Wife no longer with me, still wants me to help her with US papers
July 29, 2021 10:14 AM   Subscribe

Hello all, So I am a 36M who got married almost 2 years ago to a 30F. My wife is originally from outside of the US and so we got married in NYC and moved in together in FL. She had a lot of emotional issues which led to verbal fights almost daily. Almost a year in, she one day goes through my phone and finds a text I sent to an old flame. It was just a friendly text and nothing else, I never lay a finger on any woman nor flirted with any woman since we were together. In my opinion, she used that as a ticket to end the relationship because 'it was my fault.'

I took care of everything for her, paid the bills, the rent, the food, the money to get her papers started to become a US citizen, her health insurance, her phone bill, everything. After trying everything to plead for forgiveness and still continue to help her financially and try to win her back, the fights still kept happening. We settled on the split to work on ourselves for a year and see where things go. I agreed that I would help with the papers still without giving it much thought like an idiot. We get a call to do the interview and we go through the process with no problems. She gets the approval. With that she leaves back to her home country to stay for 6 months before coming back to the States. A month later I find out that she is with someone and didn't want to tell me. Of course I get really upset depressed but keep it to myself. Almost every week she still calls me to ask me how I'm doing and she's mad at me still of what I did and that she's going through a lot. 3 months in after a call, I finally snap after she asks me if I'm seeing anyone - I then let her know that I've known she's been with someone this whole time and that I do not understand why she would want to ask me that. Her attitude completely changes as though she's a completely different person and asks how we are going to handle her papers. At this stage, I'm so upset, and hurt that the only thing she cares about is her own well-being and these papers, that in her mind - she deserves it because after all, I cheated on her with that random text message to that girl. I really worry about my future and what she is capable of doing. As I'm typing this she is ordering me to see her and take pictures as a couple because its what her immigration lawyer is requesting that she does to get her papers. I am being told that I will have to keep paying bills, keep seeing her, keep acting like a real couple until 2023, which until then is when she will honor the divorce...though I have no idea if she will try to take more with her or not. I've told her that I don't trust her but her only response has been that she would never hurt me, she just wants to finish the papers. I'm really lost here, I don't know what to do - I've spoken to different lawyers telling me different things. I see my options as being the following:

1) Don't do anything and serve her papers with a divorce lawyer - this could potentially lead to a huge legal battle.

2) Do as she wants with the hopes that she will let me off easy (I would still have to deal with the mental pain of seeing her and the financial burden of paying her bills (they amount to $4,000 in total)

3) Same as number 2 but serve her a postnup to sign to protect me when we do infact divorce.

I do not own a house, we do not have any kids, and I also don't have much money after I pay my bills. I do own a lot of shares in a company (still has not been actually approved), but those shares would become non-transferable in the case of a divorce to protect them from leaving the company. The only real cash I've got is 6k in my IRA.
So sorry for the long text here, this is my first time going through this. I feel like maybe someone on here could offer some good advice. I'm thinking of possibly going with option 3 - sure its going to hurt and financially be a pain, but its still better than the alternative which is a big legal battle and lots more to pay.
posted by red47Apple to Human Relations (42 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I'm pretty sure 2 and 3 are immigration fraud, so if you're going to do either of those, I would recommend not talking about it in public on the internet!

I don't really see what you have to lose by divorcing her now. What does "let you off easy" even mean? And why would you trust her to let you off easy in any event?
posted by mskyle at 10:22 AM on July 29, 2021 [26 favorites]

What are the different things these attorneys are telling you? Were options 2 and 3 legal advice or just some ideas you came up with?

On preview: I also don't see any reason to not pursue a divorce. You wrote a lot here so maybe I missed it but... what are you leaving out that is making you so afraid of this person and anticipating some huge legal battle?
posted by sm1tten at 10:26 AM on July 29, 2021 [12 favorites]

Step 1: Don't do anything that would involve lying to the immigration office. Not only is it illegal if you get caught but also gives her more ammunition later if she gets deported, she can bring you down with her. You can re-evaluate what you are willing to do or say after step 3.

Step 2: figure out who you would use as your attorney if you got a divorce. Make an appointment. Find out what it would look like if you decided to start the divorce now. No commitment - information is your friend. Same lawyer can also help you evaluate whether a post-nup would be helpful.

