Form I-864: Sponsoring Spouse’s Duty to Support

Rincker Law Family/Matrimonial Law Leave a Comment

Broken heart

To file for a green card, the U.S. citizen must complete Form I-864, an Affidavit of Support, which is an immigration document requiring the U.S. citizen to maintain his or her foreign national spouse at or above 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Divorce does not nullify this promise of support. This is because the Affidavit of Support “serves the important public policy objective of not requiring taxpayers to bear the cost of supporting impoverished immigrants who are brought to the United States by their relatives.”  Interestingly, a prenuptial agreement cannot override the support obligation under the Affidavit of Support.

Besides the contract the Affidavit of Support establishes between the sponsor spouse and the government, the Affidavit of Support also creates a separate contractual obligation between the U.S. citizen and his or her foreign national spouse. This obligation to support is enforceable in Federal or State court. This gives you the option to pursue your claim for support in either Federal Court or the Supreme Court.

It is up to you whether you want to pursue support in Federal Court or Supreme Court but, in any case, a foreign national spouse should always have a copy of Form I-864 and be prepared to use it during court as well as demonstrate any and all efforts you have taken to become self-sufficient and thus “mitigate” damages.


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