DIVORCE & SEPARATION IN IMMIGRATION STATUS
Maryland Family Law Attorney Explains Divorce & Separation in Immigration Status
A divorce or separation can definitely affect your lawful status and ability to stay in the U.S. if you are in the country on a visa that was granted based on your spouse’s application.
If you used your spouse’s status to immigrate within two years of your marriage, you are a conditional resident, and therefore getting a divorce or separation will affect your status. Additionally, divorce or separation may affect your status if your status depends on your spouse’s status.
To protect yourself and your immigration status, you must know the difference between divorce and separation. A divorce is when a court legally ends a marriage and a separation usually allows a couple to remain legally married but live apart. In the state of Maryland, there is both “absolute divorce”, “limited divorce” and separation so regardless of what the spouses intend on doing, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service or Board of Immigration Appeals will interpret state law and decide whether or not a separation or divorce ended the marriage.
Keep in mind; if you got conditional resident status through marriage, that status is limited to two years so in order to become a permanent resident, you must file Form I-751 during the final 90 days before the date that the “green card” expires. Typically both spouses file this form together; however, if the marriage has already ended under state law, you may file it by yourself by filling a waiver. Although divorce may make it harder to become a permanent resident, it is still possible.
You must show that you married in “good faith” which means you intended to live together as spouses when you married. To show this, you may submit documents showing that you shared a normal married life with your former spouse like having a joint lease, a joint bank account, joint credit cards etc. If you already have a green card and are a permanent resident at the time of the divorce, the divorce should not change your status but you may be forced to wait longer to apply for naturalization. If you are facing a divorce or separation, it is wise to find a family law lawyer who specializes in family law and immigration.
Call a Maryland Family Law Attorney Regarding Your Immigration & Divorce Legal Matters
Divorce can be an extremely difficult life event to navigate through. Because it affects the rest of your life, you want to make sure you take the right steps to ensure you get the best benefits, especially as it pertains to your immigration status. The Burton Firm understands how difficult this time could be in your life which is why we provide a strong attorney-client relationship. Give us a call to speak to a Maryland family law attorney today.