The immigration process is a long and sometimes stressful situation. However, the light at the end of the tunnel when everything comes together is eventually U.S. citizenship.
One of the most common paths to citizenship is marrying an American citizen. However, as we’ve seen first-hand on reality television, these arrangements don’t always work out.
Despite a failed marriage a person going through the immigration process usually still wants to gain citizenship. Let’s dig deeper into how divorce could impact the immigration process and if citizenship is still possible once a couple signs their decree.
It Could Make Your Marriage Look Fraudulent
Not every marriage between a citizen and an immigrant is an easy attempt at a green card. Many of these marriages start out with true love and the best intentions.
However, some of these marriages fall apart naturally and a couple ends up filing for divorce. When this happens, not only are the couple’s lives changed forever, but the spouse going through the immigration process may be on their way back to their home country.
The Two-Year Rule
In Texas, if a marriage between a citizen and an immigrant doesn’t last longer than two years, the spouse who emigrated to the United States must leave the country and return to their home.
Keep in mind that the courts do not contact immigration authorities but the immigrating spouse is still expected to leave the country on good faith.
Can a Couple Separate Without Ramifications?
As with many legalities, there is always an exception to the rule. With the help of your immigration and divorce attorneys, an immigrant spouse is likely able to stay in the country under the following terms:
- The marriage occurred in good faith
- The couple purchased property together
- The couple have children together
- The deported spouse would face extraordinary hardships in their home country
- The illegal spouse was a victim of abuse in the marriage
What if Your Marriage Lasted Beyond the Two-Year Anniversary?
If a marriage lasted longer than two years, it’s likely that the immigrant spouse has already gained permanent residency.
Therefore in a situation where a divorce occurs, there are bound to be fewer legal hoops that the immigrant spouse needs to jump through.
However, nothing should ever be assumed, and the divorcing parties should always hire an immigration attorney to help clear up any confusion that could develop during the divorce process.
What if a Child is Involved?
If the divorcing couple had a child in the States, custody isn’t decided based on citizenship. As with all custody cases, the parent who offers the best possible situation for a child is the one granted primary custody.
Navigate the Complexities of Divorce With Nilsson Legal Group
No matter your citizenship status, no one should be forced to stay in an unhappy marriage. If you are considering a divorce, let the family law attorneys of Nilsson Legal Group help you get through the process.
From serving divorce papers to helping you divide assets, our team of lawyers can make the outcome of your divorce a ruling in your favor.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our firm.