Ending a marriage is always a difficult decision, but when one of the parties is an illegal immigrant, the situation can be quite confusing. Obtaining an annulment is often the wish of the party who is in the country legally.
Determine if you have grounds for an annulment. Although these grounds vary by state, common grounds include one party being underage at the time of the marriage, having another spouse at the time of marriage, force or threats to enter into marriage or fraud. Often if the legal party did not know the other was illegal, that can be grounds for annulment.
Check with your state to determine the exact basis for annulment and the time restraints for filing for an annulment. Some states allow annulments within 60 days, others set the time limit at a year while other states have more lenient rules allowing annulments years later.
Contact an attorney to handle the case. Find a lawyer who is qualified and experienced in family law, specifically in annulments and illegal immigrants. They will be able to discuss your specific situation in detail with you.
Consider the children. Know that because the marriage is annulled, any children of the marriage will still receive support as allowed. Although there may be difficulty in enforcing any ordered child support because one party is an illegal immigrant and may be deported, a court will determine what support is in the best interests of the children.
Tips & Warnings
- Know that there are legal consequences for those who seek a marriage solely for the purpose of gaining citizenship with the intention of eventually. Even a U.S. Citizen who knowingly enters a fraudulent marriage because the illegal immigrant's intention was to become a legal citizen can face criminal charges as a co-conspirator.