Thu | Mar 22, 2018

Immigration Corner: I got divorced during filing. Now what?

Published:Tuesday | March 10, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Hello Mrs Walker-Huntington,

I recently got divorced and I'm looking to marry a United States (US) citizen with whom I share a child. During my previous marriage, my then wife's mother had started filing for us. The petition went in about 2006-2007.

I am wondering how the situation would be dealt with upon remarrying. I am thinking that it may show up that I was being filed for and that I am still married.

I need your advice before proceeding.

- J.M.

Dear J.M.,

Depending on what stage of the process the petition is that your ex-mother-in-law filed, your ex-wife should notify the respective US agency of your divorce. It will enable her to be processed faster, because the divorce changed her category from that of a married daughter (F3) to that of a single, adult daughter (F1), and will lessen her waiting time for a visa.

When you marry your new wife and she files a petition for you to legally reside in the US, among the many documents that she needs to submit with the initial petition is a certified copy of your divorce absolute from the Jamaican courts. The previously filed petition by your ex-mother-in-law will not hinder your new wife's petition, as long as your previous marriage and subsequent divorce is properly documented with the US authorities.

Where people sometimes fall into problems is when they answer questions in a manner that they think is in their best interest instead of answering factually. People sometimes give what they think is the best answer in their best interest at the moment, but anything but the facts usually comes back to haunt them. In your case, just ensure that you give all the necessary documents to show that you are legally married to your second wife and you should not have any problems in that regard.

n Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal and 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.