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Understanding the H-1B Visa

Interested in hiring a foreign professional? Or maybe you are a foreign professional that a U.S. company wants to bring over to work. If either of these are the case, then the H-1B Visa may be right for you. Because there are very specific requirements for the H-1B, read on to make sure that you meet the basics before spending a lot of time and energy courting a relationship with a U.S. Company or foreign professional with any Visa intentions. It’s all about Relationships

The big requirement up front is that there must be a valid employer-employee relationship. In general terms, the U.S. Government wants to know if a U.S. company is actually going to put this foreign professional to work and pay him or her. In specific terms, the employer must (1) engage the employee to work; (2) have the ability to hire, pay, fire, supervise, and control the work performed; and of course, (3) the employer has to have an IRS ID number (“death and taxes,” even in immigration). This sounds really easy to meet, but the government kicks back applications all the time because the documentation was not put together in a manner that makes it painfully clear that the employer meets these three areas.

But what if I’m the only shareholder of my own U.S. company? Can I still get an H-1B? The unsatisfactory answer here is--maybe. Again, it all boils down to how strong a showing you can make that the company will have control over the work and the beneficiary (employee). In other words, if you can show that other authority structures (such as a board of directors) within the company would be controlling the terms and conditions of your work, then you might qualify.

That Special Someone

The next big hurdle is that the employee has to be special, and not just because his mother thinks so. The employee must have a bachelor’s degree or higher (Master’s degrees get extra-special treatment, but more on that some other time) in a specialty occupation. What does that mean? Well, if the position is one that could be done by anyone with any kind of bachelor’s degree, then it doesn’t really qualify. To help make determinations about whether a degree is required for a particular position, the government often refers to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), found here. While this is a significant source of information for making determinations, it is not the end all be all. As with the employer-employee relationship requirement, different pieces of documentation and information can be sewn together to demonstrate that a particular position requires particular education.

Can I qualify without a bachelor’s? Again, maybe. If you have a special certification or license that is relevant to the specialty occupation, or if you have the equivalent amount of education required by a U.S. bachelor’s or high degree, then you may qualify. The government even considers (generally) 3 years of work experience as being equivalent to 1 year of college.

How Much is Enough?

Finally, the last basic requirement is getting paid. The employer must pay the foreign professional the “actual or prevailing wage” for the occupation, whichever is higher. This is determined on a number of factors, including the kind of work, and even where the employee is located. In other words, the pay must match what other people are doing for that kind work, taking into consideration things like location and experience. For example, the prevailing wage for an advanced programmer may be very different in California’s Silicon Valley than it is in California’s Death Valley (if indeed there are any programmer’s in Death Valley).

An attorney can help you or your prospective employee navigate each of these areas to make sure that you are properly aligning yourself with the H-1B’s requirements. If you are an employer or employee interested in the H-1B visa process, contact our office for assistance.

The Importance of Hiring a Good Negotiator / La Importancia De Saber Negociar

 

By Autumn Byas, Gorman Law Firm Paralegal Intern.

When you think of qualities a good attorney will have, what do you think of?  Personally, I think of a good attorney as someone who will have the following qualities:

  • Professionalism
  • Good work ethics
  • Educated
  • A good negotiator

I am writing specifically about why attorneys need to be good negotiators in this blog.  This skill is one of the most essential qualities an attorney needs in order to be good at his or her job.  It is common to see majority of cases settled out of court.  According to some statistics about 95 percent of pending lawsuits end in a pre-trial settlement.  (Hirby, James “What Percentage of Lawsuits settle before trial? What are some statistics on personal injury settlements?” The Law Dictionary and Blacks Law Dictionary Free 2nd Ed.  3/13/2015.).  These staggering statistics means that, for majority of attorneys, their job is mainly composed of preparing and negotiating with the opposing side. http://thelawdictionary.org/article/what-percentage-of-lawsuits-settle-before-trial-what-are-some-statistics-on-personal-injury-settlements/

