As readers of our blog know, our law firm represents Virginians going through a divorce, including a divorce from bed and board, as well as those who are facing issues related to federal immigration laws.

Many immigrants come to the United States on account of their spouses and sometimes may even rely on their spouse’s legal immigration status to justify their stay in this country. Others may marry permanent residents or American citizens.

A divorce, in the sense that it legally ends a person’s marriage, can affect the ability of an immigrant to remain in the United States legally. The specific rules pertaining to this are rather complicated, so an immigrant who is going through a divorce should strongly consider speaking attorney, ideally an attorney with knowledge of both immigration law and family law.

In general, however, a person who gets divorced may have a more difficult time obtaining permission to set up permanent residency in the United States. At a minimum, they will have to show that they married in good faith, that is, with the intention of establishing a life together as opposed to evading the immigration laws of this country.

Another point to remember is that, sometimes, a divorce from bed and board as opposed to the more conventional absolute divorce may make more sense for an immigrant’s specific circumstances. This is because the bed and board divorce does not allow for re-marriage, meaning that an immigrant can argue to federal officials that his or her marriage remains intact.

For an immigrant living in or around Harrisonburg, divorce presents a whole special set of issues in addition to the common questions about property division, child custody and the like. Having experienced legal counsel is often highly advisable.