Wed | Oct 20, 2021

Immigration Corner | Can you help me see my children again?

Published:Tuesday | July 23, 2019 | 12:19 AM
Dahlia Walker-Huntington
Dahlia Walker-Huntington

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

Please tell me if my children's father can be granted primary custody of our kids without my consent? He is living in New Jersey and he divorced me and filed for our kids. The court granted him custody. I could not attend the court because I don't have travel documents. I am still in Jamaica and my kids are with my ex-husband.

I don't know how or when I am going to see my children again, I only see them over video and I can't get to hold them any more. The embassy has refused me a visa and I don't know what else I can do.

Can you advise me? Thanks in advance.


Dear CL,

There is a lot of unknowns in your story, but I am very sorry that you are separated from your children without knowing when you are going to see them again. It is simply heartbreaking.

First thing you need is a lawyer in the state of New Jersey who practises family law and who is proficient in international custody issues. The fact that you were unable to attend the hearing should not have precluded you from being represented at the hearing. You do not know what the court was told about your absence and your relationship and affection for your children. Please act sooner rather than later to have a lawyer intervene to modify the final judgement of divorce.

The sequence of events in your matter is not specified, and this information will be critical to your attorney in assisting you in the case, e.g., how did the children end up in America? At a minimum, you should have some form of visitation and communication with your children – even if it is supervised.

With regards to your application for a US visa at the embassy in Jamaica and their denial of same, again a lot more information is needed from you to try and determine why the visa was denied and if you would have a chance if you re-applied with a non-immigrant waiver. Remember that regardless of the reason why you want and/or need a US visa, the embassy is going to look at your ties to your home country and how strong is the pull for you to return home after your visit.

Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington, esq. is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal and international law in Florida. She is a mediator and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida.