IMMIGRATION

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Cynthia R. Exner, LLC

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                 203-830-4045

American Immigration Lawyers Association

   

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Divorces:

Many foreign persons come to the US either legally with a visa, or by crossing one of our borders without a visa, and then remain in the US for many years. Some leave spouses behind in their countries. After separation of many years, they meet someone in the US and fall in love, but they are still married to their spouse in the foreign country.

Anyone can get divorced in Connecticut. A person does not have to be in legal status in order to file for divorce in the state of Connecticut. The rules in Connecticut require that one person to the divorce (called Dissolution of Marriage) must have been living continuously in Connecticut for 12 months before the date the Court issues the judgment. You can also file for dissolution before living in Connecticut for 12-months as long as you have lived here 12 months before the date of the dissolution. This means that the foreign person who is living in Connecticut can file for dissolution of marriage from his/her spouse who is living in the foreign country. Dissolution of marriage can take as little as 90 days to complete in Connecticut.

This is important because many foreign born persons fall in love with US permanent residents or US citizens and want to marry and have the legal spouse file immigration papers for them, but they do not realize that they can get divorced in Connecticut.

We can handle a simple dissolution of marriage case (Uncontested) even if the spouse is outside the US. Then, the foreign person who is present in the US is free to marry a legal permanent resident or US citizen and we can proceed with the family sponsorship case for permanent resident status.

Foreign Divorce Decrees generally are accepted by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provided that one person was domiciled in the foreign country at the time that the divorce was obtained. Some foreign countries permit divorce by “judicial proxy” which means that neither party may have been domiciled in the foreign country at the time the divorce was obtained and neither party may have even appeared in the court on the day the divorce judgment was entered. USCIS has recently taken the position that they will not accept foreign divorces which were entered by judicial proxy. In these cases, the foreign person living in the US may have to file for and obtain a new dissolution of marriage in Connecticut, and sometimes even remarry their legal spouse, if their marriage occurred after the divorce by judicial proxy.