Q: What can I do? Divorce issue
I was married to wife A in Colombia in 2001. I filed for divorce there in Aug 2005, it was a very simple and quick divorce (my lawyer told me it would take no more than 6 months) and moved to US in 2005. I remarried wife B (no US citizen) in Colorado in June 2006. We (wife A and I) filed our paperwork and thought everything was final in early 2006 but apparently not. The divorce decree was issued in Colombia in Sep 2006, 3 months after marrying my current wife. I noticed the issue few weeks ago while reading and organizing documents related to the divorce and marriage. I was legitimately under the impression the divorce was final when I remarried in June 2006. Is my current marriage valid and legitimate? If not, what can I do to fix it? I plan to apply for the US Citizenship next year, so I need to get this corrected. I appreciate any advice on this.
A: Your question does not lend itself to an easy answer. Are you presently residing in Texas? In Texas, a Judge may pronounce a divorce as being granted on a certain date but not sign the Decree until several days or weeks later. The answer to your question may turn, in part, on whether a divorce pronounced in Columbia is effective on the date that it is pronounced. You really need to consult with an experienced Family Law attorney.
A: In Texas, if you and your current wife believed you to be single at the time of your second marriage, Texas courts will recognize your second marriage as valid since you are divorced from your first marriage - even if not technically at time you entered into your second marriage. I would just be honest with immigration when you complete your application and go through the interview process with them.
A: It may be that the family court will recognize your marriage to be valid NOW but in deciding whether you should become a US citizen Immigration is going to examine whether your permanent residency was properly granted in the first place! In your case, if you were not properly married AT THE TIME your US wife filed the immigrant visa petition for you then you were not eligible to get permanent residency and that means you are not eligible for citizenship. I strongly recommend you do a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney before you jeopardize loosing your permanent residency and having to start from scratch with Adjustment of Status OR worse, having to fight not be deported. Best wishes!
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