However, to say that 95 percent of lawsuits are settled out of court it can be misleading.  “Casual conventional wisdom often has it that about 95 percent of cases settle. This may be an extrapolation from H. Laurence Ross’s finding that 95.8 percent of automobile accident insurance claims settled. However, 95 percent is an unrealistic settlement rate for disputes leading to case filings in the United States.” (Eisenberg, Theodore and Charlotte Lanvers. “What is the Settlement Rate and Why Should We Care?” Journal of Empirical Legal Sudies. 2009. VOL. 6 issue 1. Pages 111-146. Printed.). http://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1202&context=facpub

Even though there may be disputes on the actual percentage of  cases that settle before going to trial, one thing is clear.  People involved in a litigation dispute should seek out help from an experienced attorney who is good at negotiating.  The Gorman Law Firm has experienced negotiators who will fight for their client’s rights.    “Settlement is not only the modal litigation outcome, it is also the most common successful outcome for plaintiffs, far exceeding the number of successes at trial.” (Eisenberg, Theodore and Charlotte Lanvers. “What is the Settlement Rate and Why Should We Care?” Journal of Empirical Legal Sudies. 2009. VOL. 6 issue 1. Pages 111-146. Printed.) http://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1202&context=facpub

Because negotiating is such an important part of being an attorney it is important for attorneys to know what makes an good negotiator.  An article in The Young Lawyer entitled Secrets to Advanced Negotiating gives three suggestions to help attorneys become better negotiators:

  • “Stop acting like a show off." In other words you should be friendly. The person you are negotiating with now you might have to work with later on in your career as well.
  • "Shut up and listen." In other words you should listen more and talk less. (you get more information that way as well.)
  • "Just say yes.” In other words, while negotiating, you should focus more on where you agree and not on your differences.

(Black, Keith. (Winter 2015).  Secrets to Advanced Negotiating.  The Young Lawyers Division/American Bar Association.  Volume 19 issue 02.  Pages 10-11. )

According to the article, Secrets to Advanced Negotiating, “A successful negotiation should leave both sides feeling good (or at least not so bad, depending on the circumstances)."The article further advised to “treat every interaction with another attorney as if you were being interviewed for a job.”   (Black, Keith. (Winter 2015).  Secrets to Advanced Negotiating.  The Young Lawyers Division/American Bar Association.  Volume 19 issue 02.  Pages 10-11. ). You can use this advice with pretty much any job you have, or with any interaction with people.  It is impossible to get along with everyone you meet but if you treat individuals respectfully they are more inclined to listen and negotiate with you.

Who would you consider a great negotiator in history?  It can be beneficial to look at individuals in history who were able to get many people to listen to them.  By looking at how they treated people, and how they got people to listen to them, it can help you figure out how you need to talk to people to get them to negotiate in a fair and just way.  Some great negotiators in history have been Jesus Christ and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The following verse is an example of how Jesus was able to deal with difficult people trying to harm him.

Matthew 22:15-22 (NIV)

Paying the Imperial Tax to Caesar

15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax[a] to Caesar or not?”

18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

It is easy to see that Jesus was a good negotiator.  The individuals who initially meant to harm Jesus ended up leaving in amazement.  As Jesus walked to earth he listened to the people. Listening is an important part in negotiating.

Martin Luther King Jr. was another individual who was very good at speaking to individuals.  He got people to his side, his “dream”, just by being himself.  He used non violent forms of protest to help bring much needed change to the U.S.  He once stated "Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service".

A good negotiator should have experience in getting from point A to point B as well as having the ability to be able to see the different outcomes that could arise throughout the negotiations.  Good negotiators also have reputations for honesty, reasonableness, and reliability.  Having good communication with clients is important so that there are no surprises.  If you are in need of a good negotiator in a Family Law case then please check out the Gorman Law Firm website.  The attorneys at the Gorman Law Firm will handle your case professionally and help you through the entire process.  The Gorman Law Firm fights for their clients rights.

