If the Form I-485 is approved prior to celebrating the second wedding anniversary, the resident status that is accorded is one given on a conditional basis. The condition can be removed from the resident status upon the submission of a Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, which is to be filed in the 90 day period immediately preceding the two year anniversary of approval of the initial Form I-485. Unlike days in the past where USCIS would routinely have cases backlogged in excess of two years, most individuals obtaining status based on marriage obtain such status on a conditional basis because USCIS is processing these cases within 6 months or so.
Is an attorney necessary? I would say that the answer to that question is no, we are not absolutely necessary. With that said, I do think that an attorney who knows her way around the application process and the interview process can greatly assist the applicants to obtain a satisfactory result the first time around. Truth is that I have done this a whole lot and I know what to file, how to file it and how much it costs to do so. The answers that I have are out there and if you have the time to figure it out on your own then I wish you the best of luck. My job as an attorney is to remove the doubt, to get things moving along sooner rather than later and to otherwise make all of this often complicated process seem easier than it would be if you handled the work on your own.
Sometimes there are difficulties in a case, such as a criminal history, problems with prior immigration status or concerns relating to prior immigration fraud. And in cases like that it is absolutely advisable to speak with an attorney. Like anything else, you need to find someone who has the wherewithal to adequately handle the case and someone who you believe is worth the expense of bringing on board. Most cases end up with a difficulty here and there such that having a professional on your side is worth the expense of hiring an attorney. But make that decision based on an informed decision and only after a personal consultation with the attorney. Do not settle for a chat with the paralegal or someone else in the office, talk to an attorney.