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As we all know these days (and has been the case for most of the history of our country and others), there are people in the USA who legally may have no right to be in the USA. This is not a political discussion on that subject, just my explanation how being in the USA illegally affects a simple, uncontested no-fault divorce of the type I handle.

It may well be the case that if getting married gave someone legal status, getting divorced may make that status illegal, especially if the marriage took place ONLY for the purpose of legalizing a person’s immigration status. Getting married for the sole purpose of legalizing an immigrant’s status is clearly a fraud. Should that fraud be discovered, before or after a divorce, penalties, such as deportation, could be imposed.

I need to point out that I am NOT an immigration lawyer and I have never inquired into the status of any of my clients or their spouses. If a client follows my instructions and the spouse cooperates, the two of them will be divorced. Nothing in the paperwork required under Pennsylvania law reveals citizenship or immigration status. Similarly, no Pennsylvania divorce court reports any divorce to any agency, local, state or federal, whatever. Moreover, none of the divorces I file are reported in a newspaper or any other publication. Each and every divorce I file is completely private. The only people who know about your divorce are I, you, your spouse and those you and your spouse tell about it. (As your lawyer, I am bound by attorney-client confidence to tell no one about your divorce or any of its details without your express, written permission.)

As you see, therefore, no divorces I handle in and of themselves affect immigration status in any way whatsoever. Whether or not a divorce in fact changes one’s immigration status is not for the divorce court or me to decide or discuss or act upon. That is up to the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) to decide if you or your spouse have an obligation to so inform them…and that is up to you and no one else.