Could Divorce Actually Benefit Your Immigration Case? 3 Surprising Facts About Immigration & Divorce
It’s rare that we talk about divorce as a situation that can actually benefit an immigration case. As an immigration and divorce attorney, so much of my time and attention is spent untangling the impossibly complicated webs created when divorce is intertwined with immigration. However, there are some circumstances under which divorce can actually benefit an immigration case. If you find yourself in any of these circumstances, be thankful—divorce doesn’t always reap positive rewards for immigrants!
1. If you are a married son or daughter of a U.S. citizen
If your parents are U.S. citizens and petitioned for your permanent, legal residence while you were married and over the age of 21, then your divorce could actually decrease your wait time—by a lot. Green card wait times for married adults who are sponsored by their citizen parents can be as long as 22 years. However, for single adult children of citizens, the wait time is, on average, 10 years shorter. If you’ve already been waiting a while, don’t worry—your wait time doesn’t restart when your marital status changes.
2. If you are a married son or daughter of a permanent, legal resident
If you are married, your green card holding parents cannot petition for your permanent legal residence. However, if you become single, your parents can file a petition for your green card. If you are over 21, they can file under family based second preference (F2b) category, and if you are under 21, they can file under family based second preference A (F2a) category.
3. If you are a conditional legal permanent resident
If you obtained your green card through a marriage-based petition filed by a U.S. resident spouse, your conditional legal permanent residence is valid for only two years. If you and your spouse did not file a joint petition to remove this condition upon getting married, it may be difficult to get your spouse to cooperate if your marriage goes south. If you file for divorce before the two years is up, you will have a chance to file for a waiver which would allow you to extend your legal permanent resident status in one year increments, until a final decision is made about your divorce case.
In Ohio, to file a no-fault divorce, you must be able to prove that you and your spouse have been living apart for at least one year, and are incompatible with each other. Otherwise, you will need to file for divorce using fault—and be prepared to prove your argument.
The safest bet, if your immigration status could be impacted by divorce, is to contact an immigration, divorce, or family law attorney who an guide you through the process in the most seamless way possible. I am one of Cleveland’s most compassionate immigration and divorce attorneys—I would love to help you achieve your desired outcome.
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