Sun | Sep 23, 2018

IMMIGRATION - What should my fiancé do?

Published:Tuesday | December 30, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Good day Mrs Huntington:

My fiancé is a United States citizen. He had previously filed for his ex-wife and four of her children. I know divorce does not relieve him of his contractual agreement based on the affidavit of support agreement. His ex-wife and children now reside permanently in their home country for about two years now. If my fiancé, after our marriage, files and submits another affidavit of support, how can he prove they no longer reside in the US so they are not counted in the total for family on the AOS form?

Thank you kindly as I await your response.

- T

Dear T:

An affidavit of support binds the sponsor or joint sponsor to support the intending immigrant for 10 years or until the person becomes a United States citizen - whichever is sooner, if it becomes necessary. You have correctly stated that divorce does not stop the requirement of the sponsor or joint sponsor to support the ex-spouse.

The responsibility to support the new immigrant ends also if the immigrant dies before the 10-year mark or before becoming a US citizen. The commitment also ends if the immigrant gives up their permanent residency and leaves the United States. The key here is whether your husband's ex-wife and children surrendered their residency and returned to their home country. A Green Card holder can technically be physically residing outside the United States, while still maintaining their residency in the United States and would, in that case, still have a basis to stake a claim for support if they were to return to physically reside in the United States.

If in fact your husband's ex-wife and four children surrendered their residency, he should so advise with their alien numbers to US Citizenship & Immigration Services. If that is going to delay the processing of your Green Card, it may just be simpler for your husband to find a joint sponsor if his current income is insufficient to support you and his previous beneficiaries.

Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington, Esq. is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and Family, Criminal & Personal Injury Law in Florida. She is a mediator, arbitrator and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida; and an adjunct professor at Miami Dade College's School of Justice.