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Can I Naturalize While Owing Child Support

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Can I become a US citizen if I am behind on child support? Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. You know when you apply for immigration benefits, sometimes it forces you to clean your life up and to get your act in order to make sure that everything is properly done and completed, that you're not behind on your taxes, that you're not behind on your child support. We have other videos about specifically taxes and naturalization, but in this video we're going to talk about what happens if you are behind on child support and you want to get your citizenship.

Obviously you have to show that in the last five years you are current... actually, you have to show that you're a person of good moral character, and one of the issues that can come up is whether or not you are current on your child support. So these are situations where a foreign national has been in the United States, has fathered, usually fathered, children in the United States, and are required to pay child support.

This is a really interesting issue. You want to make sure that your child support record is clean. The first place to look is whether you've ever been sued in court before by the state or county for not paying your child support. That's something that's easily discoverable by immigration officers, and they do go and look for that. Obviously if you have any judgments against you related to child support, that's going to hurt your chances of becoming a US citizen.

Now if you make things right, if you pay off the back child support, I think it's going to be a lot easier for your naturalization. Now every now and then this doesn't come up even at an immigration interview, but it's something that you want to be on top of, you want to be ready to discuss, and in many cases we've had our clients bring updated statements from the day before the interview to demonstrate that they are current on their child support. Sometimes that can be an affidavit from the custodial parent or it could be a printout from the state demonstrating that your payments are being made on time.

You can naturalize under a child support order, but it can't be messy. You want to make sure that everything's cleaned up. Like so much of what we suggest with immigration, you want to clean up your record before you file because if they send you a request for evidence, and you're sort of scrambling to get records from the state, that can be a big headache, so you want to take care of this ahead of time. It's a good thing. We want people to be paying their child support, we want people supporting their children, and there are some officers who get very upset about this.

If you have questions about child support and become a US citizen or even about getting your green card, give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can email us at [email protected]. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group that's called Immigrant Home. We'd love to see you there, and if you liked this video, subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get updates whenever we make videos just like this one. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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