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Could a divorce cause you to be deported?

On Behalf of | Jun 22, 2023 | Family-based Immigration

Your spouse comes to you unexpectedly and says that they would like to get a divorce. You may not agree that the relationship isn’t working, but your spouse is insistent that they do want to end the marriage. You know that this is essentially an inevitability if that’s what they want, and so you agree to go along with the process even if you want to keep the marriage together.

However, one of the big issues that you’re now worried about is that you immigrated to the United States and you used your marriage to get a green card and become a permanent resident. Now that your spouse is asking for a divorce, is the government going to look at your relationship status and decide to deport you because you’re no longer married?

Divorce is not a typical outcome

There are chances that this can happen, but it isn’t very typical. This is especially true if you’ve gotten through the conditional process for your green card. The government understands that roughly half of all marriages end in divorce, and this is a potential outcome for immigrants and natural-born citizens alike. Officials are not going to deport you just because your spouse doesn’t want to be married anymore

If you’re in conditional status, that can make things more complicated. You may be able to still get a green card approved fully, but it may be more difficult if you’re going through a divorce at the same time. The major risk that you face is if the divorce makes it appear that the marriage was a sham to begin with. This is known as green card marriage fraud. If the government believes that the two of you were never in a real relationship and just pretended to be in order to get a green card, and you’re now getting divorced because you’ve accomplished your goal, that could be problematic. But as long as your marriage appears to have been legitimate and to have honestly just ended in a divorce, as is so common in the U.S., then you shouldn’t be deported.

Considering your legal options

That isn’t to say that your situation isn’t complicated. You absolutely need to know about all of the legal options you have, especially if you think that there’s a chance that your immigration status is in jeopardy. Seeking legal guidance proactively, therefore, is probably wise.