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What You Need To Know If You Are A Non US Citizen Seeking Divorce

by Layla Bryant

Do you want to end your marriage but don't think you can because you are not a citizen of the United States? If you are hoping to become a citizen, are you aware of how a divorce might affect this? Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are a non U.S. citizen seeking divorce.

You Are Entitled To a Lawyer

Just because you are not a citizen of the United States, doesn't mean you can't hire your own divorce attorney. If both you and your spouse reside in the United States, you have the same legal rights as your spouse. Upon hiring a lawyer, you would then follow the divorce laws of the state in which you reside, not where you were married.

Just as in any divorce, the attorney you hire will speak to your spouse's attorney to negotiate issues such as alimony and property division. If there are children involved, a lawyer will also try to settle custody disputes along with visitation rights. Whatever is not negotiated by each of your attorneys will get decided by a judge. Since this might be expensive, it is best if you can settle the divorce through negotiation and mediation.

How Divorce Affects Citizenship

If you are a permanent resident seeking divorce but still want to attain citizenship, it will depend on the following:

  • How long you have been married
  • How long you have been a permanent resident (residency is proven by a visa or green card)

If you married a citizen of the United States, you must be in a marriage relationship for at least three years before you can apply to become a citizen. In a legitimate marriage, there is either shared property or you and your spouse had children together. If you get divorced before these three years, you will have to be a permanent resident for five years to take the citizenship test. 

If you have not been married for three years and are seeking a divorce, you might be able to get a waiver, depending on the circumstances. However, you will want to take precaution. If you haven't been married long, your marriage might be considered fraudulent. If you have permanent resident status, you will not have to worry about getting deported after your divorce.

If you are a non U.S. citizen seeking divorce, you will want to consult a divorce attorney, like those at Hart Law Offices, PC. They will ensure you know your rights and can help you navigate any residency issues that might be affected by your divorce.