Investing in a skilled Family Law Attorney can make all the difference in your life, so choosing a Law Firm and Lawyer with a great reputation and sterling credentials is paramount to your future family life. Whether you are filing for a divorce, or fighting for child custody, assets, or a business, your case will have a higher chance to result in your favor, if you learn how to work with your Legal Team so they can use their time and skills to best serve your needs. Here are some tips to help you have a positive experience with your Family Law Attorney.
Invest in Your Lawyer’s Time Wisely
Keep in mind you are paying for your Lawyer’s time. Whether they are filling out documents, researching, or putting together an argument, you don’t want to distract them or take their focus off the overall strategy and fine points of your case. For example, many people try to use their Lawyer as a therapist, especially in family law cases. If you feel that you need to talk to someone about your anger or any other feelings, your Lawyer is not that person. Give your Legal Counsel space to perform the tasks directly related to your case so that they can assure that you are in the best possible position to achieve your goals.
Think and Plan Ahead
We often see that clients want to get high quality services quickly and at a cheap price. The reality is that this is virtually impossible. If you put a rush on things, you will most likely end up paying more money in the long run. For example, imagine you call on a Monday morning and ask for a contract by the following evening. Chances are, in cases like this, a Senior Attorney will be the one to draft up the contract simply because of the limitations in time allotted for the task. If more time was given, the work could have been delegated to an Associate Attorney who can perform these tasks at a lower billing rate.
Give Immediate Updates and Developments
If something changes or new information becomes available that is or may be related to your case, let your Legal Team know immediately. If something crucial is developing, your Attorney can identify the relevance and urgency, and designate actions as necessary. Giving timely notice of updates and developments will give your Lawyer the needed time to gather with their team and plan a course of action, if required.
Follow Through on Your End
In many cases your legal counsel will give you assignments pertinent that will help them fight and build your case. This could be anything from collecting a digital recording of text messages or phone calls between you and the other party, obtaining credit card purchase histories, authorizing the release of information from a doctor, etc. The sooner you can complete tasks and back to your Counsel with what they need to proceed, the better and more efficient the case can be run and the chances for you to get everything you expect and deserve will increase.Read More
According to a 2017 report by Forbes, the majority of U.S. companies are going to hire foreign employees. Based on 442 surveyed employers, 55% said they were going to hire overseas team members—an increase of more than 20% over data collected in 2016. Most of these new hires will enter the U.S. on H1B visas, and the majority will find employment in the tech industry. There are many misconceptions about H1B visas.
If you are seeking entry into the United States on an H1B visa or if you are an employer planning to hire foreign professionals, there are some basic things that you need to know. Applying for an H1B visa can be complicated and frustrating; working with experienced immigration attorneys can help you achieve your immigration and employment goals.
What is a H1B Visa?
The H1B visa is a non-immigrant, employment-based visa for temporary hires. To get an H1B visa, an employer must offer the foreign professional a job and apply for the visa on the potential hire’s behalf. Once approved, the H1B professional can temporarily live and work, specifically for the petitioning employer, in the United States.
Who is Eligible for the H1B Visa?
The H1B visa is reserved for foreign professionals in specialty occupations, which requires higher-level education and specialized skill or knowledge. A “specialty occupation” is defined as “an occupation that requires (a) theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and (b) attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.” If your status is put into question, your best bet is to search for immigration lawyers, and find one with experience relevant to your personal scenario.
How Long Can You Stay in America on an H1B Visa?
The maximum length of stay on an H1B visa is six years. The initial visa is valid for up to three years and can be extended by another three-year increment. The H1B professional’s spouse and minor children can remain in the U.S. under H-4 status for the same length of time.
What are the Potential Reasons for H1B Visa Denials?
There are various common reasons why the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS) may deny an H1B visa petition.
One common reason for a denial is that USCIS does not deem the foreign professional as entering a specialty occupation. For a job position to qualify as a specialty occupation, the petitioning employer must show at least one of the following:
A Bachelor’s Degree or its equivalent is the minimum requirement for entry into that position;
The degree requirement is a common one for the position in the specified industry;
The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent;
The nature of the job’s duties is so specialized and complex that knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with attainment of the degree.
Another common reason for an H1B denial is an inadequate showing of the employer/employee relationship. A red flag is triggered for USCIS officers when an employee works off-site, which raises the suspicion that the H1B professional will not be working for the petitioning employer. Extensive evidence is needed to prove that the petitioning employer will have sole right to control when, where, and how the H1B employee performs the job.
