Legal counsel:visitation rights for foreign mother

A foreign friend was married to a Taiwanese man and had four children (now 2-8 years old). They divorced, on paper only, a few years ago (long story). However he continued to sponsor her so that she lived in Taiwan with the husband and the children. Last time she left the country to renew her visa he said he would no longer sponsor her in Taiwan. So she had to leave the country because her visa expired. And as he said, he did not renew her sponsorship. If she were to come back to Taiwan she would have to do it on her own with her own money. Since her Chinese is not good, and her English is minimal, she obviously cannot get a work visa here. The only way she can come here is if she came here as a student or on a visitor visa. Right?

The parents had never worked out a legal custody/visitation deal. What are her rights and how do they get enforced? She is not after sole custody since she knows that will never happen. She just wants to be able to live in Taiwan and have visitation rights to see her children. Are there any legal foundations for people like her? (Very limited money, foreigner, limited knowledge of her rights, etc.) She will be in Taiwan for another 3 weeks and is hoping to see her children again before she leaves. Also, she wants to start the legal process so that she can establish some visitation times. And to find out what rights she does have as a mother to children in Taiwan.

Thank you for any advice.

I’ve used the 市公所 in my city before regarding legal questions. There’s a lawyer there who answers questions for free, you just have to check the time this service is available and go early to queue. Check the website of the one in your area for details (e.g. and take someone who speaks Chinese. If you have trouble finding the website of the one in your area, let me know.

Update: We made an appointment with the Legal Aid Foundation to review my friend’s case. In the end they did accept to take it on. For future reference, it is a little frustrating so you just have to keep reminding yourself that you are trying to get free help so it is hard to be too demanding. Phone or go in person to make the appointment. From what I heard, if you email you may not get a response. A volunteer first sat with us and asked some basic background information to get an idea of the financial situation. The foreigner in the booth beside us did not seem to understand why they were asking so many questions (mother and father’s name, do you give them money, do they give you money, what is your income, etc.). He was getting quite angry. Remember, you are trying to get them to take you on for free so they have these questions. Then we waited for a couple hours (unfortunately we were behind the angry guy who took up more than his one hour consultation time) to finally meet with a lawyer. The lawyer was very professional and spoke English. He took down more financial info and asked about the case. He wrote up a report, read it back to us, then said that he would present this application to a group who makes the final decision. They notified us within two days. I found the lawyer very professional and offered some good advice. Since you are consulting a lawyer in the first place you are probably stressed out about things so it is a little frustrating on top of everything to have to wait so long and be asked so many seemingly tedious questions. But still better than paying the 5000-7000 NTD for a consultation.

Legal Aid foundation (all the other numbers we called, such as Foreigner Hotline, etc. just gave us this number): +886-2-2322-5255 Ext.140
They have branches throughout Taipei but we went to the headquarters to meet with an English lawyer.
5F, No.189, Sec 2, Jinshan South Road, Da-an District.
Guting MRT station, exit 5 and walk straight to Jinshan Road and turn left. Just past the Subway Restaurant.