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VAWA | Violence Against Women Act

VAWA | Violence Against Women Act

Serving San Antonio, Austin and McAllen, Texas

What is the Violence Against Women Act?

The Violence Against Women Act is a wide-ranging U.S. law that provides certain protections for abused spouses and children. Among other things, it permits the abused foreign-national spouses of U.S. citizens and permanent residents to sever their marital ties without being subjected to deportation or other legal penalties. This law has protected many thousands of abused individuals from further harm while enabling them to remain in the United States on an ongoing basis.

Benefits/Uses of a VAWA Petition

Despite the law’s name, male spouses and minor dependents are also permitted to use it to petition for continued legal status within the United States. The Violence Against Women Act’s provisions are expansive and may be interpreted to protect against psychological or verbal abuse as well as physical abuse. VAWA petitions can be retroactively filed for up to two years after a divorce. The process of lodging a VAWA petition is confidential and can typically be done without the knowledge of the abusive spouse. Successful VAWA petitions may permit an abused spouse to maintain his or her current legal status in the United States without fear of repercussions from his or her abuser. If you or someone you know may benefit from the VAWA, talk to one of the Gutierrez Law Firm’s VAWA attorneys.

Requirements for a VAWA Petition

Successful VAWA petitions must meet three basic requirements. These are:

  • The marriage in question joined a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and a foreign national
  • The U.S. citizen or permanent resident became abusive at some point
  • The foreign national can demonstrate that he or she is a person of upstanding “moral character”

Since the second and third qualifications may be subjective, it is important that prospective VAWA petitioners document every incident of physical, verbal or psychological abuse to which they are subjected. In addition, the petitioner may need to provide character references or witnesses on his or her behalf. The immigration lawyers at the Gutierrez Law Firm are experts in the VAWA; reach out to them today.

Protections for VAWA Petitioners

The Violence Against Women Act contains certain provisions that are designed to encourage petitioners to come forward and protect them once they have done so. First, the initial stages of the process can be kept confidential. Additionally, the presiding judge may discount negative character references that the abusive spouse lodges against the petitioner. Finally, VAWA petitioners are under no obligation to continue to live with or near their abusive spouses.

How We Can Help

The Gutierrez Law Firm’s compassionate VAWA lawyers stand ready to help vulnerable individuals protect themselves from further harm and secure the legal protection that they deserve. We can handle VAWA petitions from men, women and children. Our attorneys can assist with every aspect of the petitioning process and provide guidance and advice at every juncture.

Since the Violence Against Women Act is a highly detailed piece of legislation, we invite any individuals who might qualify for protection to contact an immigration lawyer who specializes in the VAWA at 210.225.7114.

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