There is no magical formula that indicates to an Immigration Officer or an Immigration Judge that a marriage is valid. Each officer makes a determination from the responses to the questions posed at the interview and the “gut instinct" she has developed from experience and training. Likewise, experience has taught us that there are some things that should be done to insure the highest likelihood of success:
On occasion, U.S. citizens are upset that Immigration questions the relationship. Being aware that even foreigners with children by U.S. citizen spouses have been denied residency may help to refocus the energy of this rage on preparing the case. Even an avoidable delay will be fodder for many uncomfortable evening meals together.
The above is not intended as legal advice. Exceptions and benefits may apply to your particular case. For further discussion, please schedule a consultation.