Tag Archives: Illinois divorce attorney

Divorce and Immigration Status: What Changes?

immigration, Wheaton divorce lawyersToday’s world is a globally connected one. More and more people are marrying citizens of other countries and moving to other countries to be with their spouses. If you marry a foreign national and want to live with them in the United States, your spouse will likely need to become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR, or ‘green card holder’), and may one day become a citizen. However, if your marriage does not work out, your spouse may experience significant immigration problems.

Before Approval

If you and your foreign-born spouse intend to make your home in the United States, there is a specific procedure you must follow in order for your husband or wife to obtain legal status in this country. A U.S. citizen spouse must submit an application called an I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, in which they promise to sponsor their foreign spouse. This means vouching for his or her character and also promising that he or she will not require public assistance benefits or become homeless.

If your relationship falls apart and you get divorced before the paperwork has been approved or otherwise acted upon, the petition is essentially dead. You may still be able to sponsor the person if you so choose, but you would no longer be his or her spouse. Since your relationship will have changed status, a new petition must be submitted, and the old one will no longer be valid. In other words, if you divorce your wife, but still choose to sponsor her as a friend, you may do so, but the petition listing you as her husband is no longer accurate, so you must start fresh.

Sponsorship is legally enforceable, and there can be penalties incurred if the immigrant either becomes a public charge or otherwise winds up in a severely disadvantaged situation.

Preventing Marriage Fraud

If your spouse’s petition is approved, he or she will be granted Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR, or “green card holder”) status. A common, persuasive point of argument in these cases is ensuring that USCIS believes your marriage is genuine. A divorce in a very short period of time may appear to be a sign of a fraudulent marriage and lead to heightened scrutiny even if your marriage was in good faith.

For this reason, LPR applications for spouses are most often granted with conditions. Conditional permanent residency allows the person to be with his or her family while any further background checks continue. USCIS may take months or years to complete verification of someone’s application, and there is simply no reason to detain someone for so long. Conditional permanent residence usually lasts for a two-year period.

In order for the conditions to be removed, your spouse must apply and show that either you are still married, that he or she has been widowed or battered, or that he or she is now divorced. If a divorce occurred during the two-year conditional period, your former spouse may apply for a waiver, which in this case is essentially a chance to prove his or her good faith.

An Attorney on Your Side Can Help

Juggling divorce proceedings and an immigration case at the same time is too much for most people to take on alone. If you are in such a situation, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney to discuss your options. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation with the Andrew Cores Family Law Group today.

 

Sources:

https://www.uscis.gov/i-130

https://www.uscis.gov/green-card/after-green-card-granted/conditional-permanent-residence/remove-conditions-permanent-residence-based-marriage

How Spouses Hide Assets: Part 2 – Income Manipulation

concealing income, Illinois divorce attorney, income manipulation, income manipulation strategies, concealing assets, filing for divorce, hide money, divorce and financesOne of the main focuses of the divorce process is the division of the marital assets between the spouses. This requires the court, through the spouses and their attorneys, to take a thorough accounting of all of the marriage’s property. This can tempt some spouses to hide away assets for themselves rather than revealing them for division. Because the concealment of marital assets can be a problem, people going through a divorce should be aware of the different strategies others can use to hide assets, as well as how to spot them.

The strategies for concealing assets fall into two major groups: expense manipulation, making it look like more money is coming out than actually is, and income manipulation, making it look like less money is coming in than actually is. The prior post in this series covered some common expense manipulation strategies. This post will focus on the other type of concealment: income manipulation.

Income Manipulation Strategies

Income manipulation strategies focus on concealing income. This usually means deferring it until after the divorce has finalized. One common method of doing this is when a spouse coordinates with their boss to hold off on compensation or compensation increases during the divorce. For instance, a spouse who works in sales and is owed commissions may ask to have them paid only after the divorce is finalized, or the spouse may ask their employer to wait to promote them until after the process ends. This tactic can be difficult to spot when it happens, but it could possibly be grounds to modify support orders if it affects the concealing spouse’s income on a going-forward basis, like a promotion would.

Spouses who are also business owners have access to another means of deferring their payments. They can have their business hold off on billing customers for their services, which will decrease the business’ cash flow during the divorce. Then, after the divorce ends, they can send out their bills and pocket the money. Catching this requires a thorough examination of the business’ records to see whether the company’s customers are paying on time, as well as whether the bills are still going out.

Spouses looking to hide their money can also take advantage of their taxes. IRS regulations provide people with the option of receiving their refund as cash or banking it against taxes in future years. Most people choose the cash refund, but a spouse attempting to conceal their assets can leave the money with the IRS in the hopes that their husband or wife will not notice it, leaving them to reap the benefits of the banked money in future tax years. Alternatively, the IRS also allows spouses filing jointly to have returns deposited into an individual account, meaning a spouse could attempt to hide the refund in an account solely in their name. Spotting these strategies requires people to diligently review tax forms to ensure that any overpayment is accounted.

Speak with a Lawyer Today

If you are considering filing for divorce, contact a DuPage County divorce lawyer today. Whether you are concerned your spouse may attempt to hide assets, or you simply want more information about the realities of divorce, our experienced team can help you better understand the process.

Divorce and Privacy in the Digital Age

divorce and privacy, digital age, DuPage County divorce lawyer, Illinois divorce attorney, privacy, privacy and divorce, social networking sites, divorce process, password protectionA large part of divorce involves the practical issues related to separating two lives that have been managed jointly. This presents unique problems in the digital age when an increased number of those lives take place online.

A recent study by the Pew Research Internet Project found that over one in four couples have a joint email account and 67 percent of people in a committed relationship have shared at least one of their passwords with a significant other. People going through divorce should make sure to stay conscious of these electronic ties that they share with their soon-to-be ex-spouse. Otherwise, they could unwittingly allow their former partner to look into their private affairs.

Dealing with Shared Accounts

Shared family accounts on social networking sites or joint email addresses can present a potential issue in divorce if the spouses are not cognizant of them. Oftentimes these shared accounts will allow one spouse to view another’s private communications, which can be painful during a divorce process. Fortunately, the accounts are simple enough to close down, so the couple can transition to individual accounts. In fact, most account services have a feature that allows the user to reach out to their entire contact list and inform them of the new individual addresses.

The more difficult type of shared accounts are those that come with fees and long term contracts. One prevalent example of this problem is a family cell phone account. Spouses on a joint plan may have access to each other’s phone records and texting data, so continuing to share a plan can lead to similar invasions of privacy. However, this is not so simple to fix. Usually, cell phone plans have contracts that require the users to stay with the company for a certain period. Decoupling this type of cell phone plan may require the payment of an early termination fee.

Changing Your Passwords

Another issue that crops up following a divorce is the online security flaw of password reuse. People tend to cycle through a list of passwords for online accounts. If an ex-spouse knows some or all of these passwords, he or she can then log into new accounts. Additionally, many online services protect people’s accounts with security questions, ones that ask for personal information. An ex-spouse is more likely to know the answers to those personal questions. Hence, recently divorced people should take care to use new passwords and obscure security questions to avoid allowing an ex to peek into their online life.

If you have concerns about emerging issues faced in divorce, like divorce and privacy, or would just like more information about the process, contact a DuPage County divorce lawyer today. Our experienced team can help guide you through divorce proceedings and will make sure you have an advocate on your side.