My SO is here on an H1B that will expire in about a year. He's been trying to get a green card through job certification but through A Series of Unfortunate Events (economic downturn, arcane rules at institutional employer, etc.), that's beginning to look dicey. We've talked about getting married, but wonder how it plays for an older couple (50s & 60s) with children of our own for whose educations and financial future we want to provide - i.e., separate assets kept that way rather than co-mingled.
Moreover, the current real estate bust makes it impossible to sell either of our houses and combine households, which would be problematic anyway since his immigration status now is tied to a job which is about 90 miles away from mine - a prohibitive commute across traffic-clogged LA. We've been seeing each other for almost 5 years and share holidays with our children, go on vacation together, have museum memberships together, etc. but obviously, don't have utility bills in both names since we can't live together at this time. If he could get a green card, there would more flexibility - when the economy improves, he could transfer closer to me, sell his house in the boonies and move in together, which would make life cheaper as well as more enjoyable.
So my question is, does anyone have any idea how the immigration authorities view a situation like this? Would they assume this is a green card marriage and send him back when the H1B expires?