'RHONJ' Husband Joe Giudice 'Remains a Big Presence' in His Family's Life Amid Incarceration

Despite continuing to serve his 41-month prison sentence for fraud, Joe Giudice is close to his family's heart during the Christmas season.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey husband even received a visit from wife Teresa Giudice prior to the holiday last week, her lawyer James J. Leonard Jr. told PEOPLE Wednesday.

"Teresa tries to make the holidays about the girls, but obviously they miss their father," he told the outlet. "Joe is on everybody's mind and despite being where he is, remains a big presence in everyone's lives through phone calls, emails and visits. It's not ideal, but this family has been doing this since 2015. God willing it all be over soon and Joe will return home where he belongs."

The family has been through a tough few years, beginning with Teresa and Joe's conviction for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud in 2013. Teresa was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison and was released in December 2015, but has been raising the couple's four daughters, four daughters: Gia, 17, Gabriella, 14, Milania, 13, and Audriana, 9, as a single parent while her husband serves his sentence.

In March 2016, Teresa's mother, Antonia Gorga, passed away, leaving the Bravo star heartbroken and dealing with family drama regarding her brother Joe Gorga's responsibility to their father, which fans are seeing play out on the ongoing season of RHONJ.

In October, the Giudices received even more bad news when an immigration court ruled to deport Joe to his native Italy following his prison sentence, as he never obtained U.S. citizenship despite living in the country since he was a child.

The family has appealed the ruling, but no additional legal decisions have been made.

"The deportation has always been a thing in the back of the family's mind, but now it's a harsh reality," a source close to the reality personality told Entertainment Tonight in October.

"As much as Teresa said she would live in Italy with Joe in the past, that most likely won't happen as her father is in the States, and so is her family and friends," they continued. "If Joe doesn't win the appeal, his relationship with Teresa is in question."

Another source added to the outlet, "Teresa and Joe both felt they could do their time and then be free to continue their lives, but this is a game changer for them. Their lives will never be the same. Teresa's closest friends often wondered how Teresa and Joe lived so well even after their trouble. Nothing seemed to make sense, they didn't alter their lifestyle at all. This news was a shock to Teresa mostly because she could never face this as an option in their lives."


The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.

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