Illegal immigrants in the United States have nearly the same legal rights as citizens in manners of divorce and marriage with the Fourth and Fifth Amendments guaranteeing equal protection and access to the court system. This means that the process of divorcing an illegal immigrant is the same as any other divorce, although there may be a few complications in your case.
Under Texas law, anyone is entitled to a divorce, regardless of their legal status in the country, as Texas Family Code makes no distinction between illegal and legal residents. This is the same throughout the country. The family court will not inquire as to either party’s immigration status and Immigration and Customs Enforcement will not be alerted.
Still, you must be a resident of Texas for 6 months and a county resident for 90 days before filing for a divorce in Texas. While filing for divorce will not prompt deportation, be aware that your spouse can be deported at any time during the divorce proceedings even though the court will not notify Immigration.
If your spouse has returned to their home country, you will still be able to serve divorce papers as long as their home country signed the Hague Service Convention treaty through a process called “letters rogatory.” Divorcing a spouse who has returned to their home country can be complicated so it’s best to work with an experienced divorce attorney.
Another important reason to hire a divorce attorney in these cases is this: an illegal immigrant can still be awarded with child custody, spousal support, and child support as legal status and issues of marriage and divorce. An attorney can help you understand your rights in terms of the division of martial assets and represent you in seeking custody or support.
Are you preparing to divorce but unsure how to get started? Do you need help protecting your assets? Contact the Jackson Law Firm today for a free consultation with a divorce lawyer in Austin, Texas to discuss your case.