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Dealing with potential immigration issues during mediation

Many currently living in Salt Lake and throughout the rest of the United States are immigrants who share the dream of obtaining permanent residency or even U.S. citizenship. One way that immigration officials have identified that immigrants could potentially be obtaining legal residency status is marrying to obtain a green card. According to information compiled by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service and shared by ABC News, over 227,000 immigrants obtained green cards via marriage in 2009.

Some of those who’ve come to see us here at Just Law who’ve been through such a process and are now contemplating divorce worry that immigration officials could question the legitimacy of their marriages. In this post, we’ll examine steps that could be taken during mediation to ensure one’s immigration status is not endangered.

Those granted conditional residency through marriage typically have to re-apply to have their residency restrictions removed after two years. If one has already divorced by then, he or she will have to include with their petition sufficient evidence supporting the validity of the marriage. If he or she had already achieved permanent residency prior to the divorce, potential issues could still arise if and when he or she seeks citizenship. Again, documentation must be provided to prove the marriage was valid. If not, one could realistically face the possibility of deportation.

Immigrant spouses may want to consider divorce mediation as the time to obtain such proof from their former spouses. Obtaining copies of joint financial records, credit card statements, and even gift receipts may be a good idea, as well as of the original marriage license and copies of the birth certificates of any children a couple may have had together.

For more information on issues to be addressed during divorce mediation, visit our Mediation Litigation page.


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