Child Support, Custody & Maintenance When Your Ex Spouse Is An Immigrant

Nearly 85 percent of all immigrant families involving children are mixed families.

Mixed families, in short, can be described as families where one parent is a legal or illegal immigrant and the other parent is a citizen of the United States. According to the American Psychological Association, there are 4.5 million United States children living in mixed families.

Even if you are married to an immigrant, he or she may be eligible for child support, child custody, and/or maintenance (otherwise known as spousal support or alimony). Even if your spouse is an illegal immigrant, this will not prevent him or her from receiving child custody, child support or maintenance. First, please note that the legal process involved with this can be difficult. For this reason, it is imperative that you seek the assistance of an experienced family law attorney.

The Affidavit of Support

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the affidavit of support form must be filled out if your immigrant spouse wishes to receive child support, child custody or maintenance. This form is essentially a contractual agreement the two of you enter into where you agree to provide financial support to your immigrant spouse. This agreement is enforceable for an extended period of time and, as discussed below, does not terminate on your divorce.

As a matter of fact, the agreement can only be terminated when your immigrant spouse naturalizes. The agreement may also end when your immigrant spouse has worked or can be credited with 40 or more qualifying work quarters. The agreement may also end when your immigrant spouse becomes a United States citizen or when your immigrant spouse dies.

Upon Divorce

Contrary to popular belief, if you divorce your immigrant spouse, per the above agreement, you will still be required to make support/maintenance payments. Basically, by marrying your immigrant spouse, and by executing the aforementioned agreement, you promised to provide financial support to your immigrant spouse and this includes financial support even after divorce.

New Jersey law specifically holds that, if the agreement is signed, the United States spouse must provide financial support to his or her immigrant spouse that is at least 125 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines according to the size of your household. Accordingly, if you, as the United States citizen, fail to provide said degree of financial support, you are then subject to be sued by your immigrant spouse! Thus, upon executing the foregoing agreement, you must strictly adhere to its terms.

Hire an Attorney for your Case

If you have a question, or need help, with this support process, it is important that you seek the assistance of an experienced family law attorney. At the Law Office of Steven M. Cytryn, LLC, New Jersey divorce attorney Steven M. Cytryn is here to assist you. Our office is centrally located at 142 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901 and we can be reached at (732) 214-1103. Proudly Serving Central New Jersey, including Middlesex, Monmouth, Somerset, Union and Mercer Counties.