By Gianna Huesch
Will Donald trump’s presidency have any effect on family law matters, in America and internationally? Experts say yes–in relation to issues of domestic and family violence, child custody, child support and spousal maintenance. The fact is that Trump’s Order vastly expands the reason for which an individual can be deported, and the threat of deportation provides extra ammunition for those engaging in court action with those regarded as aliens.
President Trump signed an Executive Order on 25 January entitled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States”. The document allows individuals to be deported for a variety of reasons for which they were previously not deportable.
People can be deported for having committed, attempted or conspired to commit certain acts. These acts include acts of terrorism ,crimes of dishonesty, felonies, drug activity, treason, abuse of their families, espionage, sabotage, failing to register as a sex offender, owning, purchasing, selling, or possessing a firearm, certain illegal immigration activities, and certain violations of human rights.
Trump’s Order also sets out that aliens can be deported for the following: conviction of any criminal offense; being charged with any criminal offense, where such charge has not been resolved; committing acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense; engaging in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with an official matter or application to a government agency; having abused any program related to receipt of public benefits; being subjected to an order of removal but not yet having been deported; and if in the judgement of an immigration officer, the alien poses a risk to public safety or national security.
Examples of conduct that can result in deportation under Trump’s Order include: obtaining a government program benefit fraudulently, or misrepresenting a fact in any government form; using someone else’s social security number to work; and being subject to a removal order but remaining in the country.
Unlike under President Obama, under Trump’s Order, speeding, DUI, drunk in public, and many other offenses can result in deportation.
Further, no conviction is required. Rather, to be deportable, an alien simply must have committed or been charged with the act. Aliens can now be deported before, during or after any proceedings.
Even non-criminal conduct is now able to result in deportation—merely admitting to abusing drugs or being a drug addict can result in deportation. Also, if an immigration officer subjectively judges that an alien is a risk to the United States, that person can be deported.
Trump’s order is believed to be likely to affect family law because it creates a new group of people subject to potential deportation by hugely expanding the types of conduct that can result in deportation. This is likely to filter through and impact on issues of domestic violence, child custody, child support, and spousal support could be more difficult.
In a domestic violence situation, the threat of having a partner deported is already used as a method of controlling a partner—but now that threat is much more credible. Family law experts believe that the threat of deportation could be tactically used to gain advantage in a divorce or child custody hearing.
There may also be repercussions in child support and spousal support areas. Again, the threat of deportation may be used as a strategy. Also, child support orders will generally be unenforceable outside the US. So if a debtor spouse or parents is deported, their obligations to pay their family go with them over the border.
There are also fears the Trump presidency will push conversative legislatures, such as bringing back faulted divorce, or reducing family law aid dollars to those on welfare, or threatening Roe v Wade, the reproductive test case that enshrined women’s rights vs state regulations. The conversative nature of the Trump regime may also make it harder for same-sex parents in relation to custody and adoption issues and may affect the rights and protections generally of members of the LGBTI community.
Only time will tell exactly what impact the election of President Trump will have on family law, both in the US and around the world. But the deportation of aliens before, during, or after the administration of justice can not be a positive for family law.
Do you require help with a family law matter? Please contact Canberra family lawyer Cristina Huesch or one of our other solicitors on (02) 6223 2400 to arrange your first free conference.
(Please note: Our blogs are not legal advice. For details about how to obtain correct legal advice please arrange a free conference with Alliance Family Law.)