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The American Dream - Marriage and Divorce in the USA: Legal Features


Divorce with a US citizen It has a number of specific features that are most clearly manifested when one of the spouses resides outside the United States.

In the case of residence of both spouses in the United States, the main issue requiring resolution, as a rule, is the question of maintaining the right to reside in the United States of the second spouse. According to statistics available in the US migration services, marriage with further registration of the second spouse of the green card in 75% of cases is the documentation of a fictitious marriage. That is why the USA has a rule according to which citizens who have divorced a US citizen before the expiration of a two-year period from the moment of marriage registration are deprived of their right to reside in the United States, and their green card is canceled.

Among the problems that can arise when divorcing a US citizen in the United States is the division of property and the determination of which spouse minor children will live with. Since in the CIS countries, legally, in the presence of an alternative, by default, children remain with their mother, in the USA this issue may become a reason for a long discussion.

Another important factor affecting the process of divorcing an American is the place of marriage. Depending on the territory of which state the marriage was concluded, the law of the country is determined, which will have the priority of its application in a divorce.

The marriage of an American (American) with foreign citizens

Lightning marriages with foreigners - met, fell in love, got married - the US Migration Service may seem suspicious. Therefore, it is not bad if the future bride and groom will first correspond for a long time (preferably at least a year). During this time, an American citizen should at least a couple of times fly to his beloved foreigner.

Conditions and procedure for official registration

To do this, you need to write a statement, bring identity documents and pay the state fee. Its size depends on the state and can range from several tens to hundreds of dollars.

After the permit is issued, “time for reflection” is provided - in different states it is set individually.

The wedding ceremony in reality hardly differs from Hollywood films. Everything happens in the church. The groom is waiting for the bride at the altar, where she goes along the red carpet under the arm with her father. Then the young people take the oath of allegiance, put rings on each other, and the holy father declares them husband and wife.

Features of divorce proceedings in the United States

In the United States, more than half of all marriages end in divorce. Divorce is never pleasant, even when both parties agree that this is the best. In terms of mental health in the United States, divorce is one of the main causes of depression and stress. One of the key points worth repeating: laws for marriage and divorce are different in all 50 US states.

There is no single federal divorce law. Marriage may legally be relatively simple in some states, or may involve complex litigation in others. Suppose that the couple agreed on the upcoming divorce and are fully satisfied with its conditions. However, an agreement is not enough - a divorce case must be conducted through a court.

First of all, a divorce applicant must show good reason for divorce. In his statement to the court, he must cite and explain the facts that would serve as the reason why he believes that the marriage should be dissolved. After that, the responding party will receive a notice of the started divorce proceedings and subpoena. If the answer does not go to court within the prescribed time period (30 days in California), the court automatically concludes from this that the opposing party does not dispute the terms of the divorce. But even in this case, the other spouse reserves the right to file a counterclaim if he has his own grounds for divorce. An attempt to peacefully resolve a dispute, for example, on the division of property, is welcomed by the court. If a similar agreement is reached on the division of property does not cause any problems. If the spouses have not reached an agreement on the terms of the divorce, the case will be referred to court. In any case, the time period for consideration of the case depends on the claimed requirements, the required evidence, and can range from one meeting to several months.

For foreigners who get divorced in CA, you need to know a few nuances. So, people who have married a US citizen receive a conditional right to permanent residence or the so-called conditional permanent residency. After a year and nine months, it is necessary to submit a joint petition, form I-751, on replacing a temporary green card with a permanent one. If she is satisfied, the foreign spouse is entitled to unconditional and unlimited permanent residence in the United States.

If a green card has already been received, a divorce does not affect the status of a foreign spouse. After a divorce, he calmly continues to live in the USA, work and enjoy the full rights of a citizen. If the permanent green card is not received, then the divorce may end in disrepair, or rather, deportation may follow after it, if the Migration Department decides so.

There is another rule that states that if a foreign spouse has not been able to keep the marriage for three years after receiving the right to permanent residence, then he or she loses the privilege of accelerated naturalization (5 years).

U.S. property division

The division of property in the United States is a lengthy process. It all depends on the availability of jointly acquired property, the number of years lived, etc. If the spouses agree, this is the easiest option. Xie is much easier if there is a marriage contract and all the nuances are negotiated. By the way, by a court decision, an ex-husband may be required to pay temporary maintenance to his wife. Let's say the couple got married shortly after graduation. At first, both worked, and then children appeared. My wife had to leave work to look after the children. Now both are 30 years old, you have two children aged 2 and 5 years. If such a couple breaks up, the husband will have to pay child support not only to the children, but also to his wife. All this time he was making a career, and she was forced to look after the household and lose her qualifications. But these alimony are not life-long, but are appointed for the period until the woman finds a job.

