What Happens To A Green Card During A Divorce?

Divorce is an emotionally devastating event in your life. People process it through stages like they do when they are grieving. Some of the foundational elements of your life have been uprooted, and you are confused, worried, and scared about how to move forward. 

Some people, sadly, are simply in bad marriages and are eager to start a new life as an individual. These people can often feel trapped. As much as they want out of a relationship, they stay for financial security or fear the unknown.

Others may remain in a relationship because they are in the process of becoming a legal permanent resident. These people either have a permanent resident (green) card, are married to someone with one, or are awaiting their green card. It is important to note and understand that a legal permanent resident is not a U.S. citizen. A legal permanent resident with a green card may eventually file for U.S. citizenship. Each is its unique status. 

For Those Who Already Possess Green Cards  

If you have a green card, you are a legal permanent resident of the United States. A divorce will not have any significant impact on you. Marriage status is unimportant once you have a 10-year green card. There will be some minor administrative issues regarding renewing your card to get your name changed on it (if you choose to use your maiden name). Don’t fear losing your green card when applying for a replacement. Again, whether you are or are not married will not be considered. 

When Only Your Spouse Has A Green Card

If you are a citizen of another country and marry a legal permanent resident (someone with a green card), you receive a two-year green card. This is also known as being a conditional resident. Ideally, after two years, you file to have your status changed from conditional to permanent. Both you and your spouse would submit this request, which is referred to as a joint petition. 

Though your marriage has ended, that doesn’t mean your chances of becoming a legal permanent resident are over. Because you and your spouse are no longer married, you cannot file the joint petition—but you can get a waiver for this. We strongly encourage you to reach out to legal counsel before moving forward. Although your attorney can help you submit the waiver, there are other hurdles to get past. Because you are no longer married, USCIS may question whether your marriage was genuine. In other words, did you get married to get a green card?

You can prove you entered into your marriage with good faith by showing you had shared bank accounts, lived in the same house, or that you had a child together. Furthermore, you will have the opportunity to show why your marriage ended. For example, if your spouse committed adultery, it would explain why you wanted to terminate your marriage. 

The Crossroads of Immigration & Family Law

Csépes Law Offices is accustomed to handling family-based immigration and family law issues. If you are interested in applying for a green card, dissolving your marriage, or have concerns about how your divorce can impact your immigration process, contact us to set up your consultation. 

The following two tabs change content below.

Csépes Law Offices

Csépes Law Offices Provides Individualized Legal Solutions To Those Needing Family Law, Immigration, Or Real Estate Counsel.

Latest posts by Csépes Law Offices (see all)