CONTACT OUR FIRM

If you are currently facing a family law related issue, contact Gorman Law Firm, PLLC. Our office can be reached by phone at 800-583-6602 or by completing our online contact form. Our office is open normal business hours during the week, but we provide office hours on Saturday and are available around the clock through our website. We accept all major credit cards as payment and offer services in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

 

A Look At Divorce

By Autumn Byas, Gorman Law Firm Paralegal Intern             Divorcing a spouse is one of the most stressful and tragic things that can happen to a family.  Whether it is only affecting the couple who once was in love, or a couple who has a child(ren), a divorce is an extremely stressful situation for anyone in the family to be in.  If you are seeking information about divorcing a spouse in North Carolina it is a good idea to start educating yourself on the laws surrounding divorce in our state.  They can be found here:  http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/Statutes/StatutesTOC.pl?Chapter=0050.  Chapter 50 of the North Carolina General Statutes outlines the laws surrounding a divorce proceeding, and also about custody and alimony matters.  The Chapter has 100 sections and is filled with a lot of information; therefore, it is wise to seek out help from an attorney who is experienced in divorce law.  Gorman Law Firm is experienced in handling these sensitive issues.

            Why do people get divorced?  There are numerous reasons as to why.   A blog posted by  Divorce Source News & Information entitled “Problems that can wreck a marriage” goes into some of these reasons. (Divorce Source Editorial Staff. “Problems that can wreck a marriage.” Web blog post. Divorce Source news and information. Divorce Source, Inc., 2 May. 2014. Web. 4 Mar. 2015.)  Marriage infidelity is one major cause of a broken marriage. Infidelity is defined as “1) Lack of belief in a religion 2) A: unfaithfulness to a moral obligation: disloyalty B: Marital unfaithfulness or an instance of it.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary online. March 2015).  A collaborative divorce coach, psychotherapist, author and parent, Micki McWade stated “marital infidelity is a symptom of underlying issues in the relationship.” Read the entire article at the following website:  http://www.divorcesource.com/blog/problems-that-can-wreck-a-marriage/  (Divorce Source Editorial Staff. “Problems that can wreck a marriage.” Web blog post. Divorce Source news and information. Divorce Source, Inc., 2 May. 2014. Web. 4 Mar. 2015.)

In the article, Problems that can wreck a marriage, McWade discusses four problems that can destroy a marriage:

 “Partners cease to be partners: The marital dynamic withers when one partner becomes the parent of the other who is “immature, irresponsible, untrustworthy or selfish.” The parent partner tires of this routine, sexual attraction fades, and in time he or she detaches from the marriage. “Once the emotional break has happened, marriage counseling is far less effective. It takes two to keep a marriage alive. A marriage counselor can’t manufacture connection. We can enhance it, but we can’t create it.”

 Failure to resolve problems: Resentment builds and erodes a marriage when spouses bicker and needle one another because they cannot resolve difficulties to each other’s mutual satisfaction. In a marriage, discussion and compromise that solves a problem is “much more important than being right.”

 Narcissism: Excessive self-love can choke a marriage because in time   one or both partners cannot empathize with and support the other. For example, if one spouse carries the financial weight and the other nurtures the children at home, each may not understand the other’s contribution. Both think the other has it easier, and neither feels understood. In time this regime feeds on itself and kills intimacy.

 Addiction: Marriage to an addict challenges and overwhelms even the most devoted partner. The addict appears functional outside the home but privately, he or she becomes a slave to alcohol or drugs which only serves to intensify the demand for them.  For the addict, the focus of life becomes their drug of choice – rather than on the marriage and family. Alcoholism has been called “narcissism in a bottle.” The partner becomes angry and embarrassed and though he or she often tries to keep it together for a while, and even a long time if there are children, eventually, when there’s no recovery, the addict’s partner will ultimately give up. Once that happens, there is little chance to save the marriage. It’s like trying to revive the dead.” (Divorce Source Editorial Staff. “Problems that can wreck a marriage.” Web blog post. Divorce Source news and information. Divorce Source, Inc., 2 May. 2014. Web. 4 Mar. 2015.)