The period for the receipt of alimony, appointed by the court, may be short, for example, one year. But it can also be much longer: say, ten years. The term will depend on what kind of education you have to achieve, on the market demand for your professional skills, on your responsibilities for caring for minors and other factors. If at the end of the deadline for the payment of alimony you still could not find a job, you can apply to the court with a request to extend this period, but you will need to indicate a good reason why you could not find a livelihood. All cash payments must be negotiated (and claims made) in a national (US) court decision. On the territory of the Russian Federation it is impossible to get them.

If the ex-spouse makes a new marriage, she loses the right to receive such alimony. The amount of support depends on the laws of the state. In general, among the factors affecting the amount, the following are taken into account: the age and state of health of both parties, the duration of the marriage, the ability of both spouses to feed themselves, the degree of responsibility to minor children, the income of the head of the family, and the lifestyle of the family during marriage. Alimony should provide the ex-spouse with approximately the same standard of living that this side has become accustomed to during the marriage. Therefore, if you are left without income, the court will appoint you a livelihood in the amount that ensures your previous standard of living, albeit for a limited period of time.

Children divorced in the USA

One of the most difficult issues of family law in the United States is the issue of raising a child after the divorce of parents. One of the main principles of US social policy is the recognition of “the child’s right to communicate with both parents, receiving care and support from both parents, and the right to make decisions based on the experience of both parents. In no case should the child be deprived of this right, even if the parents divorced. " As a rule, when determining the procedure for exercising parental rights after a divorce, the courts of most states are guided by the category of interests of the child.

The criterion of compliance with the interests of the child does not limit the right of parents to raise children, since the process of education should be carried out primarily in the best interests of the children. The desire of the child himself to live with one parent or another is also taken into account (if the court determines that he is old enough to make a reasonable preference). In most states, courts are required to take into account the wishes of a child who has reached the age of 12, if it is in his interest. Two states (Georgia and West Virginia) establish that a child is over 14 years old.

Family court in some states, considering the criteria for the child’s emotional connection with each parent, prefers the parent who cared the most for the child during his time as a single family. Recently, the psychological doctrine has emphasized the importance of maintaining interaction between the child and the parent, who cares more about him, since this is important for the successful socialization of the child, including for his physical and mental development.

When deciding which parent cares most for the child, the courts focus on direct parental responsibilities, such as:
- hygiene procedures for child care,
- making a menu and cooking for a child,
- providing clothing appropriate for age and seasonality, maintaining its cleanliness,
- measures taken to protect the health of the child,
- assisting the child with homework,
- Teaching a child reading, writing and mathematics skills.

Under current law, in almost all states, mothers and fathers have an equal right to exercise parental rights after a divorce. However, when determining the issue with whom the child will live after the divorce, the courts consider the criteria for the age and sex of the child. Mothers are usually preferred if the child is a young child or female.

Where and who registers relations in America

Registration of marriage should be carried out by a specially trained person, it can be a priest or a judge.

Moreover, each state has its own rules. So, in Virginia, a priest must pass authorization at the Federal District Court.

In New York, the ceremony is allowed only after registration at the city office in Manhattan.

Some states offer this opportunity even to family friends. True, you must first register at Universal life Church. And in Colorado, even one of the partners can become a registrar.

What documents are needed for marriage?

To enter into a family union in America, a foreigner must apply for a special visa - K-1.

If a foreigner immigrating to the United States has a child, and he also flies to America, he will need to get a special stamp - K-2.

Having received a K-1 visa, the bride is completely under the responsibility of her lover.

What you need to apply for a bride visa:

  1. A US citizen who marries a foreigner must file an I-129F petition. This is an invitation to America for the purpose of further marriage. It usually takes 3 to 8 months to review the request.
  2. After the application is granted, the documents will be sent to the country where the foreign bride or groom lives. There he will be handed over to the American consulate.
  3. Next, you need to sign up for an interview at the American mission in the homeland. This can be done on the website of the consulate. Confirmation of the record must be printed and attached to the general package of documents.

The list of documents to be provided is as follows:

  • International passport,
  • Birth certificate,
  • Photos,
  • Certificate of no criminal record,
  • If the bride or groom was already in an alliance before, a divorce certificate will be required,
  • Medical health form,
  • Confirmation that marriage is made of love (it can be photos, letters or screenshots of correspondence),
  • Certificate of income of an American citizen.

Can I get married or get married on a tourist visa?

You can arrange a relationship while in the United States on a tourist visa. True, lawyers do not advise doing this in the first months after arrival, so as not to arouse suspicion of a fictitious marriage.

To do this, you need to get a marriage license, and in the state where the marriage will take place.

You will need to present a passport, birth certificate (a photocopy or scan printed on the printer is enough), an apostille divorce document for those who were previously married.

