Divorce in the U.S. When You Are from a Different Culture and Country
At Helfand & Associates, our experienced family law attorneys handle many divorces and family court matters for people of different cultures and nations. We have helped people/immigrants from India, various middle eastern countries, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, China, Holland, Vienna and Israel to name a few. Our office is located in Morris County. Many clients come from Parsippany and the surrounding area, although our divorce lawyers handle cases throughout northern New Jersey.
It is important that immigrants that do not have green cards or citizenship consult with immigration attorneys when addressing a legal issue in this country. Each year more than 400,000 American citizens, many foreign-born persons petition for permanent residency. For those petitioning because of marriage, there is a two-year period of conditional permanent residency and a responsibility by the United States citizen to support the foreign spouse. If the parties do divorce during this period, the foreign spouse can be deported, but a foreign-born spouse can make his/her own application, even if divorced, based on extreme hardship, good faith and being a victim of abuse. Always consult with an attorney regarding your case and status.
Many cultures have different customs regarding marriage than U.S. families. Some cultures have arranged marriages and multiple generations living together with the couple. A high level of physical and mental abuse of women is accepted in many foreign families but it is not tolerated by the laws and Courts in the United States.
Also, customs and “appropriate” behavior can be different in other cultures and should not always be looked at negatively because they are different. Many husbands and wives live separately; often quite far apart because of job responsibilities. In some cultures, it is expected that the son send money to their parents in the foreign country. This can conflict with the State’s treatment of marital assets.
Some Middle Eastern cultures believe that in a divorce, a child should go with the father automatically because the mother will focus on finding a new husband. This is usually not a standard or factor considered by the United States Courts, but this must be understood when considering the dynamics in a divorce case.
Our divorce attorneys are very sensitive to the clients’ unique cultures and feelings, as well as how it is dealt with in the community. It is not, however, acceptable for a person, man or woman, to be the victim of abuse ever; nor is it acceptable to deny children the love of a parent if it is available.
The law firm of Helfand & Associates protects your privacy while making sure you are safe. Do not be a victim of abuse or avoid a divorce because you are too ashamed or afraid to say something. The U.S. laws are designed to help you and to protect your children. Children do not automatically go with the mother or father in the U.S. as they do in other countries and cultures. The Court looks at what is in the best interest of the child. Usually both parents have time with their children.
Do not be afraid to seek help if you have a family problem and you are not from this country. At Helfand & Associates we help people from towns throughout Morris and Essex Counties, New Jersey, with divorce, domestic violence, and DCP&P matters, even if you are not a U.S. citizen.
Please call our office at 973-428-0800 or contact us online for a free 1/2 hr. consultation if you have any questions.