Can Your VAWA Attorney Enforce a Protection Order?

Often, when people ask about their chances of getting into America through the VAWA route, it’s because they’ve been abused or are still being abused. Unfortunately, the process of acquiring an American visa via this route takes some time. Thus, in some cases, people continue to endure abuse and violence while waiting for their visas. That shouldn’t be the case, not when you have an experienced VAWA attorney handling your case. 

The question boils down to how your lawyer can help you. Can they enforce a protection order against your abuser? We will find out in this article, but first, let’s provide a background. 

What is VAWA? 

VAWA stands for Violence Against Women Act. As its name signifies, it is targeted at victims of violence and domestic abuse. It provides a pathway for such people to get U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residence. However, in addition to providing this pathway, the VAWA immigration law helps to protect women by including provisions to prosecute crimes targeted at females. These crimes include domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and other types of abuse.

That said, it’s important to note that the act doesn’t protect women alone. It is designed to protect both men and women. The act was signed into law in 1994 as part of efforts to improve public safety for dependents of U.S. citizens.

VAWA is a self-petitioned visa, so you’ll go through the application process yourself. This has often led people to ask whether they truly need a VAWA attorney. While it is a self-petitioned visa, there are often grey areas that a trusted attorney can help you interpret and understand. Having an experienced professional in your corner can help you walk through this process. One such area is ensuring your protection from your abuser while you await your visa. 

Concerns During a VAWA Application

If you’re filing for a VAWA petition, you know it’s a complicated process. For the most part, victims get scared of what the abuser can do when they find out that they’ve started applying for the VAWA application. Thus, the VAWA law provides certain protections to keep you safe during and after the process. This is one of the areas in which a qualified VAWA attorney comes in. They can tell you the options that are available to you. Take a look at some of the issues that the act protects you from. 

Protection from Retaliation

The law protects you from retaliation and related abuses throughout the VAWA application process. This wards the abuser off from: 

  • Threatening you
  • Assaulting you 
  • Harassing or intimidating you
  • Destroying your property or the properties of anyone related to you 

The protection offered by this is in addition to any other criminal laws and civil remedies related to abuse.

Confidential Investigation

The investigation process involved in VAWA pursuit is typically confidential. The investigators are tasked with doing a thorough job, and that means they will not alert the abuser or disclose any information about the process to them.

What Else Will a VAWA Attorney Do For You?

We’ve talked about the protections the VAWA law gives abuse victims. But beyond helping you fight for these protections, there’s more that a VAWA attorney does. Most importantly, they can help you through the process of filing for a PFA order. But how can they help you through the filing process? Here, look at all the steps an experienced attorney will help you through. 

Although the PFA Act is a federal issue, the process of getting the order varies from state to state. The general process includes:

Negotiations and Guidance

The attorney guides the victim to go to the county courthouse, where they’ll fill out the petition. In this case, the victim becomes the petitioner. Victims are expected to provide information like the reason for their request for protection and to describe the type of abuse they’ve suffered. For example, you can state whether the abuser has a weapon or whether they’re threatening you in any capacity. 

A judge will then review the petition. The judge can ask the plaintiff any question if they’re not clear about the provided information. At this time, you may consult your VAWA attorney for advice or recommendations. These recommendations will typically help you know what to do while you’re waiting for the date of the final hearing.

 A temporary PFA may also be granted while you’re waiting for the judge to make the final decision. If this is the case, the temporary PFA will provide the right protection you’ll need before the date of the final hearing. 

At the time of the final hearing, your VAWA attorney will still represent you before the judge. If you and the defendant agree on the terms of the order, the judge will then make it official. 

So, it’s also the job of your attorney to stand in for you in negotiations. An experienced attorney knows the best terms for a protection order. Thus, they’ll stand in for you from the beginning, ensuring that your best interest is represented in the final decision.

You have the right to ask questions where necessary. If you do not understand any part of the form or need clarification on the judge’s decision, your VAWA attorney can help. A VAWA attorney understands the legal jargon. They’ll always interpret them for you and even guide you on how best to respond to them. 

The Coleman Law Group Can Help You

Are you looking for an experienced VAWA attorney who can help you do all these? Look no further. The experienced immigration lawyers at the Coleman Law Group understand the process involved. We not only interpret the laws, we’ll also help you file a Protection From Abuse (PFA) suit while helping you choose what’s best for you. Contact us now to learn more about how we can help you.

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