If you are applying for an H1B visa for a potential employee or if your intended employer is seeking H1B status on your behalf, having a qualified immigration attorney will help ensure a smooth process.Read More
Contracts can be long, boring, and very confusing. Understanding the parts of a contract will hopefully help you in any present or future agreements. To start, you should know about the three main components that make up a contract: offer, acceptance, and consideration.
An “offer” constitutes an expression of interest in entering a contract. When an offer is made, it should be understood by both parties that upon acceptance of the terms, the offer is considered binding. For example, an offer can be as simple as a person writing a price on a for sale sign and placing it on their vehicle. Or, it can be complex in that it has many terms, like an employment contract, in which a person must satisfy all terms in the offer through the length of the contract. Importantly, once the offer is accepted, it is binding, no matter how simple or complex the offer is.
Once an offer is made it can be ignored, accepted, specifically rejected or rejected by submitting a counter-offer. As with the acceptance of an offer, the acceptance of a counter-offer creates a binding agreement of that new offer.
“Acceptance” is either a promise, or an act that indicates a person’s will to enter into a contract and be bound by the terms set forth in the offer. Acceptance can be tricky – especially when it is done through an act, such as verbal communication, accepting funds, or even a handshake. However, acceptance is most closely associated with signing a document of the agreed upon terms.
The third and final part of a contact is “consideration.” Consideration is a legal term for exchanging something of value. Whether it be money, products, services, consideration is something of value that each party exchanges. For example, an employee provides his or her time and skill for an employer, who, in exchange, provides compensation. It has long been said, that the exchange of consideration can be as little as a peppercorn seed as its of sufficient value.
While contracts can be extremely lengthy, complicated, and difficult to understand, only these three elements are required for one to be formed and legally binding. For any of your contract needs, both simple and complex, know that the business law attorneys at Sullivan, Krieger, Truong, Spagnola, and Klausner are more than happy to assist you. You can contact us at 1-877-877-1-LAW or fill out the form below to get in touch with us.Read More
If you are a United States legal permanent resident (“LPR” or “green card holder”), you may be eligible to become a United States citizen. United States (“U.S.”) citizenship opens the door to substantial benefits, including having the right to vote, eligibility for federal benefits or jobs, and unlimited length of international travel.
In order to qualify for citizenship in the United States, LPRs must meet the following requirements:
- Applicant must be admitted to permanent resident status;
- Applicant is at least 18 years of age;
- Applicant has been continuously residing in the U.S. for a minimum period of time (generally 5 years, but 3 years for spouses of U.S. citizens);
- Applicant has been residing in the state of application for a minimum of 3 months;
- Applicant has been physically present in the U.S. for a minimum period (at least half the period of required continuous residence);
- Applicant must reside in the U.S. from the date of filing for naturalization until actual admission to citizenship;
- Applicant is able to read, write, and speak ordinary English;
- Applicant has knowledge of U.S. history and government;
- Applicant has good moral character; and
- Applicant is attached to the principles of the U.S. constitution.
Determining eligibility for naturalization can be a tricky matter. An application to naturalize invokes the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) to perform another review of the applicant’s permanent resident application. If USCIS concludes that the applicant unlawfully obtained LPR status, the finding will render the applicant ineligible for naturalization and may jeopardize the existing LPR status. Additionally, the principal beneficiary’s unlawful procurement of LPR status may affect a derivative beneficiary’s ability to naturalize. Eligibility is further complicated if the applicant has engaged in fraud or any criminal activity.
The following actions undermine a finding of good moral character for naturalization purposes:
- A criminal record, regardless of the nature and date of the criminal conviction;
- Unlawful voting or false claim to U.S. citizenship;
- Tax fraud or willful concealment of income;
- Smuggling of undocumented persons; or
- Giving false testimony for purposes of obtaining immigration benefits.
Applying for naturalization can be lengthy and frustrating without the help of experienced attorneys and staff. Our seasoned team can assist and guide you through the naturalization application process. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney.
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President Trump Issues Executive Order Suspending Refugee Admissions and Entry of Green Card/Visa Holders From Particular Countries
President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order (EO), entitled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Entry into the United States, which went into immediate effect upon signing on Friday, January 27, 2017. The EO bars the admission of immigrants and non-immigrants from seven countries (Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) for at least 90 days, suspends the U.S. Refugee Admission Program for at least 120 days, and indefinitely suspends the entry of Syrian refugees.
Suspension of Visa Issuance
As previously discussed, the EO suspends the entry of immigrants and non-immigrants who are nationals from certain countries for 90 days. These countries include Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. However, the 90-day entry ban excludes foreign nationals traveling to the United States on diplomatic visas, NATO visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, and G-4 visas.
