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lysander

Support obligations for my Filipina wife after she comes to the U.S.

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I met my 26-year-old Filipina fiancée on Cherry Blossoms and am hoping to go marry her in the Philippines and get a CR-1 visa. I don't have any income, but she's a capable breadwinner, working as a mining negotiator and dealer in appliances, surplus cars, and real estate, making 300,000 Philippine Pesos a year. We've agreed that I'll be a househusband and perhaps work for one of the businesses she starts in the U.S. after she gets here. We've thought about opening a Filipino restaurant, for example.

Currently I live with my parents, and the household brings in about $95,000 a year, mostly from my mom's two jobs (mediator for a local court system and director of a branch of a nonprofit organization). We're probably going to get some money from the state to take care of my grandmother, but my father will be the one on record as the recipient since I have a felony conviction (18 U.S.C. Sec. 871) from several years ago and he doesn't. This is why on paper, I have zero income.

My fiancée and I both believe in the idea of having a three- or four-generation household, and we think it would be best, once we have more income, to sell the current house and get a bigger one, that we can all live in. My mother is open to that idea, although originally had thought that my fiancée and I should move out if we're planning on having kids, because it's only a three-bedroom house. I was thinking that, living together, we could help provide companionship, care, and support to my parents in their old age.

I discussed these plans more thoroughly with my parents yesterday. My dad's opinion was that the whole idea sounds like a farce; his view is that to have a successful marriage, you should get to know your prospective partner in person over at least a year, rather than getting to know them by Internet. I pointed out that Fil-West relationships have a high success rate, but he didn't seem impressed.

One of my mom's concerns was that we'll (or more precisely, she'll) be paying for the travel and visa expenses, while my fiancée doesn't have that same level of skin in the game. I replied that the fact that we're (or she'll) be taking on the risk is part of what gives us better return if the plan succeeds. More worrisome than that to her was that she would need to sign an I-864A to get us to the CR-1 income threshold. She's concerned that this would put her assets and income at risk if my fiancée were to get lazy and go on government assistance.

One of my counter-arguments to that was that my fiancée has demonstrated enough initiative, dependability, and industriousness to get a computer engineering degree, become a sales supervisor, and serve as one of the two main breadwinners of her own family in the Philippines. It seems logical that she would want to earn well above the poverty threshold so as to continue helping her family rather than becoming a welfare queen. Also, she's fascinated with business and investing and wouldn't want to sit home doing nothing.

Also, it's my understanding that she would need to stay married for two years in order to stay in the country, and three years in order to naturalize. Once she naturalizes, the I-864A would no longer be an issue. It seems to me that she has a reason to want to stay in our good graces in order to avoid divorce and naturalize, since at that point she could use her citizenship to begin helping family members enter the country, if she wanted. Plus of course there is love between us, although my mom says that my fiancée wouldn't be interested in me if it weren't for the green card. My reply to that was that the green card works in my favor (which is one of the reasons I chose to look for a Filipina rather than an American wife) but isn't necessarily the only reason she wants me.

It seems like the situation might be unusual in that traditionally the American man will be the breadwinner and the Filipina the housewife. But she says she wanted a younger man (I'm 34) than a lot of the American guys who were interested in her. Plus she likes the work world, so doesn't mind being a breadwinner, even though she'd also like to have kids and give them some attention when she's not working.

My question is, how commonly is it that this type of situation might go wrong, and lead to financial loss for those who sign the I-864A? Thanks.

Edited by Leucosticte

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The risk associated would be in the event your future wife should find herself unemployed or otherwise in need of means tested benefits. In this case you and the co-sponsor would be financially liable to reimburse the tax payers for any benefits received prior to her becoming a US citizen or residing in the US for 10 years - whichever comes first. All other details of your situation are not relevant to the matter.

Good luck.


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The risk associated would be in the event your future wife should find herself unemployed or otherwise in need of means tested benefits. In this case you and the co-sponsor would be financially liable to reimburse the tax payers for any benefits received prior to her becoming a US citizen or residing in the US for 10 years - whichever comes first. All other details of your situation are not relevant to the matter.

Good luck.

Well, there's what's theoretically possible, and then there are the odds of a given scenario actually happening in practice. We know that there's a possibility what you describe could happen, but I wonder how commonly that actually does happen. The details were to help assess the likelihood that this situation might go wrong, given what people have observed. Thanks.

