In previous articles I have advised readers of their rights relating to various legal matters. Most immigrants without “papers” mistakenly believe they have no rights while living in the United States that they are not entitled to fair treatment or are not allowed to legally defend themselves. While it is true that having no visa or green card can lead to many serious problems with equally serious consequences, you should know that this does not mean that you cannot defend yourself in court.
I have had several clients contact me recently with family law problems. Family law is an area of law that deals with resolving conflict within the home as it relates to parenting, custody of children and visitation rights. Like other areas of the law, just because you are undocumented does not mean that you have no rights to fight for yourself or your children.
It is important to know that your inherent rights as a parent does not depend on whether you are a mom or a dad or who files with the court first. It depends completely on the particular family situation and what is in the best interest of your children. For example, one of my clients was worried that she would lose custody of her child because her boyfriend took the birth certificate of their child and then filed for custody with the court. He also told her that she was going to lose in court because he filed first and claimed to know more about the process than she did. In reality, she had a better chance for custody than he did since she was in a stable living situation with a successful history of parenting and his prior knowledge of the process was because he previously lost custody of a different child.
The important thing to remember is that you do have rights that allow you to protect yourself and your children and you should never feel vulnerable because of your immigration status. You do not need to accept threats or abuse from others. If you are currently being pressured by a spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend to give up your rights to parenting or have some other type of family law issue, contact a good attorney right away since they will be able to evaluate your situation and help you protect yourself. Having an immigration attorney handle your family law case is even better since they will be able to help you with your family law case in a way that will best protect you from immigration trouble.