What Are Florida’s Immigration Divorce Laws?

February 14, 2024

Law.Divorce is always a complicated and emotionally draining process. However, when one or both individuals involved are immigrants, the situation can become even more complex. Florida, like any other state, has specific laws and regulations regarding divorce cases that involve immigrants. Understanding these laws is crucial for anyone going through a divorce involving immigration issues in the state of Florida.

Residency Requirements for Filing Divorce in Florida

Before diving into the immigration aspect of divorce cases in Florida, it’s important to first address the residency requirements. To file for divorce in the state, at least one of the parties involved must be a Florida resident for a minimum of six months prior to initiating the divorce. This requirement is the same for both immigrants and U.S. citizens.

No-Fault Divorce

Florida is a “no-fault” divorce state, which means that neither party needs to prove any wrongdoing or fault by their spouse to request a divorce. This applies regardless of the immigration status of either spouse. The only requirement is that the marriage is irretrievably broken. This no-fault policy simplifies the divorce process and reduces potential complications related to immigration status.

Division of Marital Property

When it comes to the division of marital property, Florida follows an equitable distribution model. This means that the court will divide the marital assets and debts fairly, taking into consideration several factors. Immigration status is generally not a factor when determining the distribution of marital property. The courts’ primary focus is to divide assets and debts in a just and equitable manner.

Child Custody and Support

Child custody and support proceedings in Florida are guided by the principle of the “best interests of the child.” Immigration status is not typically a determining factor in custody decisions. The courts will consider factors such as the child’s relationship with each parent, their ability to provide a stable and nurturing environment, and any history of abuse or neglect. Child support calculations also do not take into account the immigration status of the parents, as the primary concern is the child’s financial welfare.

Impact of Immigration Status on Divorce Proceedings

While immigration status may not have a direct impact on the divorce process in Florida, it can introduce additional complexities. For example, if one spouse is in the United States on a spousal visa, their legal status may be contingent on maintaining the marital relationship. In such cases, a divorce could potentially jeopardize an immigrant spouse’s legal status. It’s crucial for immigrants facing divorce to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to understand the potential consequences of their divorce on their immigration status.

Visa Petitions and Waivers

If an immigrant spouse is dependent on their partner’s visa status, a divorce can complicate their immigration situation. However, there are specific provisions in immigration law that may provide relief to those facing this situation. For example, the “Battered Spouse Waiver” allows victims of domestic violence to self-petition for legal status independently from their abusive foreign spouse. Consulting an immigration attorney who specializes in divorce cases can help immigrants navigate their options and protect their legal status.

Avoiding Immigration Fraud

It’s essential to be aware that immigration fraud is a serious offense that can have severe consequences. Entering into a marriage solely for immigration benefits, or entering into a marriage solely to obtain a divorce once immigration benefits are secured, is considered marriage fraud. This can lead to criminal charges, deportation, and an array of legal problems. Both immigrants and U.S. citizens should ensure that their marriage is genuine and that their intentions are honest when navigating divorce proceedings.


Divorce cases involving immigration can present unique challenges. However, Florida’s laws regarding divorce generally do not discriminate based on immigration status. While the divorce process itself may not be significantly impacted, the potential consequences on an immigrant spouse’s legal status require careful consideration. Consulting with a professional law firm is the best way for immigrants involved in divorce cases to understand their rights, protect their interests, and make informed decisions about their future.

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