Help Restore Justice for Davneet and Her Children
My name is Davneet Wadhwa and my petition is about America's unequal justice system for this Indian citizen mother and her Indian citizen children.
I am an Indian citizen who has been subjected to extremely cruel and oppressive treatment here in United States. This has been going on for the past 6 years and if we do not get help, my children and I will continue to suffer for many more years to come.
This is how it began: I had an arranged marriage in India in 2002. My ex husband was very abusive from the beginning, but I kept working on the relationship in a hope that things will change some day. My husband came to the United States in 2008 on an employment visa, and I accompanied him with our two beautiful kids, on a spouse visa. Coming to the United States is a dream come true and a land of opportunity for many. For women, it means having our own identity, freedom of soul and freedom of speech. But for me it has become a land of abuse, where I lost everything. I've lost my dreams, my soul and inner peace and NOW MY CHILDREN. My status in the United States remains as a victim of abuse, first by my spouse and then by the legal system.
I had no family, friends or support in this foreign land. We were isolated in a foreign country. His abuse continued and escalated in 2010, which led me to move into a shelter for battered women in Cincinnati, Ohio. Soon after I moved out, my husband filed for divorce and abandoned our family. He cleared out our bank accounts, stopped the credit cards and left us stranded. I was thrown out on the streets with my two children and was left with the responsibility of raising them in a foreign land. I had no one to reach out to, or means to provide for them.
I had no option but to trust the legal system in America. And, that was the biggest mistake I made. This is what I have been subjected to over these years:
My divorce case was filed in Warren County Domestic Relations Court, Lebanon, Ohio. The Judge on my case is Magistrate Brenda Dunlap. Right from the beginning, The Court has continued to make wrongful decisions on my case, not considering the evidence, my immigration status and the other important merits of the case.
Power Plays and Abuse of Authority -
* I was only awarded alimony for two years and the court retained jurisdiction to renew the duration and amount of alimony. When I filed a motion to renew the alimony, The Court refused to increase the duration, knowing the immigration challenges, recognition of my academic qualification in United States, my zero work experience in a foreign country and the fact that I was a stay at home mother for a long time.
* We are Indian Citizens. My children's Indian passports have expired and my ex-husband refuses to renew their passports. He wants to provide an address on their passports which is not his legal address. I asked the court to intervene and Magistrate Dunlap, without considering the evidence related to the issue, ordered the passports renewed according to father's wishes. It is illegal to misrepresent facts on a legal document.
* The living arrangements in my ex husband's house are inappropriate because my 13 year old and 9 year old children have to sleep on the same mattress as does their father and his wife. He also has a male roommate in his house, who occupies one out of two bedrooms in the apartment. When I questioned these living arrangements, Magistrate Dunlap's response was"kids can sleep in the bathroom, I do not care".
* Magistrate Dunlap recently made a decision about the custody of my children, on the basis of my immigration status, my financial status and poorer material conditions in India . She awarded the custody of my Indian Citizen children to their father because my U visa has expired and due to that I asked The Court's permission to relocate to India with my children. In our decree she had ordered that kids will go back to India with the parent who has to leave United States due to immigration status. And, now she changed her own decision.She did not consider the fact that I have been the primary care provider for my children for the past six years and father does not even exercises his visitations as ordered by the court.
* The Guardian Ad Litem appointed on this case, "forgot" to write in her report that the father is remarried and did not bother to interview the stepmom or children to find out her relationship with my children or the details of her immigration status. Magistrate Dunlap still considered the GAL's report in making custody decision, knowing the report could not be relied upon. A stepmother on a visitor's visa is given preference over children's biological mother, due to her expired immigration status.
* I do not have resources to pay to for my legal representation. The Magistrate refuses to award attorney fees knowing my financial situation, due to my immigration status.
* Magistrate Dunlap has made several unfair decisions in my case regarding the property division(401k), child support and children's medical expenses in this case.
I feel as if my children and I are now hostages of this system.My choices are to be forced to immigrate or to go home without my children. I do not wish to live in the United States in these circumstances.This is not "Sophie's choice". This is our lives together or apart.
USCIS oversight - After he filed for the divorce, my dependent visa came to an end and the Mason Municipal Court Prosecutor helped me switch to U-Visa. He applied for his green card, AFTER I moved to a U-visa. He was granted a change of status, I do not know how.
I feel my children and I are being held captive in the United States, by the legal system with no help in sight. I need your help in communicating this injustice loud and clear. My immigration status is my choice. We SHOULD NOT BE FORCED TO immigrate and subjected to this torture for the rest of our life. We deserve justice and a right to make a choice.
I have reached out to many organizations, government offices in the past 6 years for help; from the Governor’s office, to the abused women shelter, the Indian embassy, Indian and Ohio newspapers, and last but not the least, the United States Legal system. But I still wake up every day praying and hoping that someone might be willing to help and listen to my story and provide my children and me with the justice we deserve.
I am an educated self-sustained woman who takes pride in working and supporting my family rather than abusing government benefits. I have a Bachelor’s degree and a technical diploma from India but I cannot secure a decent job in the US because my degree is not recognized here. We have not seen our family in India for almost 7 years now. I have a long list of challenges and struggles ahead of me, but is that a reason to give up on my children or should I be forced to?
As a mother I ask, is this country’s legal system well equipped to handle such cases? Per my experience, NO. And, if the system is not well equipped to handle this, please do not make such life changing decisions and ruin people's lives.
As a mother I am pleading to anybody who can help, PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION and raise awareness about our situation, so that my children do not get separated from me. I am not the first and will not be the last person in this situation. By signing this petition, you will be helping us and many more silent sufferers.
Thank you for reading and considering to sign and share my petition.
My GoFundMe page is : https://www.gofundme.com/HelpDavneet
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