This article analyzes the use of a federal affidavit of support, a required document that forms part of all family immigration petitions to overcome public charge grounds of inadmissibility. The federal statute mandating affidavits of support was altered in 1996 in an attempt to make them contractually binding, even after the dissolution of marriage. Further, affidavits of support implicate not only obligations between spouses, but also deeming analysis for public benefit eligibility. Case law interpreting these affidavits of support is scarce and varied, but trends, patterns, and contested issues are emerging. Yet courts have not settled on any theory and practice for incorporating these affidavits into their decisions related to family dissolution. This article provides an introduction to affidavits of support and an initial effort to frame the most critical issues related to them that arise in family litigation. This article also highlights some of the key strategic issues and caveats for litigants and parties.
Key Points for the Family Court Community:
- An introduction to affidavits of support and the immigration law context in which it exists
- A review of trends, patterns, and contested issues emerging in available judicial decisions in state and federal courts
- Key strategic issues and caveats for litigants and parties on the use of affidavits of support