Step 3: if, after step 2 you are at all considering going ahead with supporting her application, do some research to understand your liability re immigration office and US government.

My guess is that you are over-estimating the cost of standing up to her and underestimating the cost of going along with her demands. But I don't know that - you really need to get the information to assess this realistically before you decide.

This is going to involve lawyers no matter what. See lawyer now cost money but it can save you so much money and heartache later it is really worth it.
posted by metahawk at 10:33 AM on July 29, 2021 [48 favorites]

Here's how it works. When you get married and apply for a visa, your spouse gets a conditional residency visa, good for 2 years.

After 2 years, you have to prove you're still married, and then USCIS will lift conditions and issue her a permanent residency visa. If you falsify that proof to make it look like you're still together, you are committing immigration fraud.

Once your spouse's conditions are lifted and she becomes a permanent resident, she'll have to renew the physical card every 10 years, but the visa itself is permanent—unless she gets deported, or abandons the visa by establishing residency outside the US.

After your spouse has been a resident for 3 years (2 years with the conditional residency + 1 year with the permanent residency), your spouse is eligible to apply for US Citizenship based on marriage. If you file based on marriage, you have to supply evidence that you are still married and together. If you falsify that evidence, you are committing immigration fraud.

After your spouse has been a resident for 5 years (2 years with the conditional residency + 3 years with the permanent residency), she is eligible to apply for citizenship based on her having been a resident for 5 years. There is no need to be married at that point, and no need to supply evidence that you are still married.

You said that you got married less than 2 years ago—did she file for removal of conditions yet?

If your wife hasn't filed for removal of conditions, then she can't stay in the USA without by falsifying evidence that you are still together. This is committing immigration fraud.

I cannot say this enough: do not commit immigration fraudespecially if she spent 6 months out of the country. When you apply for removal of conditions, you have to list the amount of times you've left the country and for how long, and that's a big red flag—USCIS will notice. Committing immigration fraud is a crime, and makes it harder on people who want to bring their spouses to the US. Also, it's bad karma.

If she has been approved for removal of conditions, then you may divorce her. She can apply for citizenship on her own merits after 5 years of residency.

Edit: It also occurs to me that she might have been using you for a visa, used any excuse (no matter how flimsy) to present you as having cheated, and is now wanting out of the marriage with her residency intact. Personally, I wouldn't let her.
posted by vitout at 10:35 AM on July 29, 2021 [100 favorites]

Option 1.

It sounds like divorce is inevitable. Why would you wait if you "have to keep paying bills, keep seeing her, keep acting like a real couple"? Are you holding out hope to the marriage can be saved?

p.s. you don't "have to"

posted by Press Butt.on to Check at 10:36 AM on July 29, 2021 [5 favorites]

Okay take a deep breath, it sounds like as of yet nothing illegal happened with you... what she did I do not know about. You immediately need to see a divorce attorney. It does not sound from what you said that there's anything salvagble here. I would not tell her you are going to a divorce attorney as it sounds like she's still trying to keep the marriage in tack for legal purposes but I don't know that! I would write down when she calls and what you talk about. I would ask the divorce attorney for advice on what you should do and how you should respond to those calls. I would not stop making payments or doing anything different until a divorce attorney tells you.

What will help him is specific dates and monetary amounts as unemotionally as you can possibly tell him. Compile this and give it to him. Make it a bulleted list as succinctly as possible,

"On June 12, 2020 - Payment made by red47apple in the amount of $4,000 for security deposit of $4,000 on 742 Evergreen Terrace, Naples, Florida."

"On June 14, 2020, 4PM - Mrs Red47apple contacted Mr Red47apple. The decision was made to seek therapy the next steps decided by each party would be determined later"

Basically when you say "work on yourselves" what does that mean? If you spent money how much did you spend and how ou much was that? Don't say "I paid all the bills" say "Bills were for $1,000 for Bluecross and Blueshield for Mrs. red47apple, I paid the total $1,000 on x date"

It sounds likely there was some immigration fraud perpetrated by her, maybe and I have no clue how that goes but you absolutely don't want to lie or misrepresent yourself. So right now it is best to take a deep breath and just stick to the facts. Some of the facts might suck. Therapy is recommended all the time here but I'd highly recommend you get a therapist to vent to so you aren't venting to a lawyer/her. I'm not saying you need therapy, but it'd help to have a third party you can unload some emotional baggage on.

