Form I-864, Affidavit of Support consulting & expert witness services.
Are you representing a foreign national in a divorce proceeding? Let us help you achieve the best results for your client and assert their rights under the USCIS Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. We provide expert witness and consulting services at no out-of-pocket cost to your law firm or your client. Our fees are paid by the opposing party per the fee-shifting provision at 8 U.S.C. 1183a(c).
Contact us below to discuss your case. There is no cost for initial case strategy discussions.
Attorney Greg McLawsen is the leading national expert on enforcement of the Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. Greg has authored journal articles, given CLE training across the country, and represented Affidavit of Support claimants in state and federal court for a decade. No attorney in the country can offer you and your client a higher level of subject matter expertise on enforcement of the Form I-864.
Assert your client’s claim under the Form I-864, Affidavit of Support.
Is your client a foreign national? Did they get their residency (“green card”) through their spouse? Has their income dipped below 125% of the poverty line ($1,400/month)? If the answer to these questions is yes, they may have financial rights under the USCIS Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. Let us help you help your client.
This is a federal issue, why does it matter in a divorce case?
Yes, the Form I-864, Affidavit of Support was created through an act of Congress. This does not mean that it can be ignored in family court proceedings. Remember:
- The Affidavit of Support is a contract. Forget the fact that the Immigration and Nationality Act exists at all. The Affidavit of Support, viewed on its own, is a binding contract. Your client, the foreign national, is a third-party beneficiary of that contract with standing to enforce their rights. State courts of general jurisdiction of authority to address contract disputes, and so they have authority to handle claims under the Affidavit of Support. No state in the country has appellate law holding that a state court of general jurisdiction lacks authority to address and Affidavit of Support claim.
- The “presumption of concurrency.” Indeed, the Immigration and Nationality Act does create a specific cause of action for Affidavit of Support beneficiaries. See 8 U.S.C. 1183a(e)(1). But under the “presumption of concurrency,” state courts have authority to hear federal causes of action unless the statute reserves jurisdiction exclusively for federal courts. There is indisputably no such reservation in Section 1183a. The idea that a matter is exclusively federal because it arises from a federal statute is simply incorrect.
- Family law courts do enforce the Affidavit of Support. To be sure, most state do not have appellate case law squarely addressing whether an Affidavit of Support claim can be raised in a divorce action. But there is established case law in California, Illinois, Texas and beyond clearly holding that a family law court must enforce the Affidavit if the matter is before it. A party to a divorce action who fails to assert their Affidavit of Support claim could face a res judicata challenge if they later attempt to assert their claim.
Resources on the Form I-864, Affidavit of Support.
We offer extensive free articles summarizing the law on enforcing the Affidavit of Support. If you are a family law attorney, we recommend starting with the article from the American Bar Association’s Family Law Quarterly. Additional journal articles published in the Bender’s Immigration Bulletin analyze all available U.S. case law on enforcing the Affidavit of Support.
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