What Is a Battered Spouse Petition?

You may have entered the United States on a family-based visa with high hopes for what the future holds for you. Unfortunately, these high hopes may have been quickly shut down upon realizing that the United States resident with whom you reside turns out to be physically, mentally, emotionally, or financially abusive toward you. You may be unsure how to get yourself out of this situation. For one, you may not have the financial means to go off on your own in this new country yet. Or, you may not believe that returning to your home country is any safer alternative. This is when a battered spouse petition may be deemed vital. Read on to discover more about a battered spouse petition and how a seasoned family immigration lawyer in Milwaukee, WI, at Sesini Law Group, S.C., can help you effectively execute one.

What is a battered spouse petition in immigration law?

In immigration law, the battered spouse petition may be used by victims of domestic violence to apply for lawful permanent resident status in the United States. This petition option is further made possible thanks to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 1994. Essentially, this Act allows noncitizens who have been abused by their relative of United States citizenship or lawful permanent resident status to self-petition for their immigration classification.

This curbs your abuser from having to know, consent to, or participate in your immigration process. This is especially helpful if you have had experiences with your abuser threatening to withhold or withdraw your immigration petition to control, coerce, or intimidate you. Hopefully, with the help of the VAWA Act, you may gain safety and independence from your abuser.

What can I do to effectively make this petition?

To effectively file a battered spouse petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you must first prove your abuser’s citizenship or lawful permanent resident status. Then, you must prove that you have a qualifying relationship with the abuser. Different relationships may require different forms of evidence. The relationships that the USCIS recognizes as eligible read as follows:

  • You are the abused spouse of a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident.
  • You are the abused child of a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident.
  • You are the parent of an abused child of a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident.
  • You are the abused parent of an adult child who is a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident.

In addition to making this petition, you must also ensure that you place yourself in immediate safety from your abuser. This is why we strongly encourage you to seek help and support through the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

You may be intimidated to take these actions and ultimately go against your abuser. But one way to make this easier is to have a competent Milwaukee, WI family immigration lawyer stand by your side throughout. Contact Sesini Law Group, S.C. at your earliest possible convenience.

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