Wed | Dec 7, 2016

IMMIGRATION - Should we divorce to speed up filing process?

Published:Tuesday | January 20, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Good day Mrs Walker-Huntington, MY HUSBAND and I would like guidance in regard to a filing petition to be done. My husband's dad wants to file for him now. His dad is now a US citizen. He is advising us that we should get a divorce so that the process goes faster rather than us being married. I do not want to divorce my husband as I believe the process will still take around the same time.

I read your Gleaner article and I felt it is best to reach out to you. My husband and I are Jamaican residents. Can you advise me on the option that I should take? I really would not like this to jeopardise my marriage as I am undecided. Thank you for taking the time out to read my issue.

- S.F.

Dear S.F.:

As a US citizen, your father-in-law is able to file a petition for his married son. That filing would place your husband in the F3 preference category and currently the US State Department is processing persons with priority dates earlier than December 22, 2003. This means that if your father-in-law was to file a petition for his married son, it would take approximately 11 years for a visa to be available to your husband, you and your family.

If your husband were to divorce you and his father were to file for him as an adult, unmarried so, he would be in the F1 category and the current priority date in that category is July 8, 2007. It is currently taking approximately seven and a half years for those petitions to be processed.

Unfortunately, many parents encourage their adult children to get divorced or not to marry in order to migrate faster. This often leads to destruction of families and the dynamics of relationships. If your husband does divorce you, is filed for as a single man, and receives his green card, he will have to leave you in Jamaica and migrate to America without you. He can migrate with his children, but you would have to remarry him after he actually migrated and wait on a visa to be available for you - currently taking about two years.

The decision to legally divorce in order for your husband's petition to be processed faster is a serious and life-changing one that must be well thought out and arrived at by you and your husband.

It can work out that you would be reunited with your family, but it is not unheard of that husbands and wives never find their way back to each other.

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 Criminal Justice. Email info@walkerhuntington.com.