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Family Court Review

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As the number of authorized and unauthorized immigrants in the United States continues to rise, immigration issues increasingly permeate family court proceedings. When immigrant families become subject to a family court’s jurisdiction, the court’s services, its traditional “best interests” legal standard, and its rulings frequently must be considered and effectuated from a different perspective. Undocumented and permanent residents, for example, face potential severe consequences to family court findings with which citizens need not contend, such as detention in an immigration facility, deportation to another country, and permanent geographical separation from their families. These ramifications compound the challenges already faced by many families served by family courts. At the same time, family court involvement can sometimes create opportunities for immigration relief for the survivors of abuse, neglect, abandonment, and domestic violence whom the court serves.