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Sounds like a train wreck waiting to happen.

She will not need to stay married to you for 2 yrs. If she left she can naturalize in 5 yrs instead of 3.

All of you living in one hose is a disaster waiting to happen. I would listen to your parents seem they are thinking with their heads and not their heart.

Read the forums here many many couples started living with the USC family and almost all of them had issues.

Your fiance will be going through a major adjustment, add the extra ppl always around she may feel like she cannot be herself.

You could very well be the couple who has no issues, but what if you do? Are you willing to move out for you wife? Are you going to expect her to support you and your family on top of hers? Money is the root of all evil.

Why does mom thinks she would not be interested in you if the GC wasn't in the mix? You don't have to answer just look deep inside yourself to see if you're setting yourself up for failure.

If you want to see how much can go wrong look through posts in here http://www.visajourney.com/forums/forum/127-effects-of-major-family-changes-on-immigration-benefits/

I thought the rule was that I don't cooperate to file an I-751 to remove conditions before the second anniversary of the conditional residency, they will initiate removal proceedings. http://www.uscis.gov/green-card/after-green-card-granted/conditional-permanent-residence/remove-conditions-permanent-residence-based-marriage.

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She can remove conditions without you, if she proved that she entered the marriage in good faith.

Did you already meet your fiancée in person?


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The risk associated would be in the event your future wife should find herself unemployed or otherwise in need of means tested benefits. In this case you and the co-sponsor would be financially liable to reimburse the tax payers for any benefits received prior to her becoming a US citizen or residing in the US for 10 years - whichever comes first. All other details of your situation are not relevant to the matter.

Good luck.

She could reside in the US indefinitely and never relieve the sponsor(s) of the I864 obligation.

One of the ways out of the obligation is to accumulate 40 quarters of credit under Social Security. Beneficiary could achieve this by working full time for ten years; but quarters whilst married to a spouse working full time also credit towards this. Beneficiary may not work full time during these ten years, or work in a job which doesn't get credit under Social Security.

Beneficiary becomming a US citizen is the fastest route to relief under I864.

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She can remove conditions without you, if she proved that she entered the marriage in good faith.

Did you already meet your fiancée in person?

Not to mention the fact that divorce doesn't necessarily end the sponsor's obligations.

It's also important to remember that the sponsor(s) has obligations not only to the state, but also to the immigrant as well. The i-864 is considered a legally binding contract, and the immigrant can, in fact, sue the sponsor for the support. While, as far as I know, this scenario rarely happens, there is legal precedence for it.

To give a simple answer to your question, I don't personally know of any cases where a sponsor has been sued by either the state or the immigrant, but my sample size is very limited.

I think the question you should be asking here (and what your mom is probably asking) is not how common this is likely to occur, but how likely it is in your particular situation. In other words, you should be asking yourself how well you know this woman and how much you can trust her.

It's like with marriage in general - the question you should ask before getting married is not how likely marriages are to survive (not likely), but how sure are you of your relationship.

Have your parents met your fiancee? Have they had a chance to interact with her, at least over skype? From what you've described here, it seems like you are asking your mom to stick her neck out, so to speak, for a stranger... I would have reservations too, if I were her. In her shoes, I'd be way more interested in knowing what kind of person your fiancee is (by getting to know her) than in knowing "how likely" it is for sponsors to be called on their obligations.

On a side note, you mentioned that your fiancee is interested in taking on the role of breadwinner once she moves here. This is all good in the long run, but have you guys discussed what will happen in the short term when she first moves here? What would you guys do if she doesn't find work straightaway? Will you both live off of your savings? Will your parents support you both? What happens if it takes more than a few months?

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Darnell has a great suggestion op. Or u could take the tourist visa or work visa route. It is difficult but if she can show enough ties to her home country, she might get a visa. My aunt came her in 1998 on a work visa but she had a lot of money and although she is pinay she came from Canada.

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Take Darnell's advice, if she makes decent money she'll be able to support you and you'll be able to see how you work as a couple which would undoubtedly alleviate some of your parents concerns.