 Seeking help from a professional is important if it has come to the point where there is no spark and no willingness to work things out.  If possible, a marriage that can be saved should be saved.  “Marriage should be honored by all”  (New International Version Hebrews 13:4)  A marriage is a very important contract you make with another individual; however, if it cannot be saved the Gorman Law Firm can help make the process as painless as possible.  In North Carolina, you must be separated from your spouse for at least a year before you can file for absolute divorce (see chapter 50 in the North Carolina General Statutes).

            Children of a divorcing or separating couple should be especially thought of during this difficult time.  When parents separate their child(ren) are divided into two new separate families for the rest of their lives.  If parents cannot come to an agreement on custody arrangements then a judge will have to determine what is best for the child(ren).  In North Carolina, judges may review a number of factors before determining the best custody arrangement for the child if parents cannot agree.  Some of the issues a North Carolina Judge may consider include the following:

 

  • “the child's wishes or preferences provided that he or she is mature enough to make such claims;
  • the child's safety, education plan, religious training, and other needs and the parents' ability to provide such needs;
  • the child's relationship with his/her parents, siblings, and other family members;
  • the nature of the relationship between the parents;
  • the parents' work schedules, availability, distance, parenting skills, and financial capability;
  • any history of domestic violence, child abuse, negligence, or substance abuse;
  • the safety of the other parent in situations involving domestic violence;
  • the mental or physical health of the parties involved in the proceedings.”

(North Carolina Child Custody. “Child Custody in North Carolina.” Web blog post. Divorce Source news and information. Divorce Source, Inc., Web. 6 Mar. 2015.)

The Web site this information can be found at is:

 (http://www.divorcesource.com/ds/northcarolina/north-carolina-child-custody-4985.shtml)

If you are thinking about getting a divorce and there are child(ren) involved then contact someone who is experienced in custody matters.  What is more important the wellbeing of a child that you brought into this world?  Gorman Law Firm is experienced in custody matters.  You can find their contact information at: http://www.gormanlawpractice.com/Contact.shtml.

A child can be emotionally scarred from a parents’ divorce.  The February 2015 issue of the American Bar Association Journal article entitled “Soothing the Split” highlighted numerous studies which showed children whose parents divorce may be affected in the following ways:  They are less likely to graduate from high school, twice as likely to be prescribed Ritalin, and they are more likely to smoke, and they’re more likely to end up divorced themselves.  Because of a child’s emotional turmoil during a divorce, parents must be understanding and aware of their child’s needs. (Filisko, G.M. "Soothing the Split." ABA Journal 101.2 (2015): 48-55. Print.)

A 2013 study done in Greece evaluated children who came from a home with both parents and children who came from a home with a single parent.  According to the findings of this research, the children who came from a single parent family appeared to have significantly more behavioral problems than children who still lived with both parents.  (Babalis, Thomas, Konstantina Tsoli, Vassilis Nikolopoulos, and Panagiotis Maniatis. "The Effect of Divorce on School Performance and Behavior in Preschool Chrildren in Greece: An Empirical Study of Teachers' Views." Psychology 5.1 (2014): 20-26. Print.)

Alternative ways of resolving disputes in a divorce or separating proceeding have been created.  In the above mentioned ABA Journal article, “Soothing the Split”, the author points out how some people in Denver Colorado saw the need of an alternative way of resolving difficult issues in a divorce or separation.  (Filisko, G.M. "Soothing the Split." ABA Journal 101.2 (2015): 48-55. Print.).  These individuals created a program called “Resource Center for Separating and Divorcing Families.” The creators of this program saw it could be more beneficial resolving issues outside of a court setting than going to a court house.  The article also points out how difficult a divorce can be on the entire family, and how the court system can be intimidating. .  (Filisko, G.M. "Soothing the Split." ABA Journal 101.2 (2015): 48-55. Print.)

