranged marriages in the past, they are most often associated with South Asia. Since a number of people from South Asia are moving to and raising children in the Philadelphia area, there has been a small number of Pennsylvanians participating in arranged marriages of their own. With a 30 percent increase in Indian Americans from 2000 to 2010 in Philadelphia (not to mention Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Nepali Americans), arranged marriages are an option for many first-generation adults.

The problem is, however, that these marriages don't always work out. Even though the divorce rate in India among arranged couples is a shockingly low 1.1 percent, there are still significant societal pressures that dissuade unhappy couples from seeking a divorce. Yet in South Asian-American communities there is less of a stigma.

One 29-year-old woman from Northeast Philadelphia has been married to an Indian man for the past two years. At the age of 27, she went with her family to India to meet and marry a man. While she returned home and he waited in India, presumably for a visa, the young woman quickly realized that she and her husband wanted very different things from life. She felt like he was only using her to get into the country.

Although some arranged marriages work, many others end just like nonarranged marriages do: in a Pennsylvania family court. And, just like a nonarranged marriage, individuals in arranged relationships will likely want to work with an experienced family law lawyer should they start down the road to divorce.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, "Arranged marriages not for everyone," Diana David, April 2, 2014

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