Frequently Asked Questions When Filing a VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) Case

Justice mallet and VAWA acronym. Violence against women act

Back in April, we published a blog post outlining The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The post outlined the numerous benefits filing a VAWA case can present to women suffering due to circumstances involving domestic violence. Among these benefits is immigration relief. VAWA offers immigration relief and allows individuals impacted by domestic violence to apply for permanent resident status after receiving VAWA designation. To do so, the affected individual must fill in the VAWA self-petition and subsequently complete an application for adjustment of status based on VAWA. While this sounds excellent on paper, there are a hand full of questions that tend to pop up along the way. In this blog, we’ll answer the most common of them!

How Does VAWA Define Abuse?

VAWA offers a broad range of definitions of abuse, as abuse itself can take on many forms. The most straightforward type of abuse is physical, which involves the striking of a partner. Sexual abuse and emotional abuse, including threats, harassment, and intimidation are also covered under VAWA. Do not let the impression that VAWA only covers physical abuse keep you from applying!

What Resources Do I Need to File my VAWA Case?

The main form you will need to focus on is Form I-360, also known as the Self-Petition for Battered Spouse/Child. If you need to file to adjust your status as well, you can do so using Form I-485. There may be other forms worth submitting depending on the specifics of your case, so be sure to consult with an experienced attorney before submission! In addition to these forms, we also highly recommend gathering any medical, physical, or court evidence of domestic violence.

Do I Have to Stay Married to Receive VAWA Relief?

No! Form I-360 does not require you to remain in an abusive situation in order to receive relief. If the divorce took place within the last two years, you have a legitimate chance of receiving relief.

Can My Petition Be Denied?

Even if you meet the conventional requirements for VAWA relief, your case may still be denied. The Law Office of Elizabeth Anu Lawrence can decrease the odds of denial by helping you avoid the following mistakes:

  • Clerical errors
  • Late submission
  • Lack of proof of marriage
  • Lack of proof of abuse

Even if your initial submission is denied, we can even assist in filing an appeal within the required 33 days.

Are You Dealing with the Aftermath of a Domestic Violence Incident? We Can Help.

If you or a loved one experienced an incident involving domestic violence, you deserve a skilled attorney who will get you the compensation and support that you need as a result. Consult with an experienced attorney like those of the Law Office of Elizabeth A. Lawrence today by clicking here or calling (410) 986-0088. Skype, Zoom and Facetime consultations are available as well.

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