Intersection between Immigration Law and Family Law in Maryland
Immigration law and family law would usually intersect in different ways and family lawyers are beginning to realize the several points of intersection and are subsequently making this clear to their clients. This was also made mandatory at the 2010 Padilla vs Kentucky Supreme Court case in 2010 where criminal practitioners were mandated to advise their immigrant clients and non-citizens on the risk of deportation as a result of accepting a guilty plea.
There are different ways both laws intersect, but the three commonest ways are briefly highlighted below.
Date of Separation
It is not uncommon for immigrants that have subsequently gotten a US green card through their marriage to file for citizenship by naturalization. It is compulsory at this stage that the person applying for the citizenship provides the documentation of all divorces and marriages. The USCIS and other relevant authorities would usually find such cases suspicious and sometimes term it as a fraudulent act to obtain permanent residency and could affect the person in future.
Alimony and Enforcement of Affidavit Support
It is required in practically every family-based immigration case for the lawful permanent resident sponsor or US citizen too submit an I-864 Affidavit of Support. This is to swear to financially assist the immigrant to a tune of about twenty thousand dollars every year, for a household of two.
It is however important to note that a case of divorce would not terminate such support and it is mandatory for the sponsor to continue to support the immigrant even after the divorce, until the death of the immigrant or till when he or she becomes a citizen. Other cases that could lead to the stoppage of the support include obtaining new permanent resident status and ceasing to hold permanent resident status.
Immigration relief for battered spouses
When a petition is made for an immigrant spouse by a citizen of the US, the immigrant gets only a green card with two years validity. It is compulsory for the immigrant to petition to remove the conditions. This is usually a joint petition by the immigrant and his or her spouse and the requirement to jointly file the petition can only be waived as a result of the death of the spouse or the divorce of the parties. The joint filing requirement can also be waived if the spouse abuses either the conditional resident immigrant or their child.