Will my father be responsible for a property foreclosure bought under his name? 8 Answers as of July 21, 2011

My husband and I have been married for 3 years. He received his green card through me, a US citizen. At the time of filing documents for his green card, my dad signed his affidavit of support. The problem now is that my husband bought a condo, under his name, several years back and this condo is now in foreclosure. He will be filing for bankruptcy. Can my dad be affected by this since he signed the affidavit of support? Is there any possibility that the government will see him as responsible?

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World Esquire Law Firm
World Esquire Law Firm | Aime Katambwe
I think I understand what you are asking and the answer is NO as far as I am concerned. Signing the Affidavit of Support does not make a person responsible for the immigrant for the rest of their life. Filing for bankruptcy is not synonymous with "becoming a public charge" either. It is a protective measure for one's financial health and sanity. The I-864 itself tells you the limits of your commitment when you sign it; please download it at www.uscis.gov and take a look at it for yourself. It is very informative and I recommend it. Besides, the condo that is in foreclosure was probably not purchased from the government and even if it were, it would not make any difference. So, your Dad will be no more affected than you will be in this affair. This is between your husband and his creditors. If your husband needs to, he should remind his creditors that it is illegal to use the immigration laws in order to gain an unfair advantage over anyone. Good luck!
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/20/2011
Law Office of Christine Troy
Law Office of Christine Troy | Christine Troy
Read that document. It will tell you the full limitations and responsibilities of your father. Generally it is limited to him paying for state and federal means tested benefits like medicaid. It does not make your father responsible for your husband's other financial issues.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/21/2011
Fong & Associates
Fong & Associates | William D. Fong
The I-864 Affidavit of Support is a contract between the joint sponsor (your father) and the US government. The foreclosure is a private matter between your husband and the mortgage lender, so it should not be relevant to the I-864.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 7/20/2011
Pauly P.A.
Pauly P.A. | Clemens W. Pauly
Unless he co-signed the loan, your father is not liable to the banks for any deficiency judgment against your husband and I also do not see any liability on your father's part as to the state of federal government arising out of the bankruptcy proceedings. That being said, I have never researched this issue and know that litigation in this area has become heated. The I-864 gives the your husband a right to claim support to maintain your annual household income at not less than 125% of the poverty guideline. I don't know if under bankruptcy laws the trustee could bring such a support claim against your father for the benefit of the bankruptcy estate. Absent this consideration, local, state, the federal government or any agency providing "means-tested public benefits" to your husband would be able to claim that amount back from your father and you. While this obligation will probably continue for another 7 years, it would cease immediately once your husband becomes a US citizen; therefore, he might want to look into this, since you have been married for 3 years and he may be eligible to apply already. I hope this information was helpful.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 7/20/2011
Law Office of J Thomas Smith
Law Office of J Thomas Smith | J. Thomas Smith Ph.D.
No. The Affidavit of Support serves to guarantee that the immigrant does not become a public charge, that is receive welfare or other government assistance. If the immigrant does receive welfare or other benefits, the sponsor can be held responsible. Bankruptcy is not welfare or government assistance for immigration purposes. The sponsor agrees to be held responsible for 10 years (40 quarters of work credited towards Social Security) or until the immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen, dies or leaves the country for good.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 7/20/2011
    The Law Offices Jonathan D Montag
    The Law Offices Jonathan D Montag | Jonathan D Montag
    Dear Sir or Madame: I can respond to your question in general terms. Do not construe this response as legal advice as I would have to meet with you and learn a lot more facts about your case to see if the general principles in my answer apply to your specific case or if facts in your case make the general principle inapplicable. Generally speaking: If you read the rules about the affidavit of support on the Form I-864, you will see that the sponsors are only responsible to reimburse the government for non-emergency need-based government aid the person obtains. The sponsor is not responsible for other debt the person incurs. There are also exceptions to the need-based government aid, like WIC benefits, for example. I cannot schedule an appointment through email. Please call me to schedule an appointment.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Clifford Togo Sakata
    Clifford Togo Sakata | Clifford Togo Sakata
    Hi, Generally the Affidavit of Support responsibilities only apply to certain types of government welfare benefits. However, please contact an immigration attorney so that you can give her the specifics of your case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC
    Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Reza Athari
    The affidavit of support was designed to prevent immigrant from becoming public charge. It was not designed to benefit private creditors. We have seen some cases in the context of family law that the courts have extended the affidavit of support to benefit the beneficiary of a spousal petition after the marriage has gone south and awarded alimony and spousal support. I am not aware of any other extension of the affidavit of support to any other individuals.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/20/2011
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