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Ask Judith Ludwic Your Own Question
Judith Ludwic
Judith Ludwic, Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 28938
Experience:  34 years as practicing immigration attorney, with non-immigrant and immigrant visa experience.
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Hello, I am american and she is from the Philippines.

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I am american and she is from the Philippines. I am looking to get some information about obtaining my wife a green card.

My wife has some issues from before. She has had some overlapping marriages and I want to make sure that she can get a green card. Her previous marriage and our current marriage overlapped by a couple of months. Her previous marriage to that was overlapped by a couple of years. I am not sure if that pertains to anything. But we are truely together and not doing anything wrong. I don't mind being scrutinized about our relationship, we are in a real relationship, but I don't want to turn in all the paper work for it to get kicked back. Is this an issue that I will need a lawyer on or can I take care of this myself.

My wife and I were married in May 25th of 2012, we were married in Kuwait. Her previous marriages are in the philippines.

All previous marriages have been disolved by either death or by divorce. We have all of the paper work. Her first marriage was overlapped by 3 years while she was in Kuwait.

Our marriage overlapped by a few months while the other marriage was in court. I am not sure when her divorce was completly finalized but the last date I can find on it was Aug 2012.
Hello,my name is Judith. Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions.
I don't understand what yo mean by overlapped? Do you mean she was married to two people at the same time?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes. Her first marriage and her second marriage overlapped by 3 years until her first husband death.


Her second marriage was not finalized until a couple of months after we married in a different country.

We had to get married here sooner than we thought because of the laws of Kuwait and the strict rules here.


We were married in May 25 2012, but the paperwork wasn't finalized in Kuwait until Jan 13, but her second husbands paperwork wasn't finalized until Aug 12,


So our marriage date shows May 25th, 2012 and her last husbands divorce decree shows Aug 2012. Will that be a problem for us

Yes, that is bigamy and you are not lawfully married under the eyes of the laws of the US. She was not legally free to marry you until she had her marriage terminated from her husband.
So you cannot file a petition based on the current marriage. You will have to get marriage again because the current marriage you have is not valid and illegal.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

How are suppose to do that. We have to divorce and marry again or can we get married in the philippines and use that marriage license.


Her previous divorce is legally terminated already.


Her previous marriage was already in the courts when we got married here. Does that not mean anything.

The only thing that means anything is a final decree of divorce. That is the only thing than termaniates the legal relationship.
So the fact the divorce was PENDING does not mean a thing. Nothing.
She was not legally free marry you until her marriage to the husband 2 was terminated. She was legally married to husband 2 until August 2012. Sorry, that is the immigration law.
I am not a divorce law lexpert and I am not able to tell you whether you have to get a divorce before you can remarry but I do not think so. You may have to have a court enter an order that your marriage was not legal and void.
The one thing I can tell you with ABSOLUTE certainity is that your petition will be denied by USCIS because they will not recognize your marriage in May before the August divorce as a lawful marriage.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Can we get a marriage license from the philippines and use that in lue of the kuwait marriage license.


Would that cause any problems.

You really muddied the waters by not being patient. So now you have a messy situation. You will need to check with a lawyer in the Philippines and ask them what the law is in the Philippines on what you need to do to get married.
No American lawyer can answer that because it is Philippine marriage law.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Well I am asking about which marriage license I can use in the states.

We can get married in the philippines, I know that.


But when applying for her Green Card, which can I use in the states.


If I file for her to have a fiance visa, will they check to see if we are married here in Kuwait.


Does it matter on a fiance visa if we are married in a forgien country or not.

You cannot just pretend you didn't do some legal act!
You have to do things right now and not try to do a shortcut that could create more problems!
You need to simply go see a lawyer in the Philippines and tell them that she married you before her divorce was final. Then ask if you need to do something about that marriage in Kuawait or if you can simply just get married there in PI.
Your PI marriage would be recognized by USCIS because it is after the Aug 2012 divorce.
Don't go off on another tangent about a fiance visa - just clean up the mess and get married right!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok. Thank you very much.


I think that is all the questions I have right now.



Great, just clean it up so you can live a long and happy life together with no skeletons in the closet.
Keep in mind that I only get credit for my work if you rate me positively. If you're satisfied with my answer and my professionalism appreciate your positive rating. If I can answer anything further, please just ask. I have 34 years experience and there probably isn't much I cannot answer for you competently.

Judith Ludwic and 2 other Immigration Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Would it cost anything for you to look at my marriage contract.


It says that the marriage wasn't legalized until Jan 8, 2013. for the date of May 25, 2012.


Basically we weren't legally married until Jan 2013, but our marriage ceremony happened May 2012.


So that would mean techincally we were married after the divorce.


So would that make us ok.



JustAnswer does not allow us to review legal documents and I am not qualified to know Kuwaiti law to know what is considered the date of marriage.
The USCIS would refer this marriage contract to Dept of State for their advisory opinion from the Kuwait desk who have experts in that law or who can research it.
So ifyou cannot get an opinion from a kuwaiti lawyer, you will have to take a chance and have USCIS send it to Dept of State to research.