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Battered Spouses, Parents And Children

Many spouses, parents and children are often afraid to complain of extreme cruelty because they are afraid of the consequences from the abuser if their complaints do not result in helping them. If they move out, they often have no money and no place to stay or they have been so long subjected to domestic violence that they have come to psychologically accept this. Through the police, charitable agencies, social services, churches, synagogues and mosques, there is help. The abused person does, however, have to have courage and make the affirmative step to refuse to accept this intolerable condition and act to stop it.


The spouse, child or parent of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who has been battered or has suffered domestic violence may self petition without the help of the spouse, parent of child who has abused them. A child of a battered spouse may also be included. In the abused spouse or child case, the battering must be shown to have occurred during the period of the marital relationship. The abused spouse also has to prove that the relationship was entered into in good faith and that the applicant is a person of good moral character.

The fact that the marriage has been terminated does not bar a petition. Caution: the abused spouse should not remarry before the self petition is approved; otherwise, the petition would be denied.


An abused child may petition up to the age of 25, provided that the child can show that the abuse was the cause of the delay; otherwise the child must be unmarried and under 21. If the petition is filed within the time allowed, the child will not age out because of processing delays.


A parent of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident subjected to domestic violence is eligible provided he/she can prove good moral character, and has resided with the U.S. citizen or permanent resident son or daughter and has been the victim of domestic violence by them.


Upon approval of the self petition, employment authorization will be issued.


Self petitioners who entered before January 14, 1998 may adjust status even though they entered without inspection or parole. In removal proceedings the Department of Homeland Security may not only rely on the testimony of the abused applicant but may also independently verify all information it receives. A battered spouse, parent or child may petition to Reopen an Order of Deportation provided it is submitted within one year of the entry of a final order so long as the petitioner is within the U.S. The Attorney General may waive this one year rule on a showing of extraordinary circumstances or extreme hardship. In a removal hearing an abused spouse or child will have a closed hearing unless the spouse or child requests it be open.


Any credible evidence applies because the special proof of domestic violence is often concealed by the special dynamics of an abusive relationship and the design and cunning of an abusive spouse, parent or child who is often capable of concealing the proof. Complaints to the police are telling evidence but often intimated spouses, parents or children may fail to report or be talked out of making the complaint when the police come because the abuser is present, and the complainant is often afraid to reveal the extent of the abuse.

If you need help or advise, call us at (212)944-9420

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