The University of Denver launched the program, Resource Center for Separating and Divorcing Families, in 2013.  This program is a multidisciplinary, nonadversarial pilot program that allows divorcing and separating families to receive counseling on the legal and psychological aspects of dissolution by interns from the school’s graduate psychology and social work programs, along with its law school.  This program helps family’s deal with a divorce in an open and non intimidating setting.  Once a family is admitted into the program there are support groups available for everyone.   The support groups are segregated by gender and age, with men’s and women’s adult groups and three age levels of children’s groups. (Filisko, G.M. "Soothing the Split." ABA Journal 101.2 (2015): 48-55. Print.)

 

The Resource Center for Separating and Divorcing Families program started with 100 families in its first year and another 100 in the 2014-15 academic year.  When a couple separates or divorces it affects not only them but the child(ren) they had during the marriage; therefore,  the counseling this program offers for the entire family is beneficial.  In my opinion, I believe programs that are geared towards helping the whole family get through a separation or divorce would ultimately have its advantages in the long run.  A couple may even find that their marriage can be saved through counseling, or programs like this.  A couple who is accepted into this program may be asked to go to a counseling session in order to keep the process as amicable as possible.  The founders of this program are looking to replicate it at universities and in communities nationwide. (Filisko, G.M. "Soothing the Split." ABA Journal 101.2 (2015): 48-55. Print.)

 

Robert Hyatt is a volunteer for the Resource Center for Separating and Divorcing Families in Denver.   Mr. Hyatt is a former chief judge of the Denver District court and has seen how the court system affects everyone involved in a separation. Mr. Hyatt stated “Here’s what doesn’t work in the family law court…. When people go to court and judges take the bench, it’s litigation with all the acrimony and anger that accompanies litigation.  I asked myself over the course of years:  Is this really the right venue for the bulk of people getting a divorce who just need a plan to co-parent their kids?” (Filisko, G.M. "Soothing the Split." ABA Journal 101.2 (2015): 48-55. Print.)

 

The Resource Center for Separating and Divorcing Families in Denver has its fans and its critics. The program has been beneficial for many families taking advantage of it.  Jonathan Terbush, a participant in this program, estimates that he and his now ex-wife paid around $700.00 for all the center’s services.  Dr. Steven Singer, another participant, stated in the article that he and his ex-wife spent less than $3000.00.  Both those participants in the program had a good experience and when you consider how expensive court costs and attorney fees can be this was a great way to keep the costs down.  The program also gives counseling options for divorcing couples, and their child(ren), as well as support groups they can join. This is a great resource for divorcing couples in Denver Colorado. (Filisko, G.M. "Soothing the Split." ABA Journal 101.2 (2015): 48-55. Print.)

 

Some of the criticisms of the program are:

 

  1. Support groups didn’t always have enough participants to provide maximum benefit to families.
  2. Some of the mental health students were too inexperienced to be of much help.
  3. Concerns about domestic violence victims getting intothe program inadvertently and becoming
  4. Participants not knowing their legal rights.

 

In the article it points out things that challenge these criticisms:

 

  1. More families are participating in theprogram and the support groups now that more people know about it.
  2. Participants have an understanding that the students working with them arenot graduated professionals yet.
  3. There is a good screening process to make sure only eligible participants are accepted into the program.
  4. Today more people are representing themselves in family law cases. (Filisko, G.M. "Soothing the Split." ABA Journal 2 (2015): 48-55. Print.)

 

North Carolina may not have this specific program in the area for people who are divorcing or separating but it never hurts to get a consultation from a legal professional, such as an experienced attorney at the Gorman Law Firm.

