Originally published by Family and Criminal Law Blog.
Will I Lose My Right to Remain in the United States If I Divorce My Spouse?
Divorce can create much stress for any family. Couples going through a divorce may worry about finances, who will remain in the family home, custody matters, alimony, division of assets and much more. For some couples, there is the added stress of a potential immigration issue. If you are in the United States on a visa that was granted based upon your spouse’s application, you could potentially lose your legal ability to stay in the U.S. should you divorce or separate. Below, our Midland divorce lawyer discusses the potential impact of divorce on immigration status.
Divorce for Conditional Residents
Conditional residents who have immigrated to the U.S. within the past two years on the basis of a spouse’s status as either a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident could be affected by a divorce. To have the conditions of your residence removed, you must file a Form I-751 within the last 90 days before your green card is set to expire. Generally, you and your spouse will file this form together. However, if you are separated or divorced you may still seek the removal of the conditions of your residency.
You will need to file the same form, with a waiver to file on your own. You will have to show that the marriage was entered into in good faith. Good faith typically means that you intended to live together as spouses when you wed. Evidence of your life together as a typical married couple will often suffice. This may include evidence of your joint bank account, health insurance policy, a joint mortgage or lease, and the like. If you are already a permanent resident by the time of your divorce, your status will not change.
Further, if you are here on a green card that is not dependent on your spouse’s status, such as a green card based upon your job, your status will be unaffected. If you are a conditional resident concerned about your immigration status should you divorce your spouse, you will want to discuss the matter with your divorce lawyer as soon as possible.