Alimony, also known as spousal maintenance, refers to an individual’s legal obligation to support their spouse financially before or after a divorce/marital separation. This compulsion emanates from the divorce law or family law of the respective country.

However, when a married couple separates, the alimony is usually not made available as a matter of course. This varies according to the state. Whether one person will take the responsibility of financially supporting his/her spouse depends on a range of factors. Nevertheless, the financial sponsor needs to be at least 18 years of age, living in the US, and either a US citizen or a green card holder.

Guidelines

  1. It is mandatory for most visa beneficiaries sponsored by family and immigrant visas based on employment to file an I-864, Affidavit of Support. The I-864 is vital for a non-citizen to conquer inadmissibility owing to the probability of turning into a ‘Public charge.’
  2. The I-864 Affidavit of Support signifies a legal contract between the sponsor (who is a US Citizen) and the US government, wherein the sponsor is obliged to sustain the immigrant at 125 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. It also declares that the citizen has to reimburse the government agencies in case any benefits were availed by the non-citizen beneficiary.
  3. This is only a substantial aid. Annually, a sum of about $13,963 is required to support a single individual and an additional amount of $4,950 for each extra family member. The Affidavit of Support holds that if the sponsor fails to make the payment, he/she would be personally liable. The citizen can also be sued by either the government agencies that provided public benefits or the beneficiaries themselves.
  4. In the event of a single sponsor being unable to fund the alimony expenses, more joint sponsors can come together to provide the help up to the required level.
  5. Only the following cases could end the obligations for sponsor support. If the non-citizen:
    • becomes a US citizen
    • finds work for 40 hours a week
    • was an erstwhile US resident and has departed the US
    • vseeks permanent residency based on a different I-864

    • dies
  6. The sponsor’s duty towards financially supporting the non-citizen won’t be triggered if the latter’s income has not slipped beneath 125 percent of the Poverty guidelines.
  7. For a beneficiary to sue a sponsor for financial support, he/she must have attained lawful permanent residence(LPR) in the US.
  8. If both the sponsor and beneficiary are gainfully employed and can make ends meet, financial support duties could be discontinued after five years instead of ten years.

Summing up

Although the non-citizen beneficiaries can sue on the lines of Affidavit of Support, courts continue to deal with a countless number of potential defenses against it. My legal experience in civil litigation and immigration makes me uniquely skilled to handle these types of cases which need to be filed either in the state or federal court.