How Do Family Law Issues Affect Immigration Status?
Almost every family law issue can have profound effects related to immigration and your immigration status in the U.S. If you are a U.S. immigrant or if your child is an immigrant, you should consult an immigration lawyer immediately.
- Divorce can immediately affect your status as a lawful permanent resident (LPR). You should speak with a lawyer about filing a Form I-751 (Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence) if your immigration in the U.S. was based on a K-1 or K-3 visa.
- Improperly applying for a fiancé visa or a spouse visa can lead to deportation or removal if you arrive in the U.S. and remain in the country illegally. Just being married to a U.S. citizen or LPR will not protect you if your visa application was flawed or incomplete.
- The process for divorce between a U.S. citizen and an immigrant spouse is different in several ways:
- Some aspects involve U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): Will the immigrant spouse be permitted to remain in the U.S.?
- Ownership of marital assets may be quite different between a U.S. citizen and an LPR.
- Securing spousal support, child support and equitable property division may be quite difficult for an LPR to achieve, especially if a petition to remove the conditions of residence (being married in good faith) is denied by USCIS.
- Child custody is not determined based on immigration status, but rather on parenting fitness and the child’s best interests.
- International child custody can quickly lead to very serious items of concern outlined by the International Child Abduction Treaty of the Hague Convention to prevent parental kidnapping. Proper documentation of legal custody and the safety of the child is essential for parents entering the U.S. with a child, parents leaving the U.S. with a child and children immigrating to the U.S. to join a divorced parent.
- Adoption also requires several important steps and verifications when families adopt children who are not U.S. citizens.
- Immigrant victims of domestic violence can gain protection under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) as can children who are abused. Conversely, immigrant perpetrators of domestic violence will face jail and deportation.
The risks involving immigration and family law are substantial. It is critical that you speak with an experienced immigration lawyer in Texas about your concerns immediately. Attorney David Trevino has been handling immigration law matters with a specialty in family-based immigration for over 14 years.
Schedule An Initial Consultation With Attorney Trevino Now