Immigration law in the United States is incredibly complex. While you may have a green card, nonimmigrant visa or no status at all, your immigration situation may change both quickly and unexpectedly. If you are going through a child custody dispute, though, you may need to pay special attention to your immigration status.
Whether you have a valid immigration status or no immigration paperwork at all, you want what is best for your children. If you and your ex-spouse cannot reach an acceptable agreement about legal custody and physical placement, you may have to ask a judge to intervene. Knowing how an Illinois family court is likely to handle your immigration status may put your mind at ease.
The best interests standard
Like other states, Illinois law requires judges to consider the best interests of the children when making custody determinations. To do so, judges consider several relevant factors. Notably, your immigration status and that of your children’s other parent is not one of them. As such, immigration status does not play a direct role in custody determinations.
An indirect effect
If you have a shaky immigration status, you may not be out of the woods when it comes to child custody matters. On the contrary, your immigration situation may play an indirect role in your custody case. For example, if you have no valid immigration status, a judge may find that you cannot effectively meet the best interests of your kids. That is, you may not find the sort of gainful employment necessary to support children. Alternatively, if you are facing removal proceedings, a judge may conclude that you cannot provide sufficient stability for the young ones in your family.
You undoubtedly love your children and want what is best for them. Because your immigration status may indirectly factor into your custody matter, you must work diligently to understand the intersection of immigration law and Illinois family law.