Domestic Abuse Helpline
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Transnational Marriage Abandonment
The deliberate abandonment or ‘stranding’ of a woman in her country of origin by a husband who returns and remains in England or Wales. This act has recently been recognised as a form of domestic abuse.
The process leading to abandoning a woman is calculated, it follows a pattern of domestic abuse and coercive control
- It may include dowry abuse; whereby when a husband has been given a dowry from his wife’s family he leaves her in her country of origin
- If a woman comes to England or Wales on a spousal visa, once the visa is nearing its expiration date, the couple return to her country of origin, which he leaves and she is left without the means of returning.
- Women have been tricked into returning to their country of origin with their husbands, children and sometimes extended family members for prolonged holidays – their passports and other legal documents are retained by their husbands who then abandon them
- Men can engage in legal proceedings against their wives, at which the wife is unable to be represented. If a divorce takes place, the ‘stranded’ woman is unable to access a financial settlement, gain custody of her children and can be further discriminated against for being divorced.
Impact of Transnational Marriage Abandonment:
- The woman has no matrimonial or residence rights in England or Wales
- If there are children, they maybe abandoned with their mother or
- If there are children, they maybe separated from their mother, remaining with their father
- Women (and children) who are ‘stranded’ are often left without economic & financial resources
- Once abandoned women remain married but without rights to support and protection
- ‘Stranded’ women have reported being at risk of violence, exploitation, destitution and social stigma from communities in their country of origin
- ‘Stranded’ women are discriminated against as not being in the UK means that they do not have the right to apply to return or to seek indefinite leave to remain