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Going through divorce proceedings can be a very difficult time in your life. If you've recently immigrated into the country, that difficulty is often layered with a feeling of anxiety and uncertainty regarding the future of your immigration status.
Fortunately, the breakdown of the relationship does not have as much of an effect on your status as you're probably thinking. The following explains precisely how permanent separation from a spouse impacts your status as a recent immigrant.
Little to No Effect for Permanent Residents
Under most circumstances, a divorce would not cause you to lose your current immigration status, except in a few very specific situations. For instance, someone who has achieved permanent resident status generally will not lose that status simply because the relationship ended.
However, if you testify as to the length and nature of your relationship and said testimony turns out to be untrue, there is a good chance that it could negatively impact on your immigration status. In short, just because your relationship with a loved one ends doesn't mean that your current immigration status will end with it, unless the relationship was created under false pretenses.
In regards to custody issues and division of assets, it's generally a good idea to speak to an experienced attorney for more detailed information. Your attorney is best equipped to deal with property, custody and child support issues that could be complicated by your current immigration status.
Effects on Sponsorship
On the other hand, a divorce could have a sizable impact on those who arrived in Canada as a sponsored spouse and their sponsors. For example, even if you divorce your sponsored spouse, you'll remain financially responsible for total of 3 years after your former spouse arrived in the country. Former spouses can also seek social assistance in the event that their sponsors are no longer willing or able to financially support them.
The effects of divorce are somewhat different for those who hold conditional permanent residency. According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, conditional permanent residency applies for those who've submitted their residency application on or after October 25, 2012, have been in a relationship for 2 years or less and haven't had any children in common with their sponsor.
Conditional permanent residents are required to live with their spouses for a period of 2 years. During that time, separating or divorcing from a sponsored spouse could place your immigration status in jeopardy.
Exceptions for Abuse Victims
Fortunately, exceptions to the conditional permanent resident rule are available if you are in an abusive relationship, whether the abuse comes from a spouse, partner or another member of their family. Any time during the 2-year period, you can request an exception on the grounds of abuse or neglect by your sponsor spouse or someone related to them. It doesn't matter whether said person habitually resides in the household or not during the conditional permanent resident period.
Those who have been coerced or forced into marrying their sponsoring spouses are also eligible to request an exception to the conditional period.
Effects for Refugees
If you've been granted refugee status, being divorced won't terminate your status. If you're in the process of claiming refugee status based on your spouse's situation, there's a good chance you can separate your claim from your former spouse's in the event of a divorce.
Long story short, there are very few circumstances that could negatively impact your current immigration status during a divorce. However, it is always a good idea to have your bases covered throughout the divorce proceedings, since there could be any number of unforeseen issues that could present problems with your marital or immigration status. Click here or check with other lawyers to find out specific information on your immigration status.Share
2 June 2015