What if my spouse and I be fighting?
Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our offices here in St. Louis, Missouri, and in San Diego, California. Today’s video, we’re talking about spouse-based green cards, spouse-based immigrant visas. And when the couple starts fighting. Now, I thought about this question because of a couple of things that happened this week. First, on our Immigration Answers show, we had a guest on named Chi. She was in England and Chi’s girlfriend who has filed a fiance petition for Chi, got mad and notified the National Visa Center that she no longer wanted to sponsor Chi for an immigrant visa. Things calmed down and they made up within 12 or 13 hours. And she was then in charge of trying to contact the National Visa Center to try to unring that bell. That was one reason I thought about it.
The other reason I thought about it was that one of my former clients naturalized this week. And I remember when he came to the green card prep interview. So when I was preparing him and his spouse for their green card application interview, they had clearly been in a fight the night before. And I’ll never forget it, because we have this really long conference table. And usually the couple sits right there across from me. They could not have sat any further away from each other. I think they might’ve even been fighting on the way over to the office. So this happens from time to time. And you might’ve seen one of my other videos, which is, What if my Spouse is Crazy? This goes along with that. And so if you and your spouse are fighting, everybody needs to take a deep breath. Everybody needs to calm down.
I know that this is a stressful process and I’ve had more than one client tell me that dealing with immigration and dealing with this whole long drawn-out process really puts a strain on the marriage. And I totally get that. So the first thing I want to say about fighting is obviously, and importantly, if you do not feel safe in your relationship, whether you’re the petitioner or the beneficiary you need to get out. So, your personal body safety comes first. After that, though, I was thinking about a letter that I read to Ann Landers when I was a kid. So when I was a kid, there was a advice column and I actually read it every day, probably why I like to talk so much and to give advice. But somebody wrote to Ann Landers and said, “I wrote this really angry letter. What should I do with it?” And her advice was to put it in a drawer and to wait 24 hours. Now, I think that’s great advice.
I am always sad when I hear from clients or potential clients who have withdrawn an application that did not need to be withdrawn. They’ve been fighting with their significant other, and they really did some damage to the beneficiary’s ability to either come to the United States or to stay in the United States. So, I really want you to think through, obviously you’re free to do whatever you want and if a relationship is over, or if you don’t want to go through with it anymore, that is certainly your right. But even in our office, we’ve had probably 10 or 12 times where the phone starts ringing and it’s the petitioner or the beneficiary. And they’ll be saying, “Oh, I’m so mad at my spouse. I don’t want to go through this anymore.” Or, “I don’t want to sponsor her anymore.” And we just wait a day or two before you even call back. Because typically, most of the time, these things work themselves out, again, protect yourself from bodily harm. But other than that, my advice is generally going to be let’s see if things calm down.
So that couple who came to that interview, so separated and angry at each other, they got their to year green card, got the ten-year green card. And as I said, that former client naturalized this week, and then with Chi and the situation with his fiance, they quickly acted to try to notify the National Visa Center that they still wanted to go through with the fiance case. And importantly, in that letter, when the U.S. Citizen said that she did not want to go through with the process anymore, she did not say anything bad about the beneficiary. And that’s also important. If you write a letter to USCIS saying that you think they just married you or engaged you to get a green card, that’s going to make it really hard to, “unring that bell”, once that bell is wrung, you can’t unring it. So, be very careful with what you say, especially in fits of anger. If you know that you’re someone who has a bit of a temper, then you should be on even heightened alert about what you say, or how you deal with USCIS or the National Visa Center or the embassy.
I hope you found this video helpful. If you did give us a call 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. We also have our YouTube channel that you should subscribe to, so that you get updates, whenever we make videos like this one. And then of course, every Tuesday and Thursday, usually at noon central time, we are live in the Facebook group and we’re at home and on our YouTube channel answering as many of your questions as we can. And we’ll be on there this week. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.