Coping With Family Matters In Difficult Circumstances

Mes amies, my heart is sad. My sister and her husband are in the midst of a messy divorce because he was caught cheating. They actually had an “open” marriage, so “cheating” is a relative term. For them, marriage was about the sharing of information. He failed to let her know about a few sexual partners and she became distrustful (understandably). When the conduit was closed, so was the marriage.

She moved to Albuquerque several years after I moved to Los Angeles, so we stay in touch even though we barely ever see each other. I received a call while hiking Temescal Canyon (where I usually don’t even have cell service) and thought nothing of it. But she was in tears. I sat down on the trail overlooking the ocean and asked her to calm down.

When she explained the situation, we agreed that she needed to find a family lawyer who specializes in divorce. You see, my sister actually received her green card because she married him after obtaining a six-month visa to travel to the United States for a long-term family visit (to see me, bien sur). 

I reassured her that divorce was unlikely to affect her legal status and that she could renew her green card whether she was currently married or not, but we agreed to ask a lawyer for additional information. She’s lived here on the initial green card for nearly ten years, so she should be okay.

Visit website for more information on divorcing before your own green card interview, because I don’t want anyone to make important decisions based on my family matters. Yours might be different!

My sister asked for a place to stay. She and her husband know the relationship isn’t working, but the situation at home has also grown more volatile by the day. I don’t want to see them in this light. My apartment is nice, so I invited her for an extended visit. She can always go back when they need to talk. 

My girlfriends and I used the bad situation as an opportunity to go on a road trip to Albuquerque. We picked up my sister, then immediately went camping in Joshua Tree for a weekend getaway. I handed her a bottle of French red wine to remind her of home. We cried together while the sun dipped below the horizon. Later that night, we cried some more while stargazing — but that was more from viewing the Milky Way in all its splendor and less because of the divorce.

Now, we’re back in Los Angeles trying to find her a lawyer. My connections will help, but I know that my sister and I sound and look different from most of the clients family lawyers see on a daily basis — which means we need to put in the extra effort to find the right lawyer. Plus, we need to find one back in New Mexico. Maybe more travel is in order?