What are my rights to custody and child/spousal support?

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What are my rights to custody and child/spousal support?

I married my husband in Australia in 2006. We lived there until about 2 months ago, when I got permanent residency and moved here. In AU, we lived off my income and spent my $20,000 in savings paying off my husband’s debts and obtaining my visa. We have 2 children – 1 born in AU and 1 born here. Since moving, my health has declined greatly as my husband refuses to pay for a doctor. Now says that he wants to leave me. I cannot support myself and he says he will get the kids because of this. He wants me to go back to AU but I won’t unless I can take my kids. I’m very scared.

Asked on May 3, 2011 under Family Law, Indiana

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation.  I can understand how you would be very fearful given the circumstances.  I am assuming that your husband is an American Citizen, correct?  One of your children is an American Citizen by right being born here and the other being born to an American parent can apply for citizenship.  Now, there are many things that I wish that I could ask you about your husband's job, etc., and if medical insurance is available.  But that is really not the crux of the matter.  You are entitled to make an application for spousal support and child support and your husband could be ordered by the court to pay it.  You have not lived in Indiana long enough to file for divorce (generally that would be 6 months) but I m sure that you can file for temporary child support. My concern here is that your health will preclude you from taking care of the children and that he will be able to obtain physical custody of them.  I would strongly suggest that you go and seek legal help from possibly legal aid if you qualify.  Or maybe your family could lend you some money for an attorney at this point in time.  You need to protect yourself and your kids and your status here as a permanent resident.  Good luck to you. 


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