I currently hold a visa. I want a divorce from my citizen wife and visitation with my children

my wife was violent. She is a citizen, i have a visa. She filed papers,so that i could get a green card, even though she was vilent i tried to stay but she uses my status in the country as an excuse to be violent. i moved out and moved in with a friend. i have two children that she will not allow me to see, unless i am in her apartment with her. when i go she gets angry and hits me. the police have come twice. how can i get a divorce and still get my green card. do i have visitation rights without citizenship?

Asked on May 28, 2009 under Family Law, New York

Answers:

S.J.H., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

THE FACT THAT YOU ARE NOT A CITIZEN DOES NOT PREVENT YOU FROM FILING FOR DIVORCE OR SEEKING CUSTODY/VISITATION OF YOUR CHILDREN. YOU HAVE TO BE COGNIZANT OF YOUR VISA STAUS HOWEVER SINCE ONCE IT EXPIRES YOU MAY HAVE A JUDGE WHO WILL NOTIFY IMMIGRATION. IF YOU ARE LEGITIMATELY AFRAID OF YOUR WIFE AND SHE HAS BEEN VIOLENT, I SUGGEST YOU GO TO FAMILY COURT IN YOUR COUNTY AND SEEK AN ORDER OF PROTECTION. IF YOU GET ONE THIS WILL HELP YOU NOT ONLY IN YOUR VISITATION CASE BUT IMMIGRATION AS WELL. ONE WAY TO GET A GREEN CARD WITHOUT HER IS TO SHOW THAT YOU WERE A VICTIM OF PHYSICAL ABUSE AT HER HANDS.  ALSO WITH VISITATION, IF SHE HAS A PROPENSITY OF PHYSICAL ABUSE, THEY MAY REQUIRE HER TO GO TO COUNSELING OR ANGER MANAGEMENT IN ORDER TO KEEP CUSTODY. YOU CAN ALSO JUST FILE FOR DIVORCE ON THE GROUNDS OF CRUEL AND INHUMAN TREATMENT AND SEEK AN ORDER OF PROTECTION, VISITATION, IN THE DIVORCE PROCEEDING. EITHER WAY I SUGGEST YOU ACT RELATIVELY QUICKLY BECAUSE IF SHE IS VERY VINDICATIVE SHE MAY CALL IMMIGRATION AND ATTEMPT TO CAUSE PROBLEMS   

N. K., Member, Iowa and Illinois Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor


You should consult a divorce lawyer in New York since it appears that this is going to be a contested divorce. Also, any potential negative consequences to you as a result of the divorce need to be explored (i.e. potential problems with immigration).

Here are some resources that may help you:

  • Call the New York State Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service (toll free) at 1-800-342-3661;
  • Go to www.lawhelp.org/NY/ if you cannot afford a lawyer;
  • Go to www.nycourts.gov/courthelp/lawyers.html;
  • Go to www.nycourts.gov/attorneys/nybarassociations.shtml;
  • Go to www.nycourts.gov/collablaw to learn about collaborative law. You may be eligible  for reduced-fee or free collaborative law services;
  • Ask at any courthouse about lawyer referral services.

 


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