Features of a divorce for non-US citizens

Those who marry a US citizen receive a conditional right to permanent residence or the so-called conditional permanent residency card. After receiving the green card, the current immigration law obliges such persons to submit a joint petition, Form I-751, on replacing the temporary green card with a permanent one, after nine months. If she/he is satisfied, the foreign spouse gets the right to unconditional and unlimited permanent residence in the United States.

The divorce that followed the receipt of a permanent green card, as a rule, cannot affect the status of a foreign spouse, in contrast to a divorce before obtaining a permanent green card, which may result in deportation by the decision of the immigration authority. There is, however, another negative consequence. If the foreign spouse could not keep the marriage for three years after obtaining the right to permanent residence, he or she loses the privilege of accelerated naturalization (5 years). This procedure is subject to the law “The Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments” (IMFA) since 1986.

If you are divorced before the expiration of a year and nine months, you need to apply for a permanent card on your own behalf. You still have a chance to get a green card, if you can demonstrate one of the following circumstances; that you are divorced, but entered into marriage with sincere intentions; that if you are deported, then deportation from the United States will put an extraordinary burden on you, heavier than in case of deportation of other persons; or that you have been mistreated by your spouse (it’s better to be recorded in a court decision).

A former husband, by a court decision, pays temporary maintenance to his wife. But it is temporary (that is, the term will be set in the court decision): the purpose of such payments is to support the former spouse for the period of training the profession, raising or restoring the qualifications lost during marriage, looking for a job, settling in a new place of residence, etc. d. The size of these payments is small, not more than a few hundred dollars a month. If the spouse did not adopt children (not a stepfather), then he will not pay alimony for them. Since there is no legal connection between him and the child.

All cash payments must be specified (and the requirements for them are stated) in the decision of the national (US) court.