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Family Law

Immigration Status, Divorce and Removal: What Is the Standard of Review?

Although immigration law need not be an area of expertise in a family law practitioner's toolbelt, it doesn't hurt to have some knowledge of the ins and outs of this system when presented with a client facing possible removal from the United States because a marriage was short-lived.


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For those who entered the United States in order to be married, the increasing U.S. emphasis on deportation of illegal immigrants has changed very little; the rules that apply to such cases are as they have been for many years. Still, there are nuances that sometimes confuse even the experts, and attorneys of divorcing immigrants should be aware of them in order to better advise their clients on what to expect if, because of the break-up of a marriage, they have to deal with immigration issues. A recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit explains one such obscure point of law — one that is giving a woman slated for removal from the United States a second chance to appeal an Immigration Judge’s adverse decision. See Upatcha v. Sessions, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3135 (4th Cir., 2/22/17).

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