 

The Gorman Law Firm, located in Charlotte NC, recognizes the importance of family.  The family law team is headed by licensed North Carolina Attorney Emily Edwards.  Emily is “dedicated to serving the needs of Charlotte and surrounding communities with a holistic approach to family related issues. The Gorman Law Firm strives to provide empathetic, efficient, zealous, and cost effective representation regarding: 

  • Divorce and Separation Agreements
  • Child Custody Agreements and Modifications
  • Child Support
  • Termination of Parental Rights
  • Temporary and Permanent Spousal Support
  • Property Division
  • Guardianship
  • Domestic Violence Protective Orders
  • Adoption (COMING SOON!)”

 If you are looking for guidance from an experienced attorney regarding Family Law call Emily Edwards for a consultation.

http://www.gormanlawpractice.com/Practice-Areas/Family-Law.shtml

Divorce and Custody Resources:

Child Custody Issues:

http://www.divorcesource.com/ds/northcarolina/an-in-depth-discussion-of-child-custody-3134.shtml

http://www.divorcesource.com/ds/northcarolina/quick-facts-on-child-custody-3135.shtml

http://www.divorcesource.com/ds/northcarolina/north-carolina-child-custody-4985.shtml

 

Statute:

http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/Statutes/StatutesTOC.pl?Chapter=0050

 Alimony:

http://www.divorcesource.com/ds/northcarolina/north-carolina-alimony-4845.shtml

 

Divorce rates:

http://www.divorcesource.com/ds/main/u-s-divorce-rates-and-statistics-1037.shtml

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/02/divorce-rate-declining- n 6256956.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/02/upshot/the-divorce-surge-is-over-but-the-myth-lives-on.html?r=1&abt=0002&abg=1

 Marriage:

http://www.divorcesource.com/blog/problems-that-can-wreck-a-marriage/

 

CONTACT OUR FIRM

If you are currently facing a family law related issue, contact Gorman Law Firm, PLLC. Our office can be reached by phone at 800-583-6602 or by completing our online contact form. Our office is open normal business hours during the week, but we provide office hours on Saturday and are available around the clock through our website. We accept all major credit cards as payment and offer services in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Freedom From Fear

After living in the United States illegally for so many years, a cautious life becomes a normal life. It becomes normal to stay in the same job for as long as you can keep it, no matter what the conditions are, because the risk of finding another job without a Social Security card or with a fake number is too high. It becomes normal to drive only when necessary because one traffic stop, one wrong answer to a police officer, could destroy the life you created here. However, President Obama has recognized that this sense of normalcy is false, unfair, and goes against the ideals this country was founded on. On November 20, 2014, President Obama’s Executive Order considered three important aspects of immigration in the United States. First, he has affirmed that additional resources for law enforcement personnel will be provided at the boarder. Second, it will be easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to the United States economy. Third, and most importantly, the United States will take steps to deal responsibly with the millions of undocumented immigrants who already live in our country. The goal of the order is to keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to national security. “To focus on felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who’s working hard to provide for her kids.”

To be clear, the executive order does not grant citizenship or permanent residency; it does not apply to anyone who has come into this country illegally recently; and it does not apply to anyone who might come to American illegally in the future. It is a temporary excuse from deportation and gives the people an opportunity to get their immigration status corrected. There are five different categories that people must fall into in order for the Executive Order to apply to them:

1. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program
Who •    Current DACA recipients seeking renewal and new applicants, including individuals born prior to June 15, 1981, who meet all other DACA guidelines.
What •    Allows individuals born prior to June 15, 1981, to apply for DACA (removing the upper age restriction) provided they meet all other guidelines.

•    Requires continuous residence in the United States since January 1, 2010, rather than the prior requirement of June 15, 2007.

•    Extends the deferred action period and employment authorization to three years from the current two years.

