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Hi all

This forum helped me massively during the whole move to the States (I'm from the UK), so I guess this is now my time to ask a question.
I got married in May 2016 and I currently have a conditional green card.
Completed the interview in November 2017, so my CR green card expires this November.

So- the love of my life was hiding the fact she was an alcoholic while dating long distance. When I met her, she was working in a winery (for a very low salary) and I told her that the drinking was a dealbreaker, along with helping her realize that working in a winery was also counterproductive to her goal of stopping. They practically paid in wine. She eventually started a new job as a customer service rep at a tech startup. Was great.

After broken promises of therapy and sobriety, what I endured was a lonely and often unstable life at home with her. Constant lying and staying out drinking. Her family members turned against me the minute I asked them to help her. She called it controlling. We argued and I started becoming depressed. I took small jobs in catering and waitressing.

In 2017, I landed an excellent job but her drinking and mistreatment were disrupting my life. My grandmother passed away and I was unable to get back to London to attend the funeral. It was traumatic and instead of my spouse being there, she went to a bar the same day and stayed out until 3 am. It was the last straw. I went back to London for 3 months to stay at my family home and recoup. 
When I went back to the States to seek a divorce and file taxes with her, she was reluctant. Meanwhile, her salary kept going up. We tried therapy, I slept on my friend's couch. I went on job interviews and tried to see how I could make it work still. My friend could no longer host me and I moved back in with my wife who started a 'sober life' with the help of regular therapy. 
The arguments and family resentment never stopped. I came back to London with a temporary job offer and just ran for it. We talked on the phone and she begged me to come back as things would be different, better in every way.
From July 2018 - October 2018 I went to live with her and try again. I was applying for lots of jobs and also studying on my own savings. She got another salary increase, and her work life seemed to be going so well. But she would condescend me and scream at me in public. She was angry about having to pay for our rent. The therapist was suddenly not needed and her drinking became harder to hide. I asked to consider an amicable divorce but this was off the table. 
When I came back in October for my mother's 70th, I discovered she was sleeping with the HR Manager. I flew back to collect my belongings and immediately her lawyer was in touch to get me to sign a waiver for any equitable distribution. Basically, to sign to me agreeing I won't ask for any money. She fears this the most as her salary went up 200% since we met, and I'm unemployed.
Divorce is all she wants now. I'm being pressured daily to sign this paper. I wasted my savings, my money on the immigration paperwork, and my time. I have no base in the US so I have to stay at my family home here in England for now.

I'm also nervous I'll lose my green card, or worse - my right to return as a tourist, and I have NO idea how to apply alone. We will still be married for 3 years next month.
Does anyone have any advice as to how and when I should apply to extend my green card, or even if it is better to hand it back so I'm at least able to visit my family? I'm totally stuck with what to do next... and the time to send off for my conditions to be lifted is August. 

Thank you so much if you read all of that!
 

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11 hours ago, aaron2020 said:

If you want to stay in the US by removing the conditions on your green card, then divorce and file a waiver to remove conditions on your own.  It's that simple.  Do a search on VJ for "divorce waiver."

Thank you aaron2020. I will be in the middle of proceedings when the divorce waiver is filed. 

I was warned that the amount of time spent out of the country will badly impact my application. I don't want a ban or anything... it's all circumstantial

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15 hours ago, zedray1 said:

Hi all

This forum helped me massively during the whole move to the States (I'm from the UK), so I guess this is now my time to ask a question.
I got married in May 2016 and I currently have a conditional green card.
Completed the interview in November 2017, so my CR green card expires this November.

So- the love of my life was hiding the fact she was an alcoholic while dating long distance. When I met her, she was working in a winery (for a very low salary) and I told her that the drinking was a dealbreaker, along with helping her realize that working in a winery was also counterproductive to her goal of stopping. They practically paid in wine. She eventually started a new job as a customer service rep at a tech startup. Was great.

After broken promises of therapy and sobriety, what I endured was a lonely and often unstable life at home with her. Constant lying and staying out drinking. Her family members turned against me the minute I asked them to help her. She called it controlling. We argued and I started becoming depressed. I took small jobs in catering and waitressing.

In 2017, I landed an excellent job but her drinking and mistreatment were disrupting my life. My grandmother passed away and I was unable to get back to London to attend the funeral. It was traumatic and instead of my spouse being there, she went to a bar the same day and stayed out until 3 am. It was the last straw. I went back to London for 3 months to stay at my family home and recoup. 
When I went back to the States to seek a divorce and file taxes with her, she was reluctant. Meanwhile, her salary kept going up. We tried therapy, I slept on my friend's couch. I went on job interviews and tried to see how I could make it work still. My friend could no longer host me and I moved back in with my wife who started a 'sober life' with the help of regular therapy. 
The arguments and family resentment never stopped. I came back to London with a temporary job offer and just ran for it. We talked on the phone and she begged me to come back as things would be different, better in every way.
From July 2018 - October 2018 I went to live with her and try again. I was applying for lots of jobs and also studying on my own savings. She got another salary increase, and her work life seemed to be going so well. But she would condescend me and scream at me in public. She was angry about having to pay for our rent. The therapist was suddenly not needed and her drinking became harder to hide. I asked to consider an amicable divorce but this was off the table. 
When I came back in October for my mother's 70th, I discovered she was sleeping with the HR Manager. I flew back to collect my belongings and immediately her lawyer was in touch to get me to sign a waiver for any equitable distribution. Basically, to sign to me agreeing I won't ask for any money. She fears this the most as her salary went up 200% since we met, and I'm unemployed.
Divorce is all she wants now. I'm being pressured daily to sign this paper. I wasted my savings, my money on the immigration paperwork, and my time. I have no base in the US so I have to stay at my family home here in England for now.