Also don't exaggerate or falsify things like when she left for her home country. "It is my understanding talking to Mrs. red47apple that she went to her home country on around date X to date Y" and then let the lawyer help you out with wording and what to say. You don't want to accidentally commit immigration fraud.

Point being there's no harm in getting a list of everything together and contacting an attorney. It does not mean that you will get a divorce but it means you can see your options and make sure you haven't done anything illegal and will not if you really want to try to save the marriage.
posted by geoff. at 10:40 AM on July 29, 2021 [6 favorites]

I think you're being lied to about what is in her power to do to harm you.

I suspect that while your heart was in the relationship, hers is/was not.

Don't commit immigration fraud on this woman's behalf.
posted by stormyteal at 10:55 AM on July 29, 2021 [10 favorites]

Response by poster: @mskyle @sm1tten I'm worried she will divorce me and try to take money from me
posted by red47Apple at 10:56 AM on July 29, 2021

My hunch is that your wife may have just been using you as a ticket to citizenship from the outset, horrible as that is. It sounds like you don't have enough assets for her to make off with much in a divorce.

When you say her bills amount to $4000, do you mean $4000 a month?
posted by matkline at 10:58 AM on July 29, 2021 [5 favorites]

I'm here to echo and amplify the excellent advice you have gotten so far. I have a rule of thumb that has never failed me and I encourage you to apply it now and in the future. The rule is:

If you are asking whether you need to talk to a lawyer, YOU NEED TO TALK TO A LAWYER.

Don't listen to the police when they tell you you don't need to talk to a lawyer. Don't listen to the CEO of your startup when they tell you you don't need to talk to a lawyer. Don't listen to your spouse when they tell you you don't need to talk to a lawyer.

Right now you are asking questions on a public internet forum about doing things that may be federal crimes. Please do yourself a favor and TALK TO A LAWYER.
posted by tom_r at 11:00 AM on July 29, 2021 [80 favorites]

Press Button to Check. This is incorrect. Assuming he sponsored her entry to the US he signs paperwork agreeing to accept financial responsibility for her, the Affidavit of Support, that is why there is an income requirement to be a sponsor.

From the UCIS website.

An Affidavit of Support is a contract an individual signs agreeing to use their financial resources to support the intending immigrant named on the affidavit. The individual who signs the affidavit of support becomes the sponsor once the intending immigrant becomes a lawful permanent resident. The sponsor is usually the petitioner who filed an immigrant petition on behalf of the intending immigrant.

An affidavit of support is a legally enforceable contract, and the sponsor’s responsibility usually lasts until the family member or other individual either becomes a U.S. citizen, or is credited with 40 quarters of work (usually 10 years).

He doesn't however have to keep seeing her or keep acting like a real couple as that would be fraud. But until he withdraws the affidavit of support he is responsible, withdrawal is usually very hard, but as she is still at the changing status stage it might be possible which is why he needs to lawyer up.

Poster, you want to lawyer up, you'll want a divorce and an immigration lawyer, get your own do not trust hers. Do not agree to pretend to be a couple if you are not a couple. Honestly it sounds like she used you and didn't realize that she needed evidence of an actual cause (ie not one harmless text) for a separation to still be able to claim for a green card, or she didn't realize that the first green card was only for 2 years. Do not go and see her. Go get a couple of lawyers that specialize in these areas and follow their advice.
posted by wwax at 11:00 AM on July 29, 2021 [32 favorites]

Which would you rather have? Money? Or the US government coming after you for immigration fraud?
posted by aniola at 11:02 AM on July 29, 2021 [8 favorites]

I'm worried she will divorce me and try to take money from me

She's already taking money from you though, right?

Agree that you 100% need to hire your own lawyer right now. The relationship is over, and you need someone in your corner to tell you how to extricate yourself with the minimum cost and without committing immigration fraud. The last time I needed a lawyer, my only regret was that I spent so much time trying to handle things on my own.