When •    Approximately 90 days following the President’s November 20, 2014, announcement.
How •    Go to the Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) page for instructions which will be updated over the next several months. Subscribe to this page to receive updates by email.
2. Deferred action for parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents
Who •    An undocumented individual living in the United States who, on the date of the announcement, is the parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and who meets the guidelines listed below.
What •    Allows parents to request deferred action and employment authorization if they:

•                      Have continuous residence in the United States since January 1, 2010;

•                      Are the parents of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident born on or before November 20, 2014; and

•                      Are not an enforcement priority for removal from the United States, pursuant to the November 20, 2014, Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants Memorandum.

Notes: USCIS will consider each request for Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) on a case-by-case basis. Enforcement priorities include (but are not limited to) national security and public safety threats.

When •    Approximately 180 days following the President’s November 20, 2014, announcement.
How •    Subscribe to this page to receive updates by email.
3. Provisional waivers of unlawful presence
Who •    Undocumented individuals who have resided unlawfully in the United States for at least 180 days and who are:

◦                      The sons and daughters of U.S. citizens; and

◦                      The spouse and sons or daughters of lawful permanent residents.

What •    Expands the provisional waiver program announced in 2013 by allowing the spouses, sons or daughters of lawful permanent residents and sons and daughters of U.S. citizens to get a waiver if a visa is available. There may be instances when the qualifying relative is not the petitioner.

•    Clarifies the meaning of the “extreme hardship” standard that must be met to obtain a waiver.

When •    Upon issuing of new guidelines and regulations.
How •    Subscribe to this page to receive updates by email.
4. Modernize, improve and clarify immigrant and nonimmigrant programs to grow our economy and create jobs
Who •    U.S. businesses, foreign investors, researchers, inventors and skilled foreign workers.
What USCIS will:

•    Work with the Department of State to develop a method to allocate immigrant visas to ensure that all immigrant visas authorized by Congress are issued to eligible individuals when there is sufficient demand for such visas.

•    Work with the Department of State to modify the Visa Bulletin system to more simply and reliably make determinations of visa availability.

•    Provide clarity on adjustment portability to remove unnecessary restrictions on natural career progression and general job mobility to provide relief to workers facing lengthy adjustment delays.

•    Clarify the standard by which a national interest waiver may be granted to foreign inventors, researchers and founders of start-up enterprises to benefit the U.S economy.

•    Authorize parole, on a case-by-case basis, to eligible inventors, researchers and founders of start-up enterprises who may not yet qualify for a national interest waiver, but who:

◦                      Have been awarded substantial U.S. investor financing; or

◦                      Otherwise hold the promise of innovation and job creation through the development of new technologies or the pursuit of cutting-edge research.

•    Finalize a rule to provide work authorization to the spouses of certain H-1B visa holders who are on the path to lawful permanent resident status.

•    Work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to develop regulations for notice and comment to expand and extend the use of optional practical training (OPT) for foreign students, consistent with existing law.

•    Provide clear, consolidated guidance on the meaning of “specialized knowledge” to bring greater clarity and integrity to the L-1B program, improve consistency in adjudications, and enhance companies’ confidence in the program.

When •    Upon issuing necessary guidance and regulations.
How •    Subscribe to this page to receive updates by email.
5. Promote the naturalization process
Who •    Lawful permanent residents eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship
What •    Promote citizenship education and public awareness for lawful permanent residents.

•    Allow naturalization applicants to use credit cards to pay the application fee.

•    Assess potential for partial fee waivers in the next biennial fee study.

•                Notes: Go to the U.S. Citizenship page to learn about the naturalization process and visit the Citizenship Resource Center to find naturalization test preparation resources. You can also visit the N-400, Application for Naturalization, page.

When •    During 2015
How •    Subscribe to this page to receive updates by email.

Information from: http://www.uscis.gov/immigrationaction

All who fall into the above categories must be in good standing with the law and must not have a criminal record or ties to terrorism. Additionally, they will not have access to social welfare or any other form