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Immigration laws can impact divorce arrangements

Even after a marriage has ended, it is not uncommon for issues to arise between exes. Often times, one party may seek to make changes to agreements regarding everything from alimony to parenting time. And while countless people in Illinois and beyond might attest to the fact that some major divorce issues don’t come up until much later, few may be aware of how certain immigration policies can play into divorce disputes. One woman is now seeking alimony from her ex-husband years after their divorce because of terms he agreed to as her fiancé and sponsor.

The case focuses around immigration laws addressing situations where couples seek fiancé or marriage visas. In these cases, the partner that is an American citizen must petition to sponsor his or her immigrating partner. As the sponsor, the individual signs the I-864 affidavit to guarantee that they are financially responsible for their partner. This type of legal provision is designed to safeguard immigrants from being abandoned once they’re in the U.S.; furthermore, it’s intended to prevent immigrants from living on government-funded programs.

Supporters of the law note that it helps to prohibit public assistant funds from being over-exploited. Sponsors must provide for immigrant partners unless they becomes citizens, lose their legal status, or pay into Social Security for a given amount of time. And as the sponsor, the individual is expected to support the immigrant at above the poverty level.

Since her then fiancé did sign the affidavit, the woman contends that her ex-husband is legally bound to pay her alimony. However, the ex-husband argues that he is no longer responsible for his ex because she remarried and divorced again since their marriage ended in 2009. He is hoping the immigration policy will be changed because of their dispute.  

Source: Fox News Latino, “Unique Texas Divorce Case Highlights Little-Known Immigration Clause,” August 13, 2013

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