I'm also nervous I'll lose my green card, or worse - my right to return as a tourist, and I have NO idea how to apply alone. We will still be married for 3 years next month.
Does anyone have any advice as to how and when I should apply to extend my green card, or even if it is better to hand it back so I'm at least able to visit my family? I'm totally stuck with what to do next... and the time to send off for my conditions to be lifted is August. 

Thank you so much if you read all of that!
 

 

Ok, first take s deep breath. I won't try to help you with the relationship stuff, focus on the immigration:

- Do you want to stay in the US?

- How much time did you spend outside the US? How many trips of how many days?

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Yes, quite right. So to focus on immigration and the two questions:

1. Yes, ideally I'd move back

2.  Since getting my CR1 green card? I have been to London 4 times. All adding up to  11 months since Nov '17.

11 months out of 17 months. 

😐 It's quite a lot.

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4 minutes ago, zedray1 said:

Yes, quite right. So to focus on immigration and the two questions:

1. Yes, ideally I'd move back

2.  Since getting my CR1 green card? I have been to London 4 times. All adding up to  11 months since Nov '17.

11 months out of 17 months. 

😐 It's quite a lot.

 

11 out of 17 months is a lot, and you should come back asap to re-establish yourself in the US if your plan is to live permanently here. How long have you been out on this trip?

You can apply for a divorce waiver I-751 even if the divorce is not final, you will get an RFE for the divorce certificate many months down the line and you should have it by then. Don't miss the deadline to file, though, don't let your green card expire.

Also, never take legal advice from your opponent - get your own lawyer to look after your interests in the divorce. Collect all the evidence you can that your marriage was bonafide and keep it somewhere safe, use it to file the I-751.

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Thank you Mollie09. It always surprises me how kind people like you are to take the time. 

I've been out since Dec 2... so it's just over 4 months now.

 

The last part that you wrote hit me especially hard as she has been trying to give me her lawyer's advice. I was close to listening to it.

I would love to come back asap but I'm still jobhunting from over here - I don't have a base anymore in NY.

I think that I should have rights to maintenance from her, during the divorce proceedings, according to the guidelines. This is why she wants me to sign away my right to it asap. 

 

The divorce waiver asks for an address and I guess I can still put my marital home in there...? I don't know.

 

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56 minutes ago, zedray1 said:

Thank you Mollie09. It always surprises me how kind people like you are to take the time. 

I've been out since Dec 2... so it's just over 4 months now.

 

The last part that you wrote hit me especially hard as she has been trying to give me her lawyer's advice. I was close to listening to it.

I would love to come back asap but I'm still jobhunting from over here - I don't have a base anymore in NY.

I think that I should have rights to maintenance from her, during the divorce proceedings, according to the guidelines. This is why she wants me to sign away my right to it asap. 

 

The divorce waiver asks for an address and I guess I can still put my marital home in there...? I don't know.

 

 

So it's kind of chicken-and-egg - without a base in the US it's hard to find a job in the US, which makes it hard to afford a base in the US. Break the cycle, get some money, and move back if it's a priority. It's not going to be easy, especially with the divorce fight. File for maintenance, but I wouldn't count on getting it right away.

After 6 months out things start getting more complicated for you as far as being gone too long. Not having an address is an added complication. I would think long and hard how much you're willing to do to stay in the US, because if that's your priority you need to come back ASAP, establish a permanent residence, find a job, etc. You have until November to file the I-751, so do whatever you can before then. It's really going to boil down to what you want to prioritize.

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And if I just put a white flag and give up my green card voluntarily? Do you know if I revert back to visa-free travel as a Brit? Or is it always going to be a struggle now?

 

My sister has been nationalized and has three little kids that I miss dearly. I am wondering if my return to the states in the future might be possible through her. I just don't want it to look like I married to get a green card. Aye aye aye.

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57 minutes ago, zedray1 said:

And if I just put a white flag and give up my green card voluntarily? Do you know if I revert back to visa-free travel as a Brit? Or is it always going to be a struggle now?

 

My sister has been nationalized and has three little kids that I miss dearly. I am wondering if my return to the states in the future might be possible through her. I just don't want it to look like I married to get a green card. Aye aye aye.

 

Did you previously overstay a visa? Before you were granted the conditional green card? If so, you're not eligible for ESTA. If not, you can always use ESTA in the future. Honestly, surrendering the green card you could have fought to keep is pretty good evidence that you don't plan on immigrating illegally. But you never know.

If your sister applied for you it would take 15-20 years, so I wouldn't worry about what it would potentially look like that far in the future.

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If you want a life in the US then figure out a way to move back, live with family, friends, whatever you have to do, find a job in the US and establish yourself, file for ROC with divorce waiver, find a good divorce attorney, don't sign anything without an attorney's advice, and move on and have a good life in the US and put the bad relationship behind you.  If you want a life in the UK, then stay there and make it work.  It's your choice and I wish you all the best.  So sorry that you had to go through this.

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When it comes to work in the US - do you have access to a car?

 

You could do those food delivery jobs like Doordash, Instacart, Bite Squad, etc. (If you feel comfortable that is)

 

If no car, try a temp agency maybe?

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