What happens if we get divorced or separated?

divorce immigration help

Russian bride and then…

It’s a question no one wants to think about. You’ve met the person of your dreams, you want to hurry up and get married and start your life together. But this is something you need to know about in advance because it is always better to be prepared.

Immigration consequences

If you have been married less than two years, then it is possible that the Russian spouse could lose his or her status. However, as long as the Russian citizen can prove that the marriage was real (not done solely for immigration purposes), then the Russian citizen will be allowed to remain in the United States, even if he or she divorces the U.S. citizen.  Click Here to read more from the USCIS

This is good news for most couples. Too often both spouses believe that they need to remain married in order for the Russian citizen to keep his or her immigration status. However, it is just not the case. As long as the couple’s marriage was entered into in good faith, an unsuccessful marriage is not a barrier to maintaining immigration status. In the case of an unsuccessful marriage your Russian spouse will need to consult two different lawyers: a divorce lawyer and an immigration lawyer. If you’re the U.S. citizen, you have no need to visit an immigration lawyer; your spouse’s immigration is not your problem.

In the unfortunate event of spousal abuse, an abused Russian citizen will be allowed to keep their permanent residence after documenting the abuse to the immigration service. Threatening to cause a spouse to lose their immigration status is considered abuse. When the U.S. citizen is the victim of abuse, the Russian citizen may be deported.  Click Here to read more.

Financial consequences:

Part of the immigration process requires the U.S. citizen to prove financial stability and to promise to support the Russian citizen for ten years or until they become a U.S. citizen. This promise does not go away during a divorce. In other words, the paperwork signed by the U.S. citizen obligates that citizen to support the Russian citizen even if they later get divorced. While this sounds crazy and unfair, this is the law. This is why we recommend that both spouses speak with financial professionals prior to marriage.

Read for More Information

What if something worse happens, like the U.S. spouse dies? In most cases, the Russian widow or widower is still allowed to keep their permanent resident status.