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Immigration status leads to child custody decisions

Michigan residents might have strong feelings about the topic of immigration, but this issue is especially concerning to families who must face the thought of separation when it comes to illegal immigrant parents and their children. Since the election of President Trump, many families have begun selecting guardians who can take care of their offspring in the event that the parents are deported.

Communities across the United States that have large immigrant populations have been hosting events with volunteer attorneys and law students that allow these immigrant parents to get their affairs in order in case they are separated from their children. Some families are preparing in case they are separated temporarily while detained or deported. In cases where the children are American citizens, other families are preparing for a separation that could last for a long time.

As one illegal immigrant explained, there are gangs and other prevalent dangers in her home country while there are little opportunities for work. She believes her daughter, a legal American citizen, will have a better future in America and wants her 12-year-old child to stay even if she and her husband are deported. She made preparations for her sister-in-law and adult daughter to have control of her assets like a home and car if she gets deported.

This story illustrates some family law concerns any parent may think about when going through a divorce. Parents might need to consider who should have custody or visitation rights. For example, a parent and a child’s relatives from the other side of the family may need to establish visitation rights when one parent has physical custody.