And then, seriously, don't talk to her. Don't let her get inside your head. Any further communication should be between your lawyer and her lawyer.
posted by FencingGal at 11:05 AM on July 29, 2021 [22 favorites]

You don't have very much at this point for her to take. I'm guessing that in a few years, you will have more. It is already established that she is either not mentally sound (by the insane jealous overreaction) or is using you for papers and money, so it's hard to foresee her not trying to take whatever she can from you. So divorcing sooner rather than later makes more sense, because you have less to lose now and will be out of the situation faster.
posted by metasarah at 11:12 AM on July 29, 2021 [10 favorites]

You're worried she's going to divorce you and there will be a divorce settlement. So you're going to ... continue giving her a lot of money to avoid this? And stay married forever? And commit immigration fraud? And in your mind, this will save you money and protect your assets?

The longer you are legally married to this person, and the deeper a hole you dig, the more it will cost you financially and emotionally.

I know you're really stressed. I think there are two or three professionals you should be speaking with right now: a therapist, a divorce lawyer, and an immigration lawyer. Maybe there are divorce lawyers who also know about immigration, or people who married non-citizens.

I don't think you have anything to gain, financially, by doubling down on this marriage, which is to say, staying legally connected to this person. It sounds like you got married in good faith and you're sad and scared. It sounds like she's telling you what to do, and you are trying to do that to avoid fighting. But you're not avoiding anything. You're prolonging this, and potentially about to start breaking some big laws.

I think you should stop engaging with her and work with some lawyers. This is still not a huge mess to untangle, but it will get bigger the longer you wait.
posted by bluedaisy at 11:21 AM on July 29, 2021 [28 favorites]

the sooner you end the marriage, the less she'll be entitled to. don't commit immigration fraud, especially for someone who doesn't appear to have been sincerely in the marriage to begin with.
posted by anthropomorphic at 11:23 AM on July 29, 2021 [5 favorites]

I'm going to chime back in and say that @wwax is spot-on: in my earlier post, I completely forgot about the Affidavit of Support, which you signed, and in which you agreed to financially support her until she becomes a citizen.

It should be obvious by now: you need a lawyer.
posted by vitout at 11:24 AM on July 29, 2021 [13 favorites]

This is largely spiritual advice: you need to harden your heart here. Assume she's operating in bad faith - the accusations of infidelity, the emotional plays to get you to commit immigration fraud, the hot/cold treatment, this is all to keep you in a confused and submissive state. The longer she can string this out, the more control she can manufacture over you.

Get a lawyer and find out what your real options are. Stop letting your bruised ego (that did not go to law school) make decisions and invent outcomes that are improbable at best. You got hustled, and if you don't do something pretty quick you could end up in jail.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:32 AM on July 29, 2021 [12 favorites]

It sounds like the initial interview was to get her conditional greencard which lasts for 2 years. She then needs to remove the conditions. She can either do that with your help by demonstrating that you are still genuinely married, or she can do it by herself if you are divorced and she can demonstrate that the marriage was entered into in good faith (and that would be her problem and not yours).

It sounds like you would be better off being divorced and without any further entanglement with immigration. So I'd suggest divorcing as quickly as possible. I don't think you should attempt a DIY divorce, so speak to a lawyer.
posted by plonkee at 11:38 AM on July 29, 2021 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Just a side note here - I really appreciate all of your feedback, it means a lot and speaks to how great this community is <3
posted by red47Apple at 11:39 AM on July 29, 2021 [24 favorites]

I agree with those who are saying you should find an attorney and initiate divorce. The marriage is over; seek out your own support systems like a therapist to help you through it.

Your listed options 2 and 3 are immigration fraud. Do not do them.
posted by bedhead at 11:45 AM on July 29, 2021 [2 favorites]

Im so sorry this is happening to you.

