Will owing child support and arrears affect the ability to petition for immigration purposes? 4 Answers as of February 03, 2011

My husband who is a US citizen is going to petition for me. He is paying child support with arrears , would that be a problem for us? And why did they hold his passport?

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Theresa E. Tilton, Attorney at Law
Theresa E. Tilton, Attorney at Law | Theresa E. Tilton
Yes, this will be a problem for you. It is not likely that you will get permission to immigrate.

You have married a man who has a record of failing to support his children. This is very serious. For the government to put a hold on his passport means that your husband has failed to pay some tens of thousands of dollars in child support. When the fathers do not support the children, the children are often supported by the US taxpayers.

To be allowed to bring a foreign spouse into the USA, the US citizen must prove that his spouse will not become a public charge. The US cannot rely on your husband to support you, in light of his failure to support his children.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 2/3/2011
441 Legal Group, Inc.
441 Legal Group, Inc. | Gareth H. Bullock
It won't prevent him from petitioning for you, but if he wants to get back his US passport he has too either pay up the arrears or contact support enforcement and work a suitable payment plan so that they will release the hold on his passport with the State Department.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 2/2/2011
Law Office of Immigration & International Trade Law
Law Office of Immigration & International Trade Law | Linda Liang
There must be some other reasons for ICE holds his passport. You should ask them.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 2/2/2011
Feldman Feldman & Associates, PC
Feldman Feldman & Associates, PC | Lynne Feldman
When your spouse petitions for you he must demonstrate that you will not be a public charge and sign an affidavit of support. His child support obligation will be reflected in the number of persons dependent on his income which may mean that you also need a co-sponsor but will not affect his ability to petition for you.

Child support obligations though are taken very seriously in most states and they have a lot of power to put a lien on his tax return, take his passport, etc. so he needs to be cooperative and pay what he agreed.

If he can't pay then he should apply for a modification to something he can pay especially if there is a change in the circumstances of his income. If we can be of assistance in his petition for you please contact me as indicated below and we can advise procedures, timing, fees, and documents required.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/2/2011
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