The Michigan Court of Appeals enforced the Affidavit of Support (I-864) obligations as part of a divorce proceeding in Greenleaf v. Greenleaf. See the opinion here: http://www.michbar.org/opinions/appeals/2011/092911/49856.pdf
What does this mean for spouses supporting immigrant spouses? This means that a U.S. citizen spouse filing an I-864 Affidavit of Support on behalf of an immigrant spouse who has adjusted status must support the immigrant spouse financially until or unless certain requirements are met (see below). The Form I-864 creates a contract between the U.S. citizen spouse and the United States government. In return for the immigrant spouse becoming a permanent resident, the U.S. citizen spouse agrees to provide the immigrant spouse “any support necessary to maintain . . . him/her at an income that is at least 125 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for . . . her household size[.]” The Affidavit of Support granted the immigrant spouse the right to sue the U.S. citizen spouse if the citizen does not provide sufficient support.
The Affidavit of Support states when the obligation to support ends. Specifically, the obligation under a Form I-864 ends when the immigrant who becomes a permanent resident (1) becomes a U.S. citizen; (2) has worked, or can be credited with, 40 hours of coverage under the Social Security Act; (3) No longer has lawful permanent resident status and has departed the U.S.; (4) becomes subject to removal, but applies for and obtains in removal proceedings a new grant of adjustment of status, based on a new affidavit of support, if one is required; or (5) dies. Note that divorce does not terminate a U.S. citizen sponsor’s obligations under the Form I-864.
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