After the overturn of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), same-sex couples may use hardship psychological evaluations to help demonstrate how the qualifying spouse (American citizen or resident) may suffer extreme hardship or suffer exceptional and extremely unusual hardship. The psychological evaluation for waivers explores and documents hardships that impair the qualifying relative’s ability to move to another country and documents the hardships that impair the qualifying relative’s ability to reside in the United States without the foreigner.

A psychological evaluation documents hardships, which may include mental health diagnoses, medical complications, impaired work and social functioning, and financial difficulties. Guided by case-law and legal standards, we identify hardships within numerous categories (e.g., finances, housing, medical needs, academic issues, suicide risk, country conditions, etc.). Then, we assess the impact these hardships have on emotional and social adjustment.

All evaluations include an assessment of abuse and trauma, as these are risk factors for emotional hardship, and it helps establish the severity and longstanding nature of the mental health issues. A history of trauma and/or pre-existing mental health conditions help document that the person has mental health vulnerabilities that are not related to the immigration problems.