150 S. Washington Street, Suite 202
Falls Church, VA 22046
Phone   (703) 534-5588
Fax   (703) 534-5585

Abused Spouse

Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) passed by Congress in 1994, the spouses and children of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents (LPR) may self-petition to obtain lawful permanent residency.

Where to Get Immediate Help

Victims of domestic violence should know that help is available to them through the National Domestic Violence Hotline on or 1-800-787-3224 [TDD] for information about shelters, mental health care, legal advice and other types of assistance, including information about self-petitioning for immigration status.

  • Crisis line
  • Abuse counseling
  • Women's groups
  • Immigrant and ethno-cultural groups
  • Aboriginal groups
  • Women's shelters
  • Women's resource centers
  • Community health centers
  • Family doctor
  • Police

Local Domestic Violence Shelters

Alexandria Domestic Violence Program

421 King St., Suite 400
Alexandria, VA 22314

Hotline/Crisis: 703-838-4911
Toll Free: (800) 838-VADV
Business: 703-838-4911

Northern Virginia Family Service

5249 Duke Street, Suite 308
Alexandria, VA 22304

Business : 703-370-3223

Arlington Community Temporary Shelter

P.O. Box 1258
Arlington, VA 22210

Business: 703-522-8858
Hotline/Crisis: 703-237-0881

Victims of Violence

1725 North George Mason Dr.
Arlington, VA 22205

Business: 703-358-5150
Hotline/Crisis: 703-358-4848

Bethany House of No. Virginia

5901 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041

Business: 804-998-8811
Hotline/Crisis: 804-256-3526

Route One Corridor Housing, Inc.

P.O. Box 6465
Alexandria, VA 22306

Business: 703-768-3400

Rappahannock Council on Domestic Violence

P.O. Box 5923
Fredericksburg, VA 22403

Business: 703-373-9373
Hotline/Crisis: 703-373-9373

Clich here for more locations of Domestic Violence Shelters

What is the Process

The preparation of the documents for Battered Spouse Petition takes approximately 1 to 4 months depending on client's cooperation. After a comprehensive review of your case, our Battered Spouse Petition specialists will prepare a list of possible documents to support your claim. Our staff will not only help you with your legal questions, but will also help you cope with the stressful situation. We work with psychologists that help our clients. Following documents may be presented as evidence of bona fides of marriage:

  • Photographs that show both spouses together and with family and friends. These photographs can be taken at the wedding, at other functions or events, and throughout their relationship.
  • Letters between the couple before the marriage, with their postmarked envelope.
  • Evidence of trips the couple has taken together, including bills and receipts reflecting hotel stays, car rental, plane tickets, postcards sent to family members while on the trip.
  • Apartment lease or a letter from the landlord indicating that both spouses live at the apartment or copies of rent receipts showing both parties' names.
  • Evidence of correspondence between parties, including letters, birthday and holiday cards, telephone calls, and other correspondence addressed to the parties.
  • Religious marriage certificates if the couple had a church wedding.
  • Copies of gas, electric, telephone and other utility bills.
  • Evidence of joint ownership of an automobile.

Types of Spousal Abuse

Emotional Abuse – Can include threats and intimidation, demeaning and degrading verbal and body language, control and isolation, subordination and humiliation. Victims may suffer serious loss of self-esteem and experience feelings of shame, anxiety, hopelessness, depression and terror.

Sexual Abuse – Sexual acts within a marriage or intimate partnership must take place with consent. There is no “right” to sexual relations.

Physical Violence – Can involve a threat with a fist or object; being pushed or shoved in a way that could result in injury; being slapped, hit or beaten; being hit or attacked with an object.

Possible Evidence of Abuse can be medical bills, photographs taken by a friend or neighbor at the time you are bruised or wounded by abuse, witnesses confirming your abusive relationship, reports from a psychologist and etc.

It takes courage to get out of an unhealthy relationship and talk to a lawyer. Our firm will provide the needed friendly and individual environment and listen to your story.

About the VAWA Act of 1994

The Act is generally designed to improve on efforts made in 1994 to prevent immigration law from being used by an abusive citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse as a tool to prevent an abused immigrant spouse from reporting abuse or leaving the abusive relationship. In the case of the abusive relationship, an abusive citizen or lawful permanent resident can use control over his or her spouse's visa as a means to blackmail and control the spouse. The abusive spouse would do this by withholding a promised visa petition and then threatening to turn the abused spouse in to the immigration authorities if the abused spouse sought to leave the abuser or report the abuse. VAWA 1994 changed this by allowing immigrants who demonstrate that they have been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouses to file their own petitions for visas without the cooperation of their abusive spouse.