What happens if my marriage was invalid at the time that we entered into it?
Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri.
One of the nice things about practicing immigration law is you get to help people solve a lot of their problems, but there are some problems that cannot be fixed. One of the main problems that cannot be fixed is if a marriage was invalid at the time that it was entered into. What do I mean by that?
Well, sometimes people get married on their own before they speak with an immigration lawyer, or they just go ahead and get married, and they later find out that there’s something procedurally defective with their marriage.
That could be things like, well, they got married in a state where they are first cousins and first cousins can’t get married. Or more likely, and more often, they got married, but one of the couples, one member of the couple was still legally married.
Or that because of state laws, there was some legal impediment to one of the people, maybe they were too young to get married or they were incapacitated or whatever, that there’s something fundamentally flawed with the marriage.
And so we see this a lot when we have consults with people whose cases have been pending a really long time.
And they’ll be wondering why is my case pending so long? But they don’t realize that there’s something fatally defective with their marriage.
So here’s what I want you to take away from this video. If a marriage is not valid at the time that it is entered into, then that marriage cannot serve as the basis for adjustment of status.
So a lot of times we’ll take over a case and we’ll look at things and we’ll say this marriage wasn’t valid. Your wife was still married to her former spouse at the time that she got married to you, so therefore this marriage is invalid.
This case is over. This case needs to be withdrawn. You need to finish your divorce from spouse number one, you need to get remarried, and you need to refile.
So for instance, if there are other kinds of mistakes on a form, like the wrong address or things like that, those can be fixed. Those can be overcome at the interview. But if the marriage is fundamentally flawed, if the marriage was legally invalid at the time that it was entered into, then it cannot be approved for purposes of immigration.
It’s just not valid and it should be withdrawn right away. And you might even want to have an apology for filing a marriage that wasn’t valid. You don’t want to get hit with a fraud charge.
So these can be tricky. If you realize that there’s something fundamentally flawed with your marriage, the one thing you might try is to try to get an annulment, and we have videos on that.
But basically if the marriage wasn’t valid, and you would get annulment of the prior marriage, the one that you’re trying to make go away.
But if you have questions about this, or if you’re worried that your marriage might not be valid, or if your case has been pending for a really long time and you can’t figure out why give us a call at (314) 961-8200. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. And if you like this video, we ask that you please share it out on social so that you get updates whenever we make videos just like this one. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.