What You Need to Know if You’re Divorcing a Foreign National

There's no denying that divorce is a complicated process. When a divorce involves a spouse that is not a U.S. citizen, the case can become even more complex.

Divorcing a foreign national, or person who is not a naturalized citizen, is frequently a lengthy affair. If you are divorcing a noncitizen, there are some things you should know. A Shelby or Gastonia divorce attorney can answer your questions and guide you through this complicated situation.

Residency Issues

The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service has strict laws on establishing citizenship. They typically grant foreign nation's conditional permanent residency when they marry a U.S. citizen. Under Section 319(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, a noncitizen can apply for naturalization after two years of marriage to a citizen. 

If you are divorcing a noncitizen within two years of the marriage, your spouse may lose their residency status. Noncitizens must typically apply for a termination waiver if they still wish to pursue citizenship. Both parties must sign this document and show that they entered the marriage in good faith.

Division of Assets  

The Hague Conference on Private International Law established guidelines for dealing with divorces between spouses in different countries. Spouses are generally allowed to choose laws from their country of residence to determine the division of assets.

Although over 80 countries are members of the Hague Conference, many nations have not joined. This situation can create complex issues for divorces involving assets in a non-member country. A divorce attorney is your best bet to helping you in these circumstances.

Child Support

The Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support created ground rules for dealing with international child support payments. They require countries to enforce child support agreements in other nations. Your spouse must still honor child support payments regardless of where they live. Check with the U.S. Department of State if you fear your spouse fled the country to avoid paying child support.

Affidavit of Support

Many spouses of foreign nationals must sign an I-864 Affidavit of Support. This contract establishes that the U.S. citizen will use their financial resources to support their noncitizen spouse. As a sponsor, you are still liable to financially support your spouse after the divorce. A divorce lawyer can help you understand your financial obligations and work to achieve a settlement with your spouse.

Divorces involving noncitizens are filled with many roadblocks. The attorneys at Caulder & Valentine can simplify the process and fight to achieve the best possible outcome. Contact us today at (704) 470-2440 to book a consultation about your divorce.