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Thomas, Solicitor
Category: UK Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 7609
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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A friend (US citizen) moved to UK with husband (UK citizen)

Resolved Question:

A friend (US citizen) moved to UK with husband (UK citizen) and two children just less than two year ago. She wants out of the marriage but is unsure of her rights. Will she have to leave the country if she files for divorce (he does not yet have ILR). Does the husband have the upper hand? What should she do to best protect herself? He is a very controlling and manipulative person. Thanks in advance for your advice.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: UK Immigration Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.


Thanks for your question.

To enable me to answer your question could you please respond to the following:-

  • 1. In your question you state ".....if she files for divorce (he does not yet have ILR)." - did you mean to say she does not have ILR
  • 2. Are the children UK citizens
  • 3. What would happen to the children ideally
  • 4. How old are they

Kind regards.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi Tom,

1. Yes, sorrry about that
2. They have UK passports but don't know technically if they are UK citizens
3. One child would stay with father in UK (assuming he still won't agree to move back to US ... this was the original promise) and the other would move back to US with mother
4. Ages 9 and 12

A bit more detail. The father has always been the primary caregiver and she has always been the earner. Also he is early 60's and she is early 40's


Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.

Hi James,



Thanks for your reply.


If she has not yet obtained ILR then the UKBA would curtail her visa once they are aware that the marriage has broken down. In actual fact the issuing of a divorce petition is not required by the UKBA for this, all that is needed is written confirmation of the breakdown by one of the parties to the marriage.

Therefore, if she wishes to stay in the UK before actually getting divorced then both parties should keep quiet for the time being.


If the husband informs the UKBA of the breakdown in the marriage then it is rather unlikely that the UKBA will seek to deport her immediately. If he does gte in contact with them then she can argue she should be afforded time to make arrangement for the children and to carry out the divorce. She should be okay in this regard.


If this has been useful please kindly click accept so that I may be rewarded for my time. If you do not click accept your money stays with the site and I do not receive any credit for the time I have taken to answer your question.


I will answer your follow up questions you may have.

Kind regards,


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
So what are chances that she will be able to move to US with at least one of the children?

Would the children have the ability to travel from/to UK for visits to US?

Would she be able to travel to UK to visit children?

Is it in her best interest for her to file when the time is right?

Can she file in the US (where the marriage took place) and if so are there advantages to this?
Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.

She would be able to move with the chlid if the father is in agreement, but you would have to check with the US authorities regarding any visa this child required unless she is a US citizen child.

If the father disputed the child leaving with the mother then he could litigate for a prohibited steps order.

The children would have the ability to travel to the US for visits, because there is a visa waiver program.

She would be able to travel to the UK to visit the children.

I believe she could file in the US, but I am not a US lawyer and could not tell you the advantages of this. If in the UK at the moment I should think it more convenient to file here.

Trust this clarifies, please click accept.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks Tom. You have been very helpful. There was one question that you didn't address. Is it to her advantage to "file" before he does?
Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.
Not really, filing and the reason cited for divorce do not materially affect the settlement parties should receive.

Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.

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