Immigration: Prior Marriages
These can provide difficult situations, particularly if the spouses did not complete the required legal proceedings for the marriage. One example of such a situation is if the past spouse of the beneficiary has died. Proof of this must be provided to the INS with the I-130 Petition. This can often be difficult, especially for those who may have been married and divorced a long time ago, or who were married and divorced [or not] in another country. The main thing to realize is that you must provide the proper paperwork to the INS.
A mistake that many people make is assuming that they can apply for a Green Card in the US based on a marriage relationship, without disclosing to the INS a former marriage in their native country to a spouse they long ago left, but never formally divorced. On countless occasions, the person has either remarried or considers themselves remarried, but does not have the proper paperwork to prove that the divorce occurred. This step should be considered, because it is critical for the person who is the beneficiary of the Green Card application not to unintentionally "lie" [that is, by simply not telling the INS about the lack of a formal divorce.]
Many people do not even think twice about the fact that, although they may consider themselves divorced and "remarried," the proper paperwork may not have been filed. While it is clearly an innocent oversight, especially when the second spouse has been a part of their life for a long time, it can be considered by the INS as a lie on the I-130 Petition. This not only causes an immediate problem, but may also create future admission problems. The INS may consider you to have lied in an earlier INS proceeding, and may still deny an application years later on the basis of the earlier "lie" despite the fact that it was an innocent oversight.