Here in Texas, we have many residents who build lives in the community after immigrating to the United States, often marrying citizens in the process. Of course, these marriages are just as likely to face divorce as any other marriage, and when the relationship ends it often impacts the immigrant spouse in ways that citizens simply never encounter.
As immigrants work toward permanent resident status while married, they must file certain forms within certain time periods and follow some fairly stiff guidelines to lift their resident status from conditional to permanent. If divorce comes knocking and the marriage fails while the immigrant spouse is still a conditional resident, the citizen spouse must still file the forms jointly with the immigrant spouse for them to receive permanent resident status.
Of course, this is not always something that the citizen spouse is willing to do. Divorce can certainly turn nasty, and denying an ex-spouse the opportunity to make their own life may be too tempting for the citizen spouse, or they may have other legitimate reasons for not wanting to participate.
In these instances, it is still possible to lift the immigrant spouse’s conditional status, but they must file a waiver that indicates the divorce occurred or is in process and that the citizen spouse is unwilling to file any other forms jointly.
A strong legal strategy for your divorce looks at all of the ways that divorce affect your life and helps you build a strong plan to protect your own rights and interests.
For those still seeking permanent resident status, a clear understanding of the law and what it does and does not offer is crucial. Make sure that you have the tools and guidance you need as you work through your divorce and begin a new life.