That said: you're getting a divorce. You're just asking whether to do it with or without immigration fraud. Get a lawyer, do exactly what they say, and go the "without" route.
posted by Stacey at 11:47 AM on July 29, 2021 [9 favorites]

The reason she could ask for money in the divorce is largely "he paid everything and she has no way to support herself" -- you're making a bigger case for her to ask for money by continuing to give her money, cut that off now. Just divorce, stop giving her what she wants if you get nothing in return.
posted by AzraelBrown at 11:49 AM on July 29, 2021 [3 favorites]

Divorce and also, if you haven't already stopped, DO NOT HAVE SEX WITH HER. This whole thing reeks of her using you to get a green card and if she doesn't think she can get it this way, she might try the old 'oopsie' baby.
posted by The otter lady at 11:52 AM on July 29, 2021 [23 favorites]

You don’t have much money for her to take and it’s not realistic to stay married another 3 years to help her out or to avoid problems. What if she runs up huge debts and you’re responsible for them. Think how much mischief she could get up to in 3 years that you would be on the line for.

Are you in California? They have starter divorces for people in your shoes, no assets, no kids etc.
posted by pairofshades at 11:52 AM on July 29, 2021 [5 favorites]

Obviously speak to lawyer. But one thing to ask that lawyer about is your assumption that your company shares being "non-transferrable" means they'll simply be excluded from any divorce calculations. (That sure sounds like too big a loophole for dirtbag company-owners to drive through, no?) If those shares aren't officially in your name yet, it might be a big reason to start divorce proceedings as soon as possible, before they are.
posted by nobody at 11:54 AM on July 29, 2021 [2 favorites]

A friend of mine was in this situation but reversed (and the marriage was entered into in good faith). His wife was a US citizen; he had a conditional green card through marriage. They realized they were incompatible post his obtaining the green card but prior to the removal of conditions. They disclosed this to the immigration lawyer and his advice was actually to divorce as soon as possible. That sounds strange, but the way he explained it to me is that the USCIS doesn't like anything that even whispers of immigration fraud. Far better to get divorced and then try to hold onto the green card anyway, then try to pretend to stay together. It worked! They divorced immediately, and he was able to convert his green card to one without conditions. So this may be the rare case where what's best for you personally might also be what's best for her personally, so you should feel absolutely zero guilt about proceeding to a divorce! And lawyer up to figure out how best to do this.
posted by peacheater at 12:02 PM on July 29, 2021 [5 favorites]

So I'll hop back in to thank you for clarifying, red47Apple, and say that I agree that you really need legal counsel on this. Sure, it is possible and likely that she will try to sue you for some type of support or settlement. However, your marriage was not stable when you did the interview, she is in a relationship with someone else, and she is asking you to commit fraud by pretending to be happily married to facilitate her getting her papers... if you can prove any or all of that I think you need to know how that affects your situation. (If she thinks you can prove any or all of that, even if you can't, that might also be something.)

You cannot trust this person and you definitely do not want to be on the bad side of the federal government, especially when you can so easily avoid it.
posted by sm1tten at 12:08 PM on July 29, 2021 [4 favorites]

If you have to choose (i.e. if you can’t find a lawyer who is competent in both immigration and divorce), I would see an immigration lawyer first because you should be prioritizing making sure you’re on the right side of the law. Your biggest downside here is potential criminal liability.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:22 PM on July 29, 2021 [7 favorites]

Here is a starting point for finding a lawyer. Immigration law is discussed in chapter 5.5.13.
posted by Vatnesine at 12:40 PM on July 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

I see no evidence she married you in good faith. I only have your side to go on, but unless you are leaving significant and relevant details out, it sounds like she's a bully and dishonest. I have to wonder if she used you to get a green card. If so, then she probably will try to get as much benefit (including money) from you as she can. Best to go through the difficulty sooner rather than later, so you can get on with your life. Good luck, and wishing you happier days ahead.
posted by dancing leaves at 12:43 PM on July 29, 2021 [3 favorites]

Once you get a lawyer and insist that all communication moving forward is through the lawyers, watch her tune change.

I'm sorry this is happening to you. She's a grifter and you might not even be her first attempt at this.

She also knows exactly what is legal and illegal here. She has researched how to do this. Get a lawyer! She's counting on you playing the game, so change the game.
posted by archimago at 12:53 PM on July 29, 2021 [7 favorites]

You need a therapist and a lawyer. Lying under oath is generally a bad idea. There's just so much going on here, and probably much more. It's all making you miserable, and you need a plan to get out of the situation promptly.
posted by theora55 at 1:22 PM on July 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

You've gotta do what's right for you, alone. She's an independent woman, she seems to be looking for a fight, and her citizenship is her problem now.

