Couples who divorce may verbally threaten immigration consequences to their spouse during the divorce process. Though many have no legal basis, they can be unnerving, mainly if they center around your children. Consider the non-U.S. citizen whose soon-to-be former spouse says they will have full custody of their children because of the other spouse’s immigration status. This is an example of how complex a child custody dispute can become when there are ongoing concerns around immigration status.
ZafiroLaw understands the unique challenges that non-U.S. citizens face in these situations, and that is why we provide compassionate legal services to safeguard your parental rights. We work at the crossroads of family law and immigration and will ensure that your status is not used against you when determining your future relationship with your child.
Child Custody Disputes & Status
Parents deserve an unbiased and fair evaluation in custody cases. It is critical that you understand that your immigration status will not be used against you, nor does it create prejudiced judgments about your parenting ability. Washington’s Rule of Evidence 413 addresses the first half of that issue. It states that “evidence of a party’s or a witness’s immigration status shall not be admissible unless immigration status is an essential fact to prove an element of a party’s cause of action.”
A cause of action is a legal claim that allows a party to seek judicial relief. In this scenario, we are referring to custody/ parenting plan in a divorce or parentage action situation.Regardless of your immigration status, the court examines factors surrounding the child’s well-being, the relationship they have with both parents, and each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs. These factor into what is in the child’s best interest.
You Have Parental Rights
Non-U.S. citizens have parental rights even if their immigration status is in question. Frankly, these rights are not contingent on citizenship. As stated above, the court is driven to uphold the child’s best interests. This includes protecting the rights of the child’s parents beyond their citizenship or immigration status.
While your former spouse or the other legal parent of your child may raise these concerns during your divorce process, remember that the court will not discriminate because of your status. We quoted the Rule of Evidence 413 because a party’s immigration status will likely not be admissible unless it directly relates to the issues being brought up about custody.
Schedule a Consultation with ZafiroLaw
If you are a non-U.S. citizen who faces a child custody dispute while also having concerns about immigration status, contact our office so we can take proactive steps to protect your parental rights. Because we also practice immigration law, we can review your options for remaining in this country permanently. Our experienced attorneys will help you understand your rights as we develop appropriate legal strategies to safeguard your interests and future.
Together, we can navigate these challenges and work tirelessly to ensure that your immigration status does not prevent you from having and maintaining a meaningful relationship with your child. Reach out to us today to schedule your consultation.