UC Law Journal


This Article explores the convergence between immigration and family law in the United States. Although as a practical matter immigration status plays an important and often deciding role in family law decisions, this Article notes that only a few courts have published opinions formally approving the consideration of immigration status in making family law decisions. Further, courts do not appear to agree on a rationale for when or how to use the immigration status of individuals in making family law determinations. While generally explaining the serious consequences that arise in the realm of family law when a dispute occurs between family members of differing immigration statuses, this Article focuses on how immigration and family law coincide when a child custody dispute occurs between parents of different statuses. This Article details the negative effects that inconsistent approaches toward immigration law have on the children at the heart of custody disputes. Finally, this Article explores the notion of family law as immigration law and vice versa, suggesting that viewing the typically separate spheres of law as one provides guidance relating to how immigration related issues should be considered in child custody disputes.

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