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Beware the lure of the "Quickie Divorce"

Likewise, quick and easy should never appear in the same sentence as the word "divorce". As far as "cheap" - well, you get what you pay for.

It is a frequently appearing ad on the internet, or on a billboard, or in a local newspaper, for the low cost quickie divorce. Especially here in Los Angeles, where it is common for a legal service, not run by lawyers, or for a paralegal to market “Quick” Nevada divorces. This service is often used by non US Citizens who after settling in the US, meet an American boyfriend or girlfriend who is willing to marry him or her and Petition him or her for a green card. Although he or she may live in California, he or she decides to listen to the “Quick Nevada Divorce” pitch that is being made by a lot of paralegal offices and end up hiring the paralegal to do their Nevada divorce for a very low fee.

The problem with this is that all states have a residency requirement before you can file a divorce. In California, at least one of the parties has to have resided in the state for at least 6 consecutive months and in the County for at least 3 consecutive months prior to filing the divorce petition. In Nevada, you must have resided in the state of Nevada for at least 6 weeks prior to filing the divorce petition. Often, these paralegal offices would fraudulently use some dummy Nevada address even though the divorce petitioner actually resides in California. And all too often, the paralegal is not familiar with the law and fails to tell the "client" of these requirements.

The Department of Homeland Security is aware of this issue. Adjudications officers may inquire whether you actually lived in Nevada if you present a Nevada divorce judgment. The DHS may even request additional evidence that you actually resided in Nevada. If the biographical form G-325 does not list Nevada as a residence, it can raise a red flag. If the DHS determines that you never actually resided in Nevada for the required length of time, they can treat your Nevada Divorce Judgment as invalid. As a result, legally, you are still married to your former spouse. This also means then that at the time you married the US citizen you were married to someone else, which completely invalidates your marriage to the US Citizen spouse as bigamous.

It is very important for California residents to file their divorce petition in California and not in Nevada if they have not resided in Nevada. This is even more important if the divorce petitioner intends to later on file an immigration application based on a marriage petition by a US Citizen. To avoid these problems, you should retain the representation of an experienced attorney to make sure that your divorce is done properly and your marriage legally terminated prior to applying for marriage based immigration benefits.

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