Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,
My husband recently visited the USA and has decided not to return. He wants to get US citizenship and has found someone in the USA to marry.
He advised me that there is a way to get divorced with him starting the processing from overseas and that in the end, I will get served with documents. According to him, this will take six weeks for the completion of everything.
Do you have any information regarding this? Can you tell me what paperwork I would need to work on out here? Altogether, there are three kids but only one from the marriage.
I just want to be prepared for whatever may come so whatever information you can provide will be appreciated.
I am so sorry to hear this, but unfortunately it happens more often than we would like to admit. I received two such emails within a week.
Since there is a child of the marriage, your divorce needs to address the issue of child support. Likewise, if there is property owned in Jamaica – that needs to be addressed in the divorce. If your husband is the father of all your children, even if some were born before you were legally married, he would still be obligated to pay child support. If you do not have a lawyer in the state where your husband is currently located, you should retain one immediately to protect your interests.
There is a provision in most states in America for a person to file a divorce and state under oath that they do not know where their spouse can be located. With certain provisions, they can get divorced. Over the years, I have seen people do this and leave their spouses in Jamaica in order to marry a US citizen and secure their permanent residency.
A caution to your husband and others who are considering doing this or getting divorced without addressing all the issues in the marriage, that divorce can be overturned for being fraudulent. This reinstates the marriage and often these persons are now married to their US citizen spouse and may have even begun the immigration process. It is always best to follow the law and not cut corners to expedite a divorce and gain a green card.
If the documents are correctly drafted and your interests are protected, a divorce can proceed quickly to a final judgment in a jurisdiction that does not require a specific period of separation. Some jurisdictions are just faster than others procedurally. For example, in the state of Florida, a couple can certainly be divorced in six weeks or less. Getting a lawyer does not mean that you are going to contest the divorce, but that you are seeking to protect yourself and your children.
Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington, Esq. is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal and international law in Florida. She is a diversity and inclusion consultant, mdiator and former special magistrate and hearing officer in Broward County, Florida. [email protected]