Attorney Mooradian recently obtained an I-130 approval after his clients faced significant frustrations at the USCIS Field Office in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The clients came to attorney Mooradian when they were urged to withdraw their I-130 application at the USCIS Field Office. During their interview, the officer noted that the beneficiary was previously engaged in a common law marriage in her country of origin, and given that the marriage had never been dissolved, was not “free to marry” for purposes of an I-130 approval and eventual adjustment of status.
As a result, the clients withdrew their applications (including for the Petitioner’s step-son, and wondered how they would be able to pursue immigration benefits. Particularly frustrating was that the beneficiary believed she was not married, there was no record of the marriage, and there was no mechanism to dissolve the marriage. The beneficiary could not obtain a divorce in Massachusetts because there was no evidence that she ever was married. While she may have been in a common law union in her South American country of origin, nothing indicated that she was legally married nor that the marriage had been recorded with a civil registry. Accordingly, even if there had been a marriage, it had already been dissolved pursuant to her physical separation from her ex-partner.
Attorney Mooradian drafted basic arguments and urged the couple to re-file the I-130 and I-485 as a one-step adjustment of status case. During the interview, he advocated for the clients noting that no marriage had taken place, and that even if one had, it had been dissolved and nothing further could be done to dissolve said marriage. The officer, nevertheless, insisted on a divorce. Of course, a divorce could not be obtained where no marriage existed. The clients received a Notice of Intent to Deny their application again stating that the couple was not free to marry.
At this point, Attorney Mooradian engaged with an attorney in the country of origin and communicated with her in Spanish. He requested a detailed affidavit explaining the laws of the country of origin and making conclusions about whether the beneficiary was still married. The attorney obtained records from the Civil Registry of the country of origin, and then drafted a legal brief. After citing persuasive state law, information from the Library of Congress, and to the affidavit of the foreign-country attorney, Attorney Mooradian submitted substantial evidence of the beneficiary’s freedom to marry.
The case remained pending for several months, at which point the attorney made a Congressional inquiry through the office of Congressman James McGovern. Shortly thereafter, a positive decision was reached. Now, instead of having an uncertain future in the country and being at risk of removal from the country, the beneficiary is able to obtain her green card based on her valid marriage to a United States citizen.