Facing A Divorce Involving A Non-U.S. Citizen?

Even with countless divorces yearly between Americans, what happens when you want to terminate your marriage, yet your spouse is a non-U.S. citizen? When you have two American citizens divorcing, things can be a little more clear-cut. That said, a divorce between an American citizen and one who is not officially recognized as such can still move forward.

For couples in this situation, working with a Seattle divorce attorney is a sound bet. At V. Freitas Law, PLLC, we can clear up the myriad questions you are likely to have.

Divorcing A Non-U.S. Citizen Isn’t The Same

What if your spouse is located abroad? You will face many challenges that aren’t present in a typical divorce case.

Serving your spouse overseas with divorce papers is not the same as when a partner is stateside. In order to get things moving, you first need to know the divorce regulations in place for where your spouse is currently residing. Is that country a part of a treaty that the U.S. is involved with? Specifically speaking, you want the service validated in the country where they are residing to correspond with services here in the U.S. Once you start working on your divorce petition to the courts, be sure to note not only all information that you presently have on your spouse but also the legal grounds you are claiming for the divorce.

What if your spouse refuses to return to the U.S.? In a worst-case scenario, the judge here in the U.S. might move forward with a default judgment of divorce in the event your spouse chooses not to return to the country. Also note that if your spouse is not a recognized U.S. citizen, they may end up fighting to stay in the country.

Immigration Considerations For Divorcing A Non-Citizen

Typically, if you married a non-U.S. citizen, they received conditional lawful permanent residency. That immigration status remains in effect for the first two years of the marriage. If the individual wants to get the entire (nonconditional) permanent resident status, they are required to file a petition with INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) before the second anniversary of receiving conditional permanent resident status. In the event the couple remains married at that point, then the immigrant partner will be looked upon as a full permanent resident of the U.S. If a divorce has taken place, that immigrant spouse can be deported.

Is An International Child Custody Dispute Awaiting You?

If your divorce involving a non-U.S. citizen also has child custody implications, you may be facing challenging questions such as:

  • What if my partner is seeking to take our children back to their homeland? What rights do I have to stop them from doing so?
  • If my soon-to-be-ex has already taken our children out of the country, what can I do to get them back here? Of most importance, do not assume you have nowhere to turn. With the right family law attorney working for you, you have a fighting chance.
  • What if we are here in the U.S. on a work visa? How will that impact our divorce and custody matter?
  • Will the age and/or health of my children be a factor in deciding custody?
  • Should I temporarily relocate to the country where my children are to legally fight to get them back?

Given how important your children are to you, having the right legal counsel by your side is imperative to getting answers and avoiding costly missteps. The right attorney will work with in doing everything possible when it comes to protecting your child’s best interests

Let An Experienced Seattle Family Law Lawyer Guide You

As you see, there are a number of moving parts in such divorces. By working with the right divorce attorney, you can more effectively work toward the result you want. Call our firm today at 206-536-2875 or reach out online for more information.