The Impact Of Divorce On Your Immigration Status
Going through a divorce is already a very difficult time for many couples. When your immigration status remains in the balance, the stakes are considerably higher. If you are facing divorce from a citizen spouse, this article can shed some light on how your immigration status may be impacted.
In this article, you will learn…
- How the contract the citizen spouse has made with the government can benefit the immigrant spouse,
- How a separation may not negatively impact an immigrant spouse’s status, and
- How your place in the process will determine the impact of divorce on your status.
What Are The Major Problems That Arise For The Immigrant Spouse If A Divorce Occurs?
In order to identify the major problems that may arise for the immigrant spouse in the event of a divorce, we first need to determine whether they have a conditional residency. With a conditional residence, the immigrant spouse has to apply for their citizenship with their citizen spouse. That can be an issue if there is a divorce that occurs before that condition is removed.
The second problem that we would need to analyze is the contractual spousal support company. The citizen spouse, or the USC, is signing an affidavit of support when they’re petitioning for their immigrant spouse. It is considered to be a contract between the citizen spouse and the government. However, as a beneficiary of that contract, the immigrant spouse can use it to request spousal support based on that contract in a divorce proceeding.
There are certain things that can terminate that responsibility, but divorce is not one of them. Because of this, the claim to contractual spousal support can be beneficial, to an extent, to the immigrant spouse. It can also be detrimental to the citizen spouse.
What Should Individuals And Spouses Be Aware Of If They Divorce Before An Unconditional Visa Has Been Granted?
One of the biggest concerns is that both spouses are expected to apply for citizenship together if they want to remove the conditions and just apply for citizenship automatically. There is a little wiggle room – a space of time when the application is pending – where you can remove those conditions.
What Happens If I Get Separated Before My Green Card Interview With The United States Citizenship And Immigration Service?
Regardless of your status of separation, your interview with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service will still be scheduled. The separation will only impact the interview slightly if you or the spouse still have conditions on their green card. If not, then that interview should be fine.
There is a small space of time where you can separate it while that proceeding is still pending. One of the things that you’ll have to do is update the interviewer on what is happening. There is much more scrutiny at an interview to remove conditions and citizenship after three years because the whole basis of those conditions is to ensure that this marriage is based on love and not interest in getting documentation.
Does Separation Have The Same Impact On Immigration Status As A Divorce?
A separation does not have the same impact on immigration status as a divorce. In a separation, it isn’t unusual to see the citizen spouse willing to move forward with the interview and their portion of petitioning for the immigrant spouse. This is because couples are often still trying to reconcile during a separation, taking active steps such as going to therapy or addressing other issues causing the separation.
Every situation is different. The impact of a separation on immigration will be very fact-based, depending on what that separation looks like for a specific couple.
What Happens If I Get A Divorce Before The Non-Conditional Green Card Has Been Granted?
If you’ve already been through the interview and are just waiting for the approval, it’s more likely that it’s going to get granted before your divorce is finalized. This should allow you time to notify U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that there has been a change in your marital status. However, it does matter where in the process they are to determine how significant the impacts will be.
If My Spouse And I Are In Divorce Proceedings, Are We Required To Notify Immigration?
You will be asked to notify immigration, especially if you have an interview pending. There are ways to show that this was a marriage based on love, even if you are currently going through a divorce. How you show this would be very fact-driven based on your specific situation. Your attorney can provide their perspective on whether to notify them or whether to proceed with the divorce.
When people are considering a divorce and they’re on a conditional residency, even when they’re on a 10-year green card, they usually try to seek some counsel as to whether a divorce will hurt them in their status. A 10-year green card would not be affected. The most significant time to evaluate whether a divorce is in your best interest would be when there is a conditional green card.
For more information on How Divorce Can Impact Your Immigration Status, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (817) 532-5666 today.