Your 3 options all betray your hopes for a good outcome and fear of a bad outcome, and while I've never gotten divorced, even I know that, well, everyone wants that out of a divorce. But when you put the outcome of the divorce in her hands instead of fighting for your corner, you're screwing yourseld badly and you'll be kicking your self for it for decades to come.

Fght out the divorce if necessary. Just becuase you don't want to fight doesn't mean there's not a fight coming your way, and hoping there isn't one isn't a good strategy-- if a legal fight comes, you'll get the fight and you'll be ill prepared.

Do you own any insurance at all, or do you just hope there won't be a disaster? A lawyer is insurance that you won't lose everything. Get a lawyer.
posted by Sunburnt at 2:15 PM on July 29, 2021 [3 favorites]

1) Don't do anything and serve her papers with a divorce lawyer - this could potentially lead to a huge legal battle.

I am not a lawyer, certainly not your lawyer (and you should get a divorce lawyer for sure) but I don't see how this could lead to a huge legal battle.

You've been married two years, don't own assets together, no children. You basically don't have any assets except for some yet to be issued shares (RSUs? Options?) which may not even be worth anything. Florida divorce law is based on "equitable distribution" which basically means that both of you keep what you earned during the marriage and a court will divide your respective assets and liabilities in a "fair and equitable manner". It is entirely possible given the facts you have described that the court will find that neither of you owe each other anything financially.

Anyway, it should be clear that you will eventually divorce and it will only get harder after more time has passed.

Do not commit a crime by lying to immigration on her behalf.
posted by atrazine at 2:17 PM on July 29, 2021 [11 favorites]

I am sorry this is happening to you. This sounds like a legitimately terrible situation. Unless there is something major you haven't disclosed, I would venture to say your marriage is over and you need to take steps to protect yourself. You do not owe this person the benefit of the doubt, but you do owe your future self the right to a happy and self actualized life. You do not have any children, so consider that a huge blessing from the deity of your choice.

Very simply: you need a divorce lawyer, preferably one with expertise in immigration-related issues. Definitely do not go for the cheapest legal option, or base your decision on anything other than their effectiveness as an advocate - ask for references and satisfied clients, if possible.

This will probably cost you a lot; but if you are able to extricate yourself from this situation with just a large bill, then you are fortunate.

As well, you need a therapist, someone whose personality and therapy style fits you. Less so than the lawyer, you should find a therapist that you can feel comfortable and safe with (take age, gender, other matters into account).

Finally, just some personal advice to take or leave. I have been in terrible life events myself. When they started, my immediate reaction was to flail around and spin my mental tires for hours on end. It exhausted me. It wasn't until I sat down and told myself, "this situation is really happening, it will not go away on its own, I need to take concrete steps to end it" did I begin to make any progress. Good luck, and again, I am sorry this is happening to you.
posted by fortitude25 at 3:02 PM on July 29, 2021 [9 favorites]

Once you get a lawyer and insist that all communication moving forward is through the lawyers, watch her tune change.

But you're not going to know this, because you're not going to talk to her.

Seriously, you seem like a very nice person who wants to do the right thing, and that makes you vulnerable. Once you get a lawyer, it's very likely she'll come back to you, "forgive" you for your transgression, and say she wants to try again. Please, please, please do not fall for this. This is a manipulative person who has no qualms about using you - I mean, she doesn't want to be married to you anymore, but she's asking you to risk jail on her behalf - and you are considering it. That is no reflection on you, but nice people are really at a disadvantage dealing with someone like this. Please let your lawyer handle all further communication. Block her on everything.
posted by FencingGal at 3:27 PM on July 29, 2021 [9 favorites]

The right thing is to never talk to her again (at least not without your attorney present) through ANY media. She'll try to reconcile, but it's clear she just wants you to get her citizenship.

Technically, you don't have to do anything to impede her paperwork with the INS. The divorce will get to INS, and it will likely start a review of her case ANYWAY. And if INS chooses to talk to you, tell them the truth: she cheated on you all the time, and after 2+ years you divorced her.

