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How Does DACA Impact Family Law Matters for DREAMers?

How Does DACA Impact Family Law Matters for DREAMers?

Update: 2020-07-16


  • DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It’s a program for children who grew up in the United States, have known this country to be their home, but don’t have immigration documents or eligibility to apply for citizenship or a green card. There are 800,000 people in this situation. These individuals are referred to as DREAMers.


  • In 2012, the Obama administration passed a government program that granted “deferred action”, which protected these people from deportation, and allotted them a work permit and the ability to apply for social security. It is renewable for two years at a time, and in exchange, the immigrant has to come forward with their address history, their family history, and have no criminal history in order to be eligible. 


  • While DACA is better than being undocumented, it doesn’t provide benefits similar to a Green Card. A Green Card gives an individual the right to work, the ability to travel in and out of the United States, the right to take advantage of US law, and provides a path to citizenship after five years. DACA does not provide a pathway to citizenship.

  •  If an individual with a green card is looking to get divorced, they may need to prove that their marriage wasn’t a “sham” marriage, meaning it was entered into solely for immigration purposes. If they fail, they may be subject to deportation. 


  • When divorcing with a Green Card, sponsorship requirements from the spouse with citizenship will remain in-tact even after divorce. This expectation will remain for up to ten years, regardless of marital status, or until the migrant spouse becomes a citizen. This is because federal laws trump state law divorce proceedings.


  • Undocumented individuals have full access to the circuit court, as they are not required to expose their immigration status in family law cases. 


  • If an undocumented individual wants a divorce but is wary to go to court due to it being on public record, it is possible to handle the case outside of the court via negotiations with the other party. While documentation doesn’t typically have an impact on asset division, it can complicate child custody or support cases, which is why it’s important to have a knowledgeable family law and immigration attorney by your side.

• DACA significa Acción Diferida para los Llegados en la Infancia. Es un programa para niños que crecieron en los Estados Unidos, y que han visto a este país como su hogar, pero no tienen documentos de inmigración o elegibilidad para solicitar la ciudadanía o una green card. Hay 800,000 personas en esta situación. Estos individuos son conocidos como DREAMers.


• En el 2012, la administración de Obama aprobó un programa gubernamental que otorgó "acción diferida", y protegió a estas personas de la deportación otorgándoles un permiso de trabajo y la posibilidad de solicitar el seguro social. Es renovable por dos años a la vez y, a cambio, el inmigrante debe presentar su historial de dirección, su historial familiar y no tener antecedentes penales para poder ser elegible.


• Si bien DACA es mejor que ser indocumentado, no brinda beneficios similares a los de una green card. Una green card le da a una persona el derecho a trabajar, la capacidad de viajar dentro y fuera de los Estados Unidos, el derecho de aprovechar las leyes estadounidenses y se puede obtener la ciudadanía después de cinco años. No se puede obtener la ciudadanía por medio de DACA.


• Si una persona con una green card busca divorciarse, es posible que deba demostrar que su matrimonio no fue un matrimonio "falso", lo que significa que se celebró únicamente con fines de inmigración. Si fallan, pueden estar sujetos a deportación.


• Al divorciarse con una g

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How Does DACA Impact Family Law Matters for DREAMers?

How Does DACA Impact Family Law Matters for DREAMers?

with Landerholm Family Law