This week on Lawyer Says, our family law team discusses what to do when you suspect that marital fraud was committed in the name of obtaining a green card.
The Question: What can I do if my spouse married me just so that they can get a green card? I just want out of the marriage.
Hi everyone I made a previous post about how my husband abandoned me after 2 years of marriage. He neglected me emotionally for a year then finally left the end of last year. I didn’t want a divorce to begin with. But after everything he has put me through I just want it to be over with. He left 2 weeks after his green card was approved. Which makes me suspicious he stayed for that long only for it to pass…I had to ask for him to even tell me it was approved. It just seemed very off to me. It has been 5 months and he still hasn’t filed for divorce. I have been waiting for him to file, but still he hasn’t sating it is expensive. But really I don’t think it is that expensive to merit 5 months of complacency. I’m worried it could be financially not in my favor as time goes on and he still isn’t filing and telling me he is talking with a lawyer to help him file. I don’t want anything from him, or to make his life harder even if he made mine difficult. I just want to move on with my life with no issues. The maximum if I would asks is for him to pay his half of the rent because when he abandoned me he left me with close to a year of rent to scramble and pay by myself. It was a high rent that we both paid half and half together. I had to quit college to pay for it. It really hurt my bear future in all honesty…Thank you for reading.
The Answer: Despite having to do with your marriage, this is mainly an immigration issue, and your best move would be to contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to let them know what’s going on.
For starters, we at JC Law want to say that you’re handling their situation with remarkable grace and dignity. Many people feel jilted and betrayed when they suspect that they’ve been used by their spouse (be that for something like a green card or otherwise), but it sounds like you’re ready to move on and look to the future, and that’s a great step towards putting this unfortunate situation behind you.
In regards to your marriage, DO NOT wait for him to file for divorce, go ahead and file for yourself as soon as you’re able. In Maryland, either party can file for a divorce whenever they see fit, so you don’t have to wait on him to get the process started.
Considering your suspicions that your husband has used you for a green card, your immediate next step should be to contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement, otherwise known as “ICE.” Entering into a fraudulent marriage in order to obtain a green card is a federal offense, which could result in your spouse being deported. It’s worth noting that if the other party knowingly married their spouse just to help them get a green card, there could be some consequences for them as well. However, since it sounds like you were unfortunately deceived by your husband, you should be in the clear.
Once again, it sounds like you don’t want to make your husband’s life harder, and as such your best course of action is to just file for the divorce yourself. Since both of you “want” a divorce, you can even seek a divorce under the grounds of mutual consent (AKA an “uncontested divorce”), which is often much faster and cheaper than your stereotypical contested divorce.
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Our automatic disclaimer: We’re lawyers, but not necessarily your lawyer, and do not represent the individual who asked this question. We’re providing this information for general educational purposes based on the publicly available information provided by the anonymous Internet user. Any number of details may change how this individual’s attorney may pursue this legal situation, differently from how we suppose above. If you have a similar question, then you should consult with a lawyer about your specific situation to get a “real” response!