Documents must be translated into English and certified by a notary.

You will also need to prove that the foreigner is a resident of the state where the marriage will be concluded. This can be any correspondence, orders via the Internet, received within the last 30 days to the name of the recipient of the marriage license.

Also, before obtaining a license, it is necessary to decide where the celebration will take place and who will register the marriage.

The procedure for obtaining American citizenship through marriage in the United States

You can obtain American citizenship after marriage after three years of cohabitation with your spouse.

True, for this you will need to have a Green Card, and be in the United States for a total of at least 1.5 years.

In the state where the application for citizenship will be submitted, the foreigner must live at least 3 months.

If all these requirements are met, the person applying for citizenship will be admitted to the exam. He will have to take an English proficiency test and answer questions about the political and economic structure of the United States. It will also be necessary to swear allegiance to America.

The great temptation is to enter into a fictitious marriage in order to obtain citizenship. But it is worth considering that deception can forever close the door to the American dream. Since the migration service carefully checks all documents, it looks to see if the union was really made for love, not for convenience. Indeed, this kind of fraud here is a criminal offense and may be punishable by imprisonment.

About a certificate of marriage with two citizenships

US citizens are not prohibited from having two citizenships.

Therefore, here you can often meet a person who has two passports.

But, due to the fact that, when receiving American citizenship, a person takes an oath of allegiance to the country, he essentially cannot use his second passport (the US authorities do not welcome this, and for this you can even lose citizenship), the marriage will in any case take place American ID.

Transgender and Eugenic Marriages

In America, not only traditional couples register relationships. So, gay marriage is allowed throughout the United States. Foreigners come to join the union.

For example, in California, any couple can become a family. The main thing is that both spouses must be 18 years old.

To formalize the relationship, it is enough for lovers to get a marriage license, pay a fee and bring at least one witness to the ceremony.

Interracial marriages in the United States have also long been commonplace. If in the 1950s no more than 5% of the population accepted such unions, today this figure has increased to almost 90%. A black American can easily marry both his compatriot and a foreigner.

Registration of marriage with a US resident in Russia

You can marry an American in Russia. For the conclusion of the union will be the laws of the Russian Federation.

In order to apply to the registry office, a US citizen will need to provide a passport, a document confirming the absence of obstacles to marriage, a visa or a residence permit in the Russian Federation. For those who were previously married, a certificate of termination of the previous union will be required.

Only the Moscow Civil Registry Office No. 4, as well as the Central Civil Registry Offices in other cities of Russia, are entitled to combine a legal marriage of an American and a Russian woman.

Divorce in America

There are no federal divorce laws in the United States of America. Each state has its own rules.

But in most cases, justice is on the side of the mother woman.

Divorce in America is expensive. To terminate the union by mutual agreement, you will need to spend at least $ 1,000. And if it comes to court, then the amount can be astronomical.

Как жене получить алименты при разводе

Если ребенок остается с матерью после развода, отец обязан платить алименты. В среднем, пособие составляет 16% от зарплаты.

Если бывший супруг отказывается платить алименты, женщина может обратиться в судебные органы США или к российской Фемиде. Но лучше решать все вопросы по местному законодательству.

Брак с гражданином Канады и получение гражданства

To marry a citizen of this country, you do not need to get a bride visa at all.

You can marry in the Russian Federation, and then apply for family reunion and get a wife’s visa.

Husband and wife must reside together in Canada for three years, after which a foreign family member has the right to apply for citizenship.

It is worth remembering that America supports only international families created by love. If it turns out that the marriage was made by design, a foreigner can forever be barred from entering the United States.

Dear readers, the information in the article could be out of date, use the free consultation by calling: Moscow +7 (499) 288-73-46 , St. Petersburg +7 (812) 309-71-92 or ask a lawyer a question through the feedback form below.

Reasons for divorce:

  • If the spouses lived separately from each other throughout the year continuously, while permanent separation was originally the intention of one of the parties. A similar reason for divorce exists in Virginia and Maryland.
  • If the spouses agreed to live separately, while they have no children, and they lived separately from each other, six months continuously. Such a short-term separation period is recognized only by Virginia's divorce laws, not Maryland's.
  • If, during the period of married life, one of the spouses committed treason or an act of sodomy.
  • If one of the spouses has been convicted of a criminal offense and has been imprisoned for more than one year and, accordingly, has not lived in the family since the beginning of imprisonment.
  • If one of the spouses showed excessive cruelty, and this caused a reasonable fear of the other at the risk of possible bodily harm, or simply left (left) the spouse (a), the victim of such an attitude may receive a divorce automatically, in a year.

In order to get an official divorce in Virginia or Maryland, at least one of the divorcing spouses must reside in the state as a legal resident, at least 6 months before applying for a divorce.