The EO further instructs the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, to submit a report to President Trump, within 30 days of the EO, regarding the adequacy of information collected during the visa adjudication process for the purpose of verifying the applicant’s identity. The report shall also include a list of countries not supplying adequate information. After the first 30 days, foreign governments who have not yet provided sufficient information will be given 60 days’ notice to do so. A country’s failure to comply with the request will result in foreign nationals from said country being prohibited entry to the U.S. However, visas may continue to be issued on a case-by-case basis, when in the national interest, to foreign nationals even if their country is listed.
The EO appears to include both individuals born in affected countries and individuals who hold dual nationality with one of those countries. Although dual nationals who present a passport from a non-banned country should not be denied entry, application of the EO across airports in the U.S. have been inconsistent.
With regards to lawful permanent residents (“LPRs”), the Department of Homeland Security has issued a statement asserting that the ban applies to LPRs, but that they would qualify for an exception due to national interest. LPRS from affected countries are consequently not barred from entry unless the U.S. government deems that they pose a national security threat. However, LPRs may still be subject to lengthy questionings and heightened entry procedures at U.S. ports of entry.
Implementing New Standards for Screening
The Secretaries of State and Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Director of the FBI are tasked with implementing a uniform screening standard and procedure to identify individuals seeking to enter the U.S. on a fraudulent basis, with the intent to harm, or who are at risk of causing harm. The new screening program will include the following:
- A database of identity documents to ensure that duplicate documents are not produced by multiple applicants;
- Application forms with amended questions aimed at identifying fraudulent answers and malicious intent;
- A mechanism to ensure the identity of the applicant;
- A process to evaluate whether the applicant will be a positively contributing member of society; and
- A mechanism to ascertain whether the applicant has the intent to commit criminal or terrorist acts after admission.
Suspension of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program
President Trump is suspending the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days while a review and modification of the refugee screening process takes place. After said 120 days, USRAP admissions will resume only for countries with sufficient safeguards against threats to the safety and welfare of the U.S. The Secretaries of Homeland Security and State may admit individuals on a case-by-case basis, if it is in the national interest, or when the person is already in transit and denying admission would cause undue hardship. Refugee claims made by individuals based on religious persecution (if the religion is a minority religion in the country of nationality) are deemed to be of national interest and will receive priority once USRAP is continued. Once admissions are permissible, the number of admissions shall not exceed 50,000 in fiscal year 2017.
Entry of Syrian refugees is suspended until President Trump determines that sufficient changes have been made to USRAP.
The EO includes additional provisions related to the entry of foreign nations into the U.S., including the following:
- All travelers to the U.S. will be required to provide biometric data upon entry and exit from the U.S. (as opposed to current entry-only requirements). Three reports shall be submitted within the first year of the EO, and a report shall be submitted every 180 days until the system is completed and operational;
- The Visa Interview Waiver Program shall be immediately suspended, and all individuals seeking nonimmigrant visas will be required to undergo in-person interviews;
- The Secretary of State shall review all non-immigrant visa reciprocity agreements;
- Data regarding the number of foreign-born individuals in the U.S. who have been charged, convicted, or removed from the U.S. based on terrorism-related activities or gender-based acts of violence will be collected and made publicly available every 180 days.
The experienced immigration attorneys at Sullivan, Krieger, Truong, Spagnola, and Klausner will be monitoring the situation closely and will provide updates accordingly.[av_hr class=’default’ height=’50’ shadow=’no-shadow’ position=’center’ custom_border=’av-border-thin’ custom_width=’50px’ custom_border_color=” custom_margin_top=’30px’ custom_margin_bottom=’30px’ icon_select=’yes’ custom_icon_color=” icon=’ue808′ font=’entypo-fontello’] [gravityform id=”1″ title=”true” description=”true”] Read More
Nathaniel Rudd didn’t know that he was going to be a father until the woman he had dated exactly nine months prior called to notify him from the hospital.
The very next day, Nathaniel, 31 drove to the hospital to hold his baby son, Peter, for the first time. He soon after learned from a social worker that Peter’s mother wouldn’t be able to take him home. Nathaniel immediately began petitioning for custody.
Before taking a mandatory drug test, Nathaniel explained that he uses cannabis, with a doctor’s recommendation, to treat pain from a car accident that he had been in years prior. The drug test came back inconclusive, since he had not medicated in several days.
When Nathaniel went to court a few days later, he learned that the damage had already been done.
