Clients consulting with the Immigration Law Office of Los Angeles, P.C. often ask if we advise them to obtain a Las Vegas divorce because it takes less time than a California one. An average divorce in California takes around six months, while in Las Vegas it could be as short as six weeks. We recommend that unless you are truly a Nevada resident, you file for divorce in the state you are currently residing, or you could face long delays or even denials when applying for immigration benefits.
In order to be granted a divorce in Nevada by a family law judge, one must be a resident of that state for six weeks. In order to prove residency, an Affidavit of Resident Witness is required from someone who lives in Nevada and can testify on your behalf that he or she has personal knowledge that you lived in Nevada for six weeks.
Many looking for a quick divorce thought that this affidavit would be enough when applying for immigration benefits, since it was enough for the Nevada family court to grant the divorce. However, because of so many California residents running to Las Vegas for a quick divorce, immigration became much stricter when evaluating Nevada divorces. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) will not accept a simple affidavit, and will request independent and corroborative evidence of residency, including utility bills, pay stubs, tax returns, and more to prove you lived in Nevada.
Do not plan to move to Las Vegas for six weeks just to obtain a divorce, because even this will also not be sufficient. Immigration currently also requires that you show intent to continue to reside in Nevada past your divorce. Simply relocating to Nevada for six weeks in order to obtain a quick divorce is considered fraudulent in the eyes of immigration.
Whether USCIS has the power to nullify a divorce granted by a judge in Nevada under the U.S. constitution can be debated, however you do not want to put yourself at risk of delaying your case or even getting it denied. It is safer to obtain a California divorce if you are a California resident.
If you have immigrated to southern California and have decided to divorce, make sure you understand your rights and options. Call the Los Angeles immigration divorce lawyers at the Immigration Law Office of Los Angeles, P.C. by dialing (888) 481-9398. We can help you preserve your rights and wellbeing through skilled legal representation.