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What to Know About Florida Marriage to a Non-US Spouse


They say love knows no boundaries, and it’s becoming increasingly more common for people from different countries to meet, fall in love, and want to get married. Unfortunately, the United States doesn’t always make this easy given the amount of immigration fraud that takes place with people just looking to get their “Green Card.” But, what happens if the marriage doesn’t work out and you want to divorce your spouse who is not from the United States. How does it affect their legal status, and are you financially responsible for them?

If you have questions about divorcing someone who is not from the United States, it’s important to contact a Boca Raton complex divorce attorney who can answer all your questions.

Fiancé Visa

If you plan to bring your significant other to the United States and get married there, there is something called the K-1 visa process. If granted, your fiancé can enter the country and you have 90 days to get married, otherwise he or she will need to go back to their home country at the end of the period. Some people choose to get married first and then apply for immigration because the immigrant spouse has adult children who would not be covered under the K-1 visa process.

Residency Status at Time of Divorce

Non-US spouses are typically granted conditional permanent residency status when they marry a United States citizen. When you are first married, they are basically allowed to stay for two years and then you have to petition for full permanent resident status. If you plan to divorce during this initial two-year period, then your spouse is deportable back to their home country.

There may be exceptions to this, including if the spouse entered the marriage in good faith and the relationship broke apart due to no fault of the spouse. The courts will look at factors like whether you had a child together during this period, bought property, etc.

If you are filing for divorce after the two-year conditional period, your spouse is less likely to be deported if they have filed for permanent residency status.

Child Custody

Child custody decisions are handled the same as any other divorce. Remember, the court’s primary focus is on what’s best for the child, not the citizenship status of your soon-to-be-ex. Marital property will be divided based on the theory of equitable distribution, which states that property will be divided in a fair and equitable manner.

Financial Support After the Divorce

If you signed an affidavit of support to sponsor your now spouse to come to the United States, you may be liable for 10 years to continue supporting your spouse for certain types of government-based financial assistance. For example, if your spouse goes on welfare after the divorce, the government may look to you to recover those costs.

Contact a Florida Divorce Attorney

If you are considering filing for divorce, contact the Law Offices of Schwartz | White at 561-391-9943 to schedule an initial consultation. Let us help you through the complex process of filing for divorce and ensure your rights will be protected.

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