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My aunt is an illegal immigrant and wants a divorce. Is that possible without her getting deported?

Houston, TX |

My aunt is an illegal immigrant who married a resident man and now after years she finds out he's cheating and he's never home always saying he's in Boston working and then verbally abuses her. They have their cars and the house in both their names and they have a 6 year old kid as well. What would happen if she would file divorce? Would she get deported? Can she get custody of her son? Can she file for child support? What would happen to the cars and the house?

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Attorney answers 6


Divorce has nothing to do with immigration status. Although someone could report her at anytime ot ICE


She can file for divorce in the us. It will not protect her from removal though.


Talk to a lawyer. Your aunt may be able to become legal with the VAWA law. Talk to a lawyer.

Franco Capriotti - Senior Legal Counsel & Former Professor of Immigration Law - Capriotti International Law -

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Do not rely completely on information you get on any website. It is always wise to consult personally with an immigration attorney before taking action.

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Capriotti International Law

FORMER IMMIGRATION LAW PROFESSOR -- LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.


I agree with my colleagues.

J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship. Answers on Avvo can only be general ones, as specific answers would require knowledge of all the facts. As such, they may or may not apply to the question.


She should speak with an immigration lawyer to see if she has any relief under the Violence Against Women Act for being the victim of abuse. She should also speak with a family law attorney about the divorce and custody issues.


Your aunt needs to retain the services of an experienced immigration attorney and a family attorney. She needs to protect her rights on both fronts--her immigration status and her rights as a spouse and mother. ALSO--help her to document her good faith marriage NOW and any abuse she is suffering. Often, the abusive spouse (or the one caught cheating) will hide or destroy evidence that would help the spouse who needs to gain immigration status. I am glad your aunt has you to help her through this situation. Your aunt really needs to consult with an attorney. Most immigration attorneys who practice family-based immigration can offer a referral to a family/divorce attorney. Remember--make copies, document everything (keep these items in a separate location than the place your aunt lives). She needs to be pro-active to protect her rights. Good luck!!

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