A Word About Selecting An Attorney
I AM NOT an attorney and I will not, nor cannot offer legal advice. I work WITH attorneys, and not against them. I WILL NOT engage in the unauthorized practice of law.
You have been defrauded, you are emotionally, perhaps physically, and financially abused. You are facing criminal charges or fighting a restraining order. You need to end this marriage and the nightmare it has caused you and IS causing you. Your first inclination is to seek legal help. THAT is a very good idea. GET A LAWYER, NOW.
You are at a point where you need to get competent legal representation and you think you should seek out an immigration attorney to help you. After all, this is an immigration matter, right? Not necessarily.
Allow me to offer this observation. Immigration attorneys are to non-citizens what criminal defense attorneys are to criminal defendants. Both are in the business of helping those types of clients.
Immigration attorneys are NOT, by and large, in the business of assisting US citizens who find themselves in this kind of situation because in order for the attorney to aggressively assist you, they may need to take an action that could possibly result in the alien being placed in removal proceedings. And THAT would be very bad for an immigration attorney's business.
There are two questions you should ask a prospective attorney, in my opinion. First: "Do you believe that coming to this country as an immigrant is a right or a privilege?" If they refuse to answer the question or worse yet answer: "I believe it is or should be a right.", then you might want to consider finding another attorney.
The LAW, specifically, Title 8 United States Code, Section 1101(a)(20) defines the term 'Lawfully Admitted For Permanent Residence" as "The status accorded to an alien of the PRIVILEGE of residing permanently in the United States as an immigrant, such status not having changed". [emphasis added] That's the law and the word privilege is found right in it. It is supported by over 65 year of American Immigration Jurisprudence.
The other question you should ask any prospective attorney you are seeking to help you is: "Is there anything you won't do in representing me, that could possibly result in my spouse, fiancee, etc. being placed in deportation proceedings?" If they tell you they cannot do anything that could possibly lead to the other party being deported, again, it's possibly time to look for another attorney.
Rest assured, your spouse or fiancee will be represented by an attorney and that attorney will do whatever they have to in order to ensure his/her client will get what they want, which is, of course, status in the US.
Also, if an attorney or an advocacy group tells you "All your spouse wants is to get their green card and then move on with their life, why don't you just help them do this", you need to report them to ICE immediately. It's against the law to conspire to commit a crime or defraud the United States and doing what they ask you to do is a crime. See: Title 8 United States Code, Section 1325(c); 18 USC 1001; 18 USC 1546; and 18 USC 371. All of these citations are federal felonies.
DON'T LET ANYONE TELL YOU THAT MARRIAGE FRAUD IS NOT A CRIME It is.
It is imperative you get COMPETENT legal representation. You cannot and should not, represent yourself. The law is complicated and no amount of watching TV shows involving lawyers will help you prepare for what you are about to go through. I can't say this enough times: "GET YOURSELF AN ATTORNEY". Preferably one who is familiar with immigration law but does not practice immigration law. You need a good criminal defense attorney and/or a good and aggressive divorce/annulment attorney.
My role is to work with you and your attorney as both a technical consultant and an expert witness.