These are uncertain times for immigrants, even those who are in the country legally. Many have found themselves impacted by the travel bans from countries that the Trump administration has tried to implement. Even people with valid visas have been prevented from returning to the U.S. from overseas, while others who have lived here for many years have been deported.
For many Americans engaged to people from other countries, this uncertainty has led to a speeding up of their wedding plans. By marrying an American citizen, a person can gain permanent residency status. Of course, the marriage has to be determined to be legitimate and not just for a green card. As one medical student engaged to a man from South America said, "The unpredictable nature of what's going on has put a lot of people on edge."
Marriages and Prenups Have Increased Since the Election
City clerks and attorneys across the country have reported an increase in the number of people getting married since the November election. With that has come an increase in prenuptial agreements. Boston saw a 20 percent rise in marriage license applications in the period from November of last year to March of this year over that same period the prior year.
Many of these couples are young, and prenuptial agreements are increasingly popular among millennials. However, moving up the wedding date and getting a prenup drafted in a short period of time can present some challenges. One family law attorney even called these quickly-drafted documents that she's had clients seeking "Trumped-up prenups."
The Challenges of a Prenup When Marrying a Foreign National
However, drafting a prenup when one person is an American citizen and the other isn't also presents challenges. For example, for U.S. citizens who marry foreign nationals, they must agree to support their spouse until he or she gains citizenship or has worked in the country for ten years. That's the case even if they get divorced before either of those things occurs. A prenup could also potentially raise questions with immigration authorities about the legitimacy of the marriage.
If you and your partner are in this position, it may be wise to consult both immigration and family law attorneys. Prenuptial agreements have significant and long-lasting consequences, and should never be rushed or drafted without serious consideration.
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