I’m an American man married to a Taiwanese woman (with dual U.S. citizenship via our marriage). We were married in the U.S. and have lived in the U.S. for the entirety of our marriage, and our marriage is not registered in Taiwan. Our two young kids enrolled in schools in the U.S.
In the last year or so, our relationship has been deteriorating for reasons I don’t think I need to get into, and my wife’s mental state has been deteriorating in tandem.
Despite all of this, I was excited about our trip to Taiwan for a family wedding and Chinese New Year. This is probably my 8th or 10th time in Taiwan, but I’m not really counting. I enjoy coming here, especially for the food. It was supposed to be a two-week trip, and I thought it would be a nice break from the day-to-day back home.
Well, I’ll try to make a long story short … a few days into our trip, while I went out of the house alone for an hour, my wife took away and hid our kids’ US passports. When I found out I confronted her about this, and argument followed, and she threatened that she wants a divorce and might just want to stay in Taiwan indefinitely and not let the kids return home, and refused to tell me where the passports are. I was absolutely not ok with this and got angry. She screamed, called the Taichung police, accused me of hitting her (I didn’t), and launched into a teary DV victim act. I got scared, grabbed my passport and some cash and took off on foot.
I stayed the night in a hotel and found a lawyer through AIT’s website. Remember, I’m just a tourist here, so I had no idea what my rights are in Taiwan and didn’t want to go to the police by myself. Lawyer came with me to the police station, helped me give a statement (I didn’t know about the Foreign Affairs Police until today … but I don’t think they were present?), and police said have a nice day and happy new year. My wife said I’m not welcome back at the house, so I go back to the hotel and consider just flying home (without my kids) and deal with the custody battle later.
A few hours later, the lawyer informs me that my wife is prosecuting me and had petitioned for a travel ban on my passport and it was issued by the Taichung DA. I’m stuck in Taiwan. I’m accused of the crime of “offense of causing injury” and at some point I’ll have a hearing at the prosecutor’s office.
My question for the group: what can I expect at this hearing? All I really want is for my travel ban to be lifted so I can go home and go back to work. Yes, there are other issues to deal with (like divorcing my wife and getting my kids back to the US) but I have lawyers that I trust working on that already. Due to CNY, I’ve already been in Taiwan longer than planned and my wife cancelled our return flights. Will the prosecutor’s office provide a translator? Do I need to find my own interpreter? would they keep a tourist/foreigner in Taiwan on a travel ban for long?