Couple from India Meet and Separate with Domestic Violence in USA; Woman Self-Petitions under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

[Please note: The Client’s name and case key details may have been altered to preserve the identity of the client. This Success Story is not intended to be an offer of service or case plan. Every case is unique. The Success Story is presented for information purposes only.]

Lakshmi came to the United States in 2015 on an F-1 visa to study fiberoptics and acquire an advanced degree. Upon graduation, she married a man named Ritwik, also from India, who she had been dating for not-too-long of a time. Ritwik had just obtained U.S. citizenship and was employed as a draftsperson for a very prestigious firm and seemed like a very successful and stable guy.

Immediately upon their marriage in 2020, Lakshmi and Ritwik enlisted the services of the Cleveland office of [nap_names id=”FIRM-NAME-1″] to obtain for Lakshmi a marriage-based green card and so our team filed an I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) and an I-485 (Application for Legal Permanent Residency) on Lakshmi’s behalf as well as an I-765 (Application for Employment Document) so she could accept a lucrative job offer.

Within a couple of months, however, a very upset Lakshmi contacted our office to tell us that she had separated from Ritwik due to both mental and physical abuse. Therefore, Lakshmi was very worried that Ritwik would take legal action that would result in the marriage-based green card application to be withdrawn.

Along these lines, Lakshmi was worried not just for herself but for her family in India who had invested all their resources in her education and were relying on her for support. Under these circumstances, Lakshmi believed that it was imperative that she remain in the United States and continue to work for her family’s benefit even if that meant enduring a risky reconciliation with Ritwik who she still loved very much but feared.

Even though no police report had been filed, Lakshmi had been seeing a therapist and keeping a journal of the abuse, so our team filed an I-360 (Petition for Amerasian, Widow or Widower or Special Immigrant) because Lakshmi qualified as “a self-petitioning spouse of an abusive U.S. citizen” under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). To comfort Lakshmi, who was distraught, we also filed a new application for legal permanent residency that did not involve Ritwik’s sponsorship.

In December of 2020, the I-360 that we filed for Lakshmi was approved but a lot had happened during the year. Namely Lakshmi had obtained a home of her own and was excelling at her job. Moreover, not only did Lakshmi continue with her therapy but she and Ritwik, although still separated, were in couples therapy together and Ritwik, himself, was seeing a counselor to address the personal issues that caused him to treat his wife with so little respect and regard.

Even though a reconciliation might be possible in the future, Lakshmi was very grateful to the [nap_names id=”FIRM-NAME-1″]. Wong team for helping her achieve the independence that she cherished so much.

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