Washington, DC asked in Family Law, Immigration Law and Divorce for District of Columbia

Q: I am married with a U.S citizen. I obtained my temporary green card through marriage, but I want to separate.

My husband of two years and partner of five year, with two kids in common under three years old has an addiction to alcohol and cocaine. I honestly don't want to continue with the relationship due to the mental distress is causing me and i dont want my kids to continue growing into an unhealthy relationship. i have my temporary green card. i am afraid if i do decided to leave i wont be able to re apply if we are not together. I need the status to continue being here with my kids and continue our normal lives. he tells me if i live he is going to take the kids and if i do decide to take him to court maybe it would and up on a divorce and i am scared of trigging him to not support me on my status just because i decide to leave the life he is proving for us as a family. he spends all his money on his addiction and is just not fair to me and my kids. what can i do in this case? i need help. He is also under a DUI and i dont understand how he has cant get help.

2 Lawyer Answers

Carl Shusterman

  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Los Angeles, CA

A: If your marriage ends in a divorce before your conditional permanent residence (CPR) expires, you should submit an I-751 waiver to the USCIS as soon as your divorce becomes final.

Most foreign-born persons who marry U.S. citizens apply for a green card in order to remain in the U.S. with their spouse. In order to become a permanent resident, they must first file for a 2-year conditional green card, and then submit form I-751 to apply to remove the condition and obtain a 10-year green card.

Hector E. Quiroga

  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Las Vegas, NV

A: You have both an immigration issue and a family-law issue. We can help with the immigration issue. For the family law issue—whether or not your husband can take the kids, we recommend you speak with an attorney familiar with family law.

In most cases, within 90 days of the expiration of the temporary green card, the conditional resident files, along with the US citizen spouse, an application to have the conditions removed. That form can be used as a request for a waiver of the removal of conditions, in certain circumstances, including divorce. You’d file the application on your own, and you can file it any time after your divorce has been finalized, if you decide to go that route. It can also be a waiver based on domestic violence. In this case, you’d file the application with evidence of being a victim of DV.

The bottom line is this—if you leave your husband, that doesn’t mean you will lose your residence. Please contact an immigration attorney to get more information regarding your options based on your specific circumstances.

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