Ever since my 2016 Separated but not Divorced blog post on how to navigate jointly filed I-751 petitions during a period of separation or marital difficulties, I have received an overwhelming response from potential clients all over the country who seemed to find themselves in this exact situation. After all this time, I have come to several very important conclusions that I wanted to share with future potential clients:
- You are Not Alone. I completely underestimated the number of potential clients out there who are struggling to find answers to their questions regarding their I-751 petitions. Many of these issues seem to develop over time and are due to changes in personal circumstances, including but not limited to a breakdown in marital relations, separation, divorce, death of a spouse, and domestic violence. And during this process, I have had the good fortune to be retained by and work with many new clients on their I-751 petitions, all of whom have placed their trust and faith in me to guide them through the U.S. immigration maze.
- Quality I-751 Representation for Complex I-751 Cases is Hard to Find. Based on my conversations and interactions with many different people, I have also come to learn that many Immigration Lawyers seem to lack the knowledge and understanding required to process complex I-751 cases. Sure, it’s easy to prepare and file an I-751 and send it to USCIS with a filing fee. This is especially true if it is a joint I-751 petition and the parties are living happily ever without experiencing any major changes since the initial approval of the I-485 or the Immigrant Visa Petition. But when something goes wrong with the marriage or other challenging circumstances present themselves, some attorneys seem to come up empty-handed and advise their client to file for divorce (when a joint petition is still the best and most viable option). After having had the opportunity to work with so many clients on I-751 petitions, I now fully appreciate just how challenging some of these issues can be, and how timing and the presentation of evidence and legal arguments can make the difference in getting a case approved.
- I-751 Petitioners have Many Options. This is probably the most important point. Most I-751 petitioners truly have lots of options. This is mainly because, unless they have been ordered removed by an Immigration Judge or have self-deported), almost all I-751 petitioners are in some form of legal status, either because they are still conditional lawful permanent residents, or because (up until the point they are ordered removed, or self deport) they have a temporary status as conditional lawful permanent resident which allows them to obtain employment authorization and (in most cases) lawfully remain in the U.S. until a decision is made or an Immigration Judge enters an order of removal. Also, in addition to having the option to file a joint petition, foreign national I-751 petitioners have the option of being able to file an I-751 waiver petition based upon several different grounds, including good faith marriage, hardship, and spousal abuse. I-751 waiver petitions can even be filed by sons and daughters (whether minors or adults) of foreign nationals who were married to abusive U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident parents; and they can even file on their own, without the participation of either parent. For me, this is the best feature of working with I-751 clients, as these options provide flexibility in the representation, allow the I-751 client petitioner to continue to remain and work lawfully in the U.S., and provides me with the ability to work with my client to customize a solution to fit their needs and help them meet their U.S. immigration goals.
My goal is to keep updating this site and to generate more content through my blog posts so that I can share my knowledge and experience with complex I-751’s with the general public and provide a starting point for clients to initiate contact with me so that I can help them work on their case, and hopefully, be retained as their I-751 Lawyer.
If you have questions or would like to schedule a consultation to discuss your I-751 Petition, contact South Florida Immigration Lawyer Sean D. Hummel at (954) 385-3111 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit www.hummelaw.com to check out additional U.S. Immigration Law services and resources.