Can I Protect My Immigration Status If I am About to Divorce? 

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Can I Protect My Immigration Status If I am About to Divorce? 

Divorce is a stressful and complex time for your family, especially if your U.S. residency status is dependent on your marriage. While it’s understandable to be concerned about the impacts of a divorce, Kriezelman Burton & Associates, LLC can help you protect your immigration status. 

Before you finalize a divorce, you will need to know the potential impacts on your residency status. Our attorneys can help you understand whether a divorce may put your immigration status at risk: call for a case evaluation.

Does Divorce Impact a Green Card Application?

Your prospective legal status after a divorce may depend on the current status of your immigration case. The immigrant spouse will probably need to rely on their own immigration status if there hasn’t been a visa application based on marriage. This may be determined by whether the spouse entered the country on a temporary visa, such as one for travel or employment. 

A legal residency that is based on marriage grants conditional residency for no longer than 2 years. After that time period, the U.S. citizen can submit a petition to change their status to lawful permanent resident. Typically, the USCIS completes an investigation to determine if the marriage was completed in good faith. 

Common Problems in Divorce Petitions

Depending on your spouse’s status, as well as the immigration benefits you received, a divorce can impact your status as an immigrant. For instance, an individual who is married to a U.S. citizen only needs to wait three years to receive a green card. If the individual gets divorced, however, they will no longer be qualified and therefore will need to wait the typical five years. 

A few of the common issues include: 

  • Bad Faith. If an immigrant couple divorces, it may allege bad faith in the eyes of the court. This is due to the possibility that the non-citizen is seeking a green card specifically, rather than having had married out of genuine commitment. To protect your immigrant status, you will need to use careful language in the divorce decree to show that the marriage wasn’t completed in bad faith. 
  • Wrongful Allegations. Even if your spouse claimed that the marriage was made in bad faith in the petition, these claims are not considered facts, as you can prove that the marriage was made in good faith by providing evidence. However, this does mean that the spouse will not be able to support your application for permanent residency. Our attorneys will work to build a solid case in your favor. 

Request a Waiver of the Requirement to File a Joint Petition

When a marriage ends during the 2-year conditional residency period, the noncitizen spouse’s legal status may be at risk. However, they can submit a Form I-751 to waive the joint filing requirements to obtain a green card. Often, the spouse must provide evidence that the marriage was made in good faith, which can include the final divorce decree and other documents outlining the situation surrounding the marriage’s termination. 

Certain circumstances may warrant a waiver of joint filing: 

  • Deportation would lead to significant hardship,
  • Abuse of a spouse or conditional resident child took place, 
  • The petitioning spouse passed away, or
  • The marriage was terminated for reasons other than death. 

If the divorce is ongoing while the I-751 deadline occurs, and the U.S. citizen spouse denies the request for a joint petition, you’ll need an attorney. Our team provides the guidance needed to protect your rights. 

Talk to an Attorney

Divorce is never easy, especially if your immigration status may be impacted. Kriezelman Burton & Associates, LLC supports you every step of the way. Call to discuss how you can protect your immigration status with our skilled attorneys.