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Quick Answer:

Can I divorce in Pennsylvania if my spouse is an undocumented immigrant?

To end your marriage to an undocumented immigrant through a low-cost, simple, uncontested, no-fault divorce, your spouse still must be available and cooperative. You may qualify for an annulment if you act quickly, but it will be an expensive and rather complicated process.

In a low-cost, simple, uncontested, no-fault divorce where your spouse happens to be an undocumented immigrant, the process is the same as if your spouse was born in this country. Your spouse must be and remain available and cooperative throughout the process. Your spouse’s unlawful motive for marrying you does not help at all in that type of divorce. No-fault means just that…no fault of either party is considered, only the mutual consent of the parties to the divorce.

But sometimes an undocumented immigrant spouse will refuse to be either available or cooperative because a divorce may result in deportation out of the USA. If it can be proven that your spouse married you for the sole purpose of being allowed to reside legally here and you were unaware that was your spouse’s true and only motive for marrying you, you may qualify for an annulment. Importantly, you must act on the annulment process very shortly after you become aware of your spouse’s unlawful motive for marrying you. The law does not want you to hold his/her action over your spouse’s head to attempt to control your spouse’s behavior. Accordingly, if you were to discover the unlawful motive and sit on your rights for an annulment, you likely will have been found to have condoned it and end up stuck in the situation.

If your spouse doesn’t want to be deported, your annulment would be contested as your spouse would not consent to a no-fault proceeding. So, it would be an expensive process, especially if your spouse concealed his/her whereabouts and could not be served legal process to prolong their time in this country.

The long and short of it is this: Just because your spouse in an undocumented immigrant, ending your marriage without your spouse’s cooperation and availability would be neither be easy nor cheap… and certainly not automatic.