Divorce at this point would help more than it hurts you.

But please talk with a divorce lawyer who can explain the local laws better than we can. AND see a counselor, because this is grief you are experiencing.
posted by kschang at 4:15 PM on July 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

I understand that immigration is an incredibly important thing. But also, you don't have to do anything for anyone who doesn't treat you with respect.

Seriously, this whole situation sounds absolutely miserable. You are paying for someone who actively is cheating on you. Who is actively fighting you. Who is actively holding her life over your head . Who is accusing you of the things she is actively doing. Who wants to break up with you but still reap benefits of your marriage. Why can't her other boyfriend handle her immigration or pay for her or whatever? You aren't the only option and you won't be. A good marriage isn't this hard. It really isn't.

You should consult a lawyer, plan to divorce. You should coincider a immigration lawyer, but honestly, her immigration is not your problem. You should consult with a immigration lawyer if there's anything you need to do to make it clear you are no longer in a relationship with this person and no longer are supporting this person, but that is as far as it should go (you may be given additional information of actions you should take). You should not be thinking about how to save her citizenship application when she could have treated you with respect, dignity and tried to make your marriage work, and it seems like she has zero interest in that. That would have made her citizenship application way easier, but that's not what she chose to do. She already has an immigration lawyer so she can consult away with what will happen now that you are no longer in the picture and what her possibilities are. After all its pretty clear she doesn't want to be in a relationship with you.

This could end up in her not being able to stay in the US. This is not your problem. It really isn't.
posted by AlexiaSky at 10:26 PM on July 29, 2021 [5 favorites]

I have nothing to add that hasn't already been said, but I'm hoping that adding my voice to this unanimous chorus of internet strangers will help you move ahead with what you need to do:

1. You are in desperate need of an attorney, immediately.

2. Your marriage is already over in all but the legal sense, and you need to legally end it.

I am sorry that this is happening. It is a miserable, frightening place to be in and right now you are understandably racked with grief and anxiety. But consulting a good lawyer will prevent a bad situation from spiraling into an incalculably awful situation.
posted by cubeb at 5:39 AM on July 30, 2021 [3 favorites]

Definitely talk to a lawyer- ideally one who specializes in both divorce and immigration. Do so ASAP. Depending on what state you are in, you may be able to get the entire marriage annulled based on fraud- specifically that she only entered into the marriage to get her papers. This position is likely supported by her recent actions/statements/pressuring you to engage in immigration fraud on her behalf.

Then you owe her nothing. No alimony, no support no nothing, because the marriage never even legally existed.

But this varies widely state to state, so talk to a lawyer now and definitely stop all payments for her now. She is cut off.
posted by susiswimmer at 9:56 AM on July 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

So, a lot of folks are really making out your wife to be a bad guy, that you married in good faith, and she married for US citizenship. It might true that your citizenship and a path to US citizenship was appealing to her, but she might also have entered into the marriage in good faith. Marriage can be difficult, and it can be really hard to get married and move to a new country at the same time (if that's what happened). I know lots of folks who married for love and still really struggled in the new country; we see questions here about this sometimes. And I can totally understand why somehow who moved to a new country and experienced a troubling marriage would want to go home to family for several months. It's also not great that she started seeing someone when you all were going to work on the marriage, and I understand why that's hurtful and it did seem to be a violation of your agreement.

But ultimately, I don't think her motivations matter, and I don't think it's worth spending a ton of time stewing over it or assigning blame. Like, if she married you in good faith, would that make her more "deserving" somehow of citizenship, or you more obligated to support her? I'm not sure it does, because there are laws in place that dictate what's supposed to happen here. I suppose it might be helpful if it helps you move forward with ending the marriage legally, but you are ascribing a lot of power to her (she's "ordering" you to do things, for example) when you are in the position of power as the person with income and citizenship. It's okay if there are no bad guys, no evil villains.

It's clear that the marriage is over, not legally but in other ways, and that you need to move towards divorce quickly, with an eye towards making sure you are not breaking any sort of laws around immigration. Good luck.
posted by bluedaisy at 11:42 AM on July 30, 2021 [2 favorites]

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