Hi all, I was getting messages about what I submitted for my divorce waiver ROC to get an approval without RFE or interview. I'll share this post in hopes that it might help someone.
My process was almost entirely DIY, including the divorce. I followed the required documents and recommended evidence listed on the USCIS instructions for I-130, 485, 693, 864, 751, etc.
Burden of proof for bona fide marriage to USC in AOS and ROC is on YOU. Nobody goes into marriage planning to divorce, but it happened to me and it can happen to you. Gather your proof as you get them, not last minute when you're in the middle of a divorce and your ex isn't cooperating on helping you obtain documents for evidence. I became a pack rat and took every receipt, tickets to movies/shows etc home with me. When I filed ROC I never had to talk to my ex or beg his help on gathering evidence.
If you're unsure how to proceed with your divorce and not confident in DIY, hire a lawyer and save yourself some grief. My divorce was as simple as it could be, but DIY was hard. The court gives you samples on their website, but no one has the step by step guide to offer you on court procedures. Each state is different divorce laws, so be alert.
From a sample packet on the court website I got a general idea. I put together a separation agreement based on tons of samples I researched online, which my ex signed. This allowed us to enter an official separation period as required by my country/state to file the divorce.
I drafted the request from sample divorce pleas from my state. I tried to get my ex-spouse to sign a waiver so that he would not contest the divorce. He refused to sign it out of spite. I asked for nothing during the separation agreement or the divorce. My marriage was too short anyway to be considered for alimony and I didn't even want that from him to begin with. However, because he refused to sign the waiver, the court counted our divorce as contested rather than uncontested. This meant we would have to hire a lawyer or show up in person at the court to talk to a judge about our divorce and settlement of property. As the assigned court date approached, I pressed him to sign the damn waiver, which he was an absolute child about. I finally paid $200 for a lawyer so I could get a professional's opinion on how my case was going and if I was missing any forms. Lawyer said I did just fine, I just needed the waiver if I didn't want to go to court. Then one day ex demanded I get the divorce over and done with because he had filed the waiver and had heard nothing about the court date being cancelled. I didn't know how to push the clerk to bring my plea to the judge when all the forms seemed to be filed finally, so I called up the lawyer again, looking to hire her. She said I had done everything I was supposed to. She made a call directly to the clerk working my case and asked her to re-check my papers. The clerk found that my ex's waiver was on someone else's desk and got my divorce plea signed by a judge the very same day. The lawyer did not charge me for her time in making two phone calls and I finally had my divorce decree in hand. I was finally all clear to submit my ROC.
We got married March 2016. Applied for AOS from student visa in April 2016. Got conditional GC December 2016. October 2017 we officially separated and I filed for divorce in December 2017 due to the required separation period before being able to file for divorce. End of August 2018 the divorce was finalized and I filed for ROC September 2018.
Filed September 2018.
I-797 October 2018 with 18 month extension.
Fingerprints done October 2018.
October 18, 2019 case acceptance email and text.
October 22, 2019 email and text notification of card being mailed to me.
What I filed
Cover letter that explained the timeline and context of our relationship and why it broke down in my view.
Original marriage certificate
Copy of final divorce decree.
Copy of separation agreement.
Copy of my driver's license showing common address with my ex-spouse. I didn't have a copy of his license.
Copy of my health insurance card that showed both our names with him as the policy holder.
Letter from his health insurance company stating the dates of when I was on his insurance plan.
Tax transcripts for our joint filings (2016, 2017) that showed both our names and common address.
Copy of monthly utility bills that showed both our names and common address.
Email from a new apartment housing office that talked about both of us when we were speaking to him about renting the new place.
Email from the housing office that was addressed to both of us when we were leaving to move to a new place.
Letter from his car insurance confirming that I was an approved driver for his car and what dates I was on there for.
Copies of monthly bank statements that showed both of our names and common address.
Copy of my housing agreement at my dorm that explains why I was away in another state during school during the majority of the year in 2016 and 2017.
Copy of my student profile that showed my common address with my ex-spouse and him being my emergency contact/spousal relationship to me.
Copies of emails that I sent to the dorm housing director requesting visitation permission for when my ex-spouse came to my school to visit.
Copies of plane/bus tickets for when I went to visit him during holidays.
Copies of tickets to movies and shows we went to together.
Pictures of us on vacation with his son. I wrote the dates and where we went on the back of each picture.
3 affidavits, one from my mother, brother and a mutual friend who wrote about when they knew we were a couple, how they found out about us, what they thought about us as a couple (statements about how we genuinely seemed happy, loving, etc).