Agree with the poster who said all of you in one house is a recipe for disaster. Moving to the phillipines would also help you move out of your parents house and when you move back to the US you could live with just her and not your whole family.

Good luck with whatever path you take.


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Sir Darnell's suggestion is something you should ponder on.. If she loves you enough where you both are wouldn't matter. Especially if you stated that she is the more financially stable one.

Your parents are right and I've had a relationship purely just online and it ended up as a disaster, my expectation of a well thought out plan wasn't well thought out after all, it broke my heart and it made me realize you really need to at least be with them physically and get to really know them..because if it's only through online, we always have our best foot forward and we don't see the actual character of the person.


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I don't know if this applies to the fiancé visa as well but my husband and I are using my income to meet the financial support needs for me to move over. If your fiancé has enough assets, they can be used together with your salary to meet the financial threshold and then your parent wouldn't have to fill out an I-864a.


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Sir Darnell's suggestion is something you should ponder on.. If she loves you enough where you both are wouldn't matter. Especially if you stated that she is the more financially stable one.

Your parents are right and I've had a relationship purely just online and it ended up as a disaster, my expectation of a well thought out plan wasn't well thought out after all, it broke my heart and it made me realize you really need to at least be with them physically and get to really know them..because if it's only through online, we always have our best foot forward and we don't see the actual character of the person.

Well, I too had a previous relationship that involved meeting online, having a whirlwind courtship, getting married, and then having a very painful breakup that is still in the divorce process. She was an American with borderline personality disorder, although I didn't realize the significance of that at the time. What that relationship taught me is that no matter how passionately in love with you the person claims to be at the beginning, or how much you like each other as friends, or what commitments they make, or how optimistic they seem about the relationship, or how smart and reasonable they seem to be, it can still end very badly.

But I notice, the guy before me had an even more disastrous breakup with her after being with her for five years in person. She accused him of physical and sexual abuse, got a protective order, and had him thrown in prison (which is very similar to what she tried to do to me; I too had police detective show up at my door investigating rape allegations after the breakup). So that goes to show that even when you've been with the person face-to-face for a long time, anything can happen. My mom knew my dad their whole life, and she says there's all kinds of stuff, like the differences in how they handle money, that she didn't realize was going to be such a major issue until they got married.

Marriage, or any relationship that involves having kids, seems to me like a dangerous business because the law allows the other person to screw you pretty badly if they're spiteful and/or unscrupulous enough. Even if you both go into it in good faith, and know each other well, it can end so messily. But what's the alternative, if one's goals include having a long-term relationship and reproducing?

I did read, in an article "Immigration Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support) and Efforts to Collect Damages as Support Obligations Against Divorced Spouses -- What Practitioners Need to Know", by Geoffrey A. Hoffman, "One possible solution to the sponsor's liability to the government or even nongovernmental entities concerning payments made to the beneficiary would be an agreement by the immigrant to hold harmless or indemnify the sponsor in the event such entities seek reimbursement for such means-tested public benefits. Such a solution may have limited practical utility in the event the immigrant has no assets and is, thus, unable to cover the costs of any reimbursement. If the immigrant is solvent, working, or capable of future employment, then a clause in the settlement agreement providing for indemnification may be an effective way to resolve the case." It seems like the types of people who would go on welfare probably wouldn't have a lot of assets, plus there are always court costs and such when suing people. It sounds like it could get ugly, if things went wrong.

I could theoretically go live with her in the Philippines, except I'm not sure how that would work. For one thing, I have a felony conviction, so I'm not sure they'd allow me to immigrate. Right now she lives with her family in a small house, and is one of the two main breadwinners, as well as helping with the chores and probably care for her father (who has cancer) as well. The quickest way to get the CR-1 would be to marry her as soon as possible; at that point I could live with her in the Philippines and test the waters, but I'd already have committed myself somewhat.

I guess there aren't any active Philippines-specific immigration forums operating anymore? I miss the Asawa.org/FilipinaWives.org forums, because I would take these questions there if I could, since they could address Philippines-specific experiences and culture. But I notice a lot of the posters here have a Filipina spouse anyway.

Edited by Leucosticte

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as much as possible build your own family... have a lot of friend here in US,,, they are not really happy living together with their in laws... or follow darnell advice... visit our country....


asawa.org is now theworldoffilipinas.com

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