The Roles A VAWA Lawyer Plays in Your VAWA Case

The Violence Against Women Act has been very instrumental in helping US immigrants escape abusive relationships and obtain a green card by self-petition. But the process is not as straightforward as it sounds. It’s not just filling out a few forms and expecting approval; you have to actually prove to the USCIS that you’ve been abused, and you deserve the green card. That’s what makes it more difficult to secure. But you can improve your chances of a successful outcome by hiring a VAWA lawyer to help you out. 

Immigration law is complex and constantly changing, and the benefits of having a VAWA lawyer by your side can’t be overstated. Still wondering how lawyers can help you? Let’s discuss the roles they can play in your VAWA case here.

What is a VAWA Lawyer?

A VAWA lawyer, also known as a VAWA attorney, is a legal professional who specializes in handling cases under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The VAWA Act was designed to provide a pathway for immigrant survivors of abuse by a green card holder or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) to escape from their abuser by self-petitioning for legal status. 

Now, despite its name, VAWA protections are not limited to women alone. Men and even children who have been abused can self-petition for a VAWA green card. While the VAWA Act offers protection for abused immigrants, the entire application process is complex and requires thorough understanding. Even if you are good at figuring things out on your own, you may have issues along the way. That’s why you want an experienced VAWA lawyer handling your case. 

What Are The Roles of a VAWA Immigration Lawyer?

Technically, hiring a lawyer to help with your VAWA application isn’t compulsory. However, the extensive paperwork and VAWA requirements can be overwhelming to handle alone. That’s why hiring legal assistance is advisable. Here’s what a VAWA attorney offers:

  • Representing You in Court

If your case goes to court, having a VAWA lawyer to represent you can be invaluable. A lawyer’s primary role is to advocate for your rights and present your case in the most convincing manner possible. Moreover, court proceedings can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first time. Your lawyer has been doing this for years so they will know what to expect and then prepare you ahead. 

Just like every other legal case, VAWA cases come with their unique challenges. It’s in these kind of situations that the expertise of a VAWA lawyer becomes incredibly valuable. An experienced VAWA attorney will have several successful cases under their belt, so they will be able to anticipate any potential hurdles and come up with solutions to work around them or strategies to avoid them totally. 

Also, in some situations, your VAWA case may escalate into complex cases such as custody battles or divorce proceedings. In these situations, you can count on your attorney to support you right till the very end.

  • Evaluating Eligibility

Before you proceed with filing a VAWA petition, you need first to determine if you’re eligible. A skilled VAWA lawyer will be really helpful in this aspect. They will carefully analyze your situation and consider your relationship with the abuser, the nature of the abuse, your current immigration status, your country of residence and your record over the last three years. Once your lawyer establishes that you’re eligible, they will put you through the next step of gathering the necessary evidence to back your claim. 

  • Gathering Evidence

Evidence is the foundation of any legal case, particularly VAWA cases; the more evidence you have, the more convincing your claim will be. The necessary evidence you need to support your claim includes a marriage/birth certificate, pictures of the injury, witness statements and other relevant documents.

However, gathering this evidence on your own can be challenging, especially if your abuser has withheld these documents or you’ve already fled from home and left these documents behind. In this case, a VAWA lawyer can request this information and documents from your abuser on your behalf. Also, your attorney can receive any notices from USCIS for you instead of sending them to your home P.O. box.

  • Filing the VAWA Petition

Filing for VAWA self-petition begins by filling a Form I-360. While the form is fairly straightforward to fill, filling it incorrectly can lead to delay or even outright denial of your application. But your lawyer will help you avoid any mistakes that could jeopardize your application. 

In addition to filling out the form, you will need to write a personal statement to support your case. A personal statement is particularly important in cases where you don’t have all the necessary documents. So it’s an opportunity to explain how you meet all the other VAWA requirements. Your attorney can guide you in writing your statement but make sure it’s written in your own words.

  • Providing Emotional Support

It’s no doubt that going through any legal case can be emotionally draining but it’s even more challenging if you’re dealing with the trauma of abuse and navigating the legal system on your own. That’s why you want someone by your side, providing some relief and emotional support as you go on. 

Beyond legal representation, a VAWA lawyer provides emotional support throughout the challenging VAWA claim process. VAWA lawyers usually have wide connections with counsellors, support groups, and other organizations that help victims of abuse. They can provide the support you need like safe housing to help you gradually build your life back. Also, you can meet other abuse victims from support groups, share experiences and help each other emotionally.

  • Finding Other Immigration Options

If at the end of the day, you’re not eligible for a VAWA green card or your claim was denied, your lawyer can help you out with applying for other forms of relief for abused immigrants. For example, they can help you apply for a U visa if you are a victim of certain crimes like domestic violence, or a T visa for victims of human trafficking. 

VAWA lawyers are dedicated to ensuring that all the legal immigration options available to you are thoroughly explored so you have the best chance of escaping your abuse situation and gaining legal status.

The Coleman Law Group Can Help You 

While the VAWA process may seem overwhelming, you do not have to face it alone. We at the Coleman Law Group are dedicated to supporting you through your journey towards protection from abuse and achieving legal immigration status. 

Contact us now and let’s help you! 

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