Getting divorced is a major emotional upheaval in one’s life. Your entire world goes upside down. The pain and trauma can be really taxing for a woman.
But you need to keep in mind that life will not cease to exist. You will need to pick up the broken pieces and move ahead to fight for your rights. There have been numerous instances of divorce cases where the husband is a US citizen and the wife belongs to a different country. Once she leaves her native land and comes to a new country, she is totally on her own. And if she is faced with an unhappy marriage and wants to end it, she is clueless on what to do.
The first step is to hire a good lawyer and let the experts do the job.
Here are some basic rights that you need to be aware of if you are from a different country.
1- When Wife Is an Immigrant And Husband is a US Citizen
Usually, if the wife is an immigrant and the couple resides in US, the wife gets a conditional permanent resident status, until they remain married for two years.
Before their second anniversary she would need to file a petition with INS for permanent residency status.
If the couple files for divorce before two years, the wife may be deported back to her native country. She can plead to stay back only if she can prove that the marriage was in good faith and not a sham; or that she was tortured and battered.
It may however affect her citizenship process. The good news here is that the wife’s immigration status will not affect her right to marital property or rights of the children.
2- When Wife has a Green Card And Husband is a US Citizen
When the wife has a green card, it means she has already obtained her permanent residency status. So in case of a divorce, she can stay back in US if she so desires, unless it is proved that the marriage was a sham.
However, she needs to complete five years of staying in US before she can apply for US citizenship. While she is in the country she has all the rights of a green card holder.
During the divorce, she has equal rights to marital property and child custody. The court usually has the child’s benefit in mind and not the citizenship status of the parents.