“They told me I was cognitively unable to care for my child because of medical marijuana use,” Rudd said.
Peter was placed in foster care in September of 2015 and Nathaniel has been fighting to bring him home ever since.
Nathaniel Rudd and his new fiancée are among hundreds of families who are estimated to be facing custody issues in California over medical marijuana use. These families all got a glimmer of hope on Nov. 8, when California voters approved Proposition 64. Under the new law, California courts can no longer rescind or restrict a parent’s custodial rights solely because they have recommendations for medical marijuana unless there’s a clear threat or evidence of harm as a result of marijuana use.
In Nathaniel’s case, he says that there was never an opportunity for him to demonstrate his care for his son Peter, or for authorities to observe any signs of substance abuse. There was only his own acknowledgement that he was a medical marijuana patient.
Nathaniel pointed out that he had been medicating with marijuana heavy in CBD (the non-psychoactive component of cannabis, primarily used to manage pain and treat cancer patients) This type of cannabis has almost no THC (the main compound that makes consumers high).
Nathaniel insists that he wasn’t ever impaired by his treatment and that he didn’t ever plan to use cannabis around his son. He volunteered to quit using medical marijuana entirely and submit to regular drug testing. Still, to date, he has been unable to gain custody of his son, Peter.
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Congratulations! You have just been engaged to the man or woman of your dreams, who happens to live in another country. As a United States (“U.S.”) citizen, you are now confronted with the problem of how to reunite with your significant other in the U.S. One option for bringing your fiancé to the U.S. is the K-1 fiancé non-immigrant visa, which applies to couples who are not yet married.
The basic eligibility requirements for a K-1 visa are:
- The petitioner must be a U.S. citizen;
- The petitioner and fiancé must intend to marry within 90 days of the fiancé entering the United States;
- Both parties must have legal capacity to marry; and
- Both parties must have met each other in person within two years before the petition is filed.
The application process involves the U.S. citizen petitioner filing a nonimmigrant visa petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the K-1 fiancé. Current USCIS processing time for petition for an alien fiancé is approximately six months. After USCIS approves the petition, the K-1 fiancé can apply for the K-1 visa at the U.S. Consulate Office or Embassy abroad. Once the K-1 fiancé obtains the visa, he/she is admitted to the United States for a 90-day period. This period cannot be extended – the fiancé must marry the U.S. citizen petitioner during that period or depart the United States. Failure to abide by the terms of the K-1 visa would constitute a violation of status.
Once the marriage is finalized, the K-1 fiancé may file an adjustment of status application in order to obtain his/her green card. However, please note that the K-1 fiancé’s adjustment of status application is only permissible if it is based upon the marriage contracted within the 90 days allowed under the K-1 visa.
The greatest advantage of the K-1 visa relates to separate children of the principal K-1 fiancé. Unmarried children under 21 may accompany the principal K-1 fiancé to the United States as derivative beneficiaries in K-2 status. The child may also follow-to-join the K parent after the parent has already traveled to the United States, and the child may seek admission into the United States only after the K parent has first been admitted.
The seasoned attorneys at SKT can help you select the best visa option and guide you through the K-1.
Give us a call to schedule a free consultation with one of our seasoned immigration attorneys. (877)877-1-LAW
Nothing in this blog post is intended as legal advice. Your situation is fact dependent, and you should consult with an attorney. Opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and not of SKT or its partners.
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An F-1 student visa allows a student to study full-time in the United States (“U.S.”) at an accredited school. The F-1 student visa is a non-immigrant visa, which means that the student cannot have the intent to reside permanently in the U.S. The basic criteria for obtaining an F-1 student visa are as follows:
- The student must be enrolled at an accredited college, university, seminary, conservatory, high school, or language training program. The program must result in a degree, diploma, or certificate.
- The school must be authorized by the U.S. government to accept international students.
- You must be a full-time student.
- You must be proficient in English or receive training to become proficient in English.
- You must have sufficient financial support to support yourself as a student.
- You must maintain a foreign resident abroad with no intention of abandoning it.
Students are generally admitted for a maximum of 30 days before the program start date. Upon admission to the United States, students are admitted for “duration of status,” which means they are admitted until completion of the program plus an additional 60 days. The additional 60 days can be used to prepare for departing the U.S., transferring to another school, or changing education levels.
As an F-1 student, employment is not allowed during the first academic year except for on-campus employment. On-campus employment includes work performed on school premises or at an off-campus location which is educationally affiliated with the school. When school is in session, the F-1 student may only work up to 20 hours a week. When school is not in session, F-1 students may work full-time.
After the first academic year, the F-1 student may obtain off-campus employment under certain circumstances, including severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances. Additionally, the employment must be related to a course of study, for the purpose of practical training, and cannot be for English training.
Most F-1 students engage in post-completion Optional Practical Training (“OPT”), which is limited to 12 months and must be completed within 14 months of graduation. F-1 students who have a degree in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) may engage in 24 months of OPT.
Want to apply?
Understanding F-1 student visa and employment eligibility can be lengthy and frustrating without the help of experienced attorneys and staff. Our seasoned team can assist and guide you through the F-1 student visa process.
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Nothing in this blog post is intended as legal advice. Your situation is fact dependent, and you should consult with an attorney. Opinions expressed are those of the author and not of SKT Law or it’s partners.Read More
Foreign nationals can acquire visas by expanding their business to the United States. The L-1 visa enables United States employers to transfer existing executives, managers, or employees with specialized knowledge from an affiliated foreign office to an office in the United States. Alternatively, the foreign company can send an executive or manager to the United States to set up a new office or company.
There are two types of L-1 visas: L-1A visa pertains to executives or managers, who will oversee the business and daily operations of the United States company; L-1B visa pertains to professional employees with specialized knowledge of the product, services, or process of the foreign company.
Beneficiaries of approved L-1 petitions can bring their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to the United States for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay. In addition, authorized spouses may work in the United States.
To begin the process, the United States company must file a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The petition must demonstrate that the following requirements are met:
1. Qualifying relationship between the U.S. company and company abroad;
2. U.S. company and company abroad will be doing business;
3. L-1 Transferee has worked for the foreign company for at least 1 of the 3 preceding years before the filing of the petition;
4. L-1 Transferee’s employment overseas was in an executive, managerial or specialized knowledge capacity;
5. Employment in the U.S. will be in an executive, managerial or specialized knowledge capacity;
6. L-1 Transferee is qualified for the job;
7. Employment in the U.S. is temporary.
The maximum length of stay for managers or executives with L-1A visas is 7 years, whereas the maximum length of stay for specialized knowledge employees with L-1B visas is 5 years.
The L visa is a popular option for foreign nationals seeking to relocate to the United States due to its many advantages and potential pathway to permanent residence. As dual-intent is allowed for L visas, L visa holders can file for a green card in the United States without potentially jeopardizing their visa status. Additionally, there is no annual cap on the number of L-1 visas available each year so there is no wait time. This advantageous visa option allows the L-1 Transferee’s family to obtain L-2 visas, where the spouse and children can lawfully work and attend school in the U.S.
Many people do not know that they can obtain a green card within 2 years by simply investing money. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program was created in 1990 to stimulate the economy through capital investment by foreign investors and job creation. For many countries, including the Philippines, Vietnam, and Mexico, the EB-5 program is a great option because there are currently no wait times.
Overview of the EB-5 program
Under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, foreign investors can apply for green cards through investment in an existing or new business in the United States and creation of 10 permanent, full-time jobs. An investor can passively invest in a pre-approved regional center (often a large hotel or resort) or directly participate in the operation of a business. The spouse and unmarried children under 21 of the investor are also eligible for green cards through the investor’s investment. Once approved, the investor and his family will receive conditional two-year green cards, which can later be converted to a full-fledged green card.
The EB-5 program has the following basic requirements:
* Minimum capital investment of $500,000;
* Creation of at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers;
* Source of EB-5 investment must originate from lawful sources; and
* Investment must be at-risk.
EB-5 Processing Timeline
The process starts with filing a petition with the USCIS to demonstrate that an eligible investment amount from a lawful source has been invested into a business in the United States. Currently, USCIS is taking approximately 16 months to adjudicate the petition. For foreign nationals with no wait time, once the petition is approved, they can immediately begin the process to obtain their two-year conditional green card, which takes approximately 6 months. 90 days before the two-conditional green card expires, the EB-5 investor and his family can file for removal of conditions in order to obtain a full-fledged green card. Each of these steps is complicated, requires extensive paperwork, and necessitates the guidance of an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney.
Given the lengthy backlogs of other green card categories, an EB-5 visa is a good alternative. There is currently no wait time for EB-5s for many foreign nationals, and through an EB-5 investment, the investor can apply for green cards for himself, his spouse, and unmarried children under the age of 21. As a green card holder, you are considered a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., which allows you to lawfully reside in the U.S., work in the U.S., and travel internationally with your green card.Read More