When you sponsored your spouse for legal permanent residency in the U.S., you likely filed Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. This affidavit is a legally binding contract between you and the U.S. government that requires you to provide financial support to your spouse.
If you are thinking about ending your marriage, you may wonder if divorce voids the affidavit of support. Regrettably, the answer is no.
When does the affidavit of support end?
The government has a keen financial interest in ensuring new immigrants do not become public charges. Consequently, the intent of the affidavit of support is to bind sponsors long enough for legal permanent residents to become financially stable.
By law, the affidavit of support ends only under the following circumstances:
- The sponsored legal permanent resident becomes a U.S. citizen
- The sponsored legal permanent resident leaves the U.S. permanently
- The sponsored legal permanent resident works in the U.S. for 40 quarters
- The sponsor or the sponsored legal permanent resident dies
Do property division and spousal support affect the support obligation?
During your divorce, you are likely to divide marital property according to the laws of Texas. You or your soon-to-be ex-spouse may also qualify for spousal support. Neither of these should have any effect on your obligations under the affidavit of support, however.
While it is advisable to understand all your obligations before sponsoring a legal permanent resident and filing an affidavit of support, you cannot change what happened in the past. Ultimately, though, you may want to keep your support responsibilities in the back of your mind during and after your divorce.