Atlanta, GA family law attorney Judith Delus Montgomery talks about how one person is responsible for the other person financially if they have been married and the person is not a US citizen yet.
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One of the ways that it can happen or the most common ways is either you have a U.S. citizen spouse, or you have a child who is over 21 who is a U.S. citizen. Or you are the parent of a minor child who is seeking citizenship. And so what you would have to do is you would have to file what is called I-485. There used to be a time where you could petition Immigration yourself for that, but things have gotten a little bit more difficult because the immigration policies have gotten a little bit more tighter and they are scrutinized a lot more than they’ve ever been.
And so you want to ensure that you have an attorney that is going to assist you in preparing that petition, because that petition entails several other petitions and that people don’t realize that. And so when you’re submitting a package, your Petition to Immigration, you’re actually submitting a package to Immigration, and so they’re going to ask you for a lot of evidence.
One thing that you have to start with is that you have to start with the fact that I am related to this person. You have to prove to immigration that you’re related, and that you’re related either by marriage or by blood. And so you would have to fill another form that says I am related to this person and this is how I’m related to this person. You got to start there. And then you will then, in addition to that add your 485, your Petition for Adjustment.
But here is the other thing. That person is going to now sponsor you financially, which means they are responsible for you financially. So let’s say you and the love of your life that you met while you were visiting here have gotten married and you’re now ready to adjust status. And then you move in together and you start living together, and seven months down the road things aren’t going so well. So now that spouse says I’m going to file for a divorce. And so the parties enter into divorce. Well guess what? Just because you’re divorced, according to Immigration you’re still responsible for that person financially until they become a U.S. citizen.
Once again, is to ensure that that person doesn’t become a burden on the state, either through welfare or whatever other means. We want to ensure that that person is going to be financially able to continue to live in the United States until such time that they are able to work, because initially when you’re adjusting status you may not have a work permit. That means you’re not legally eligible to work in the United States. So until that work permit is approved, you should absolutely not be working in the United States, because that can count against you.
And then even when you begin working, Immigration still does not feel that they’re comfortable enough to say okay, well then you’re no longer responsible for that person because you’re no longer married to that person. So what they will do is they will say that until that person becomes a U.S. citizen, you are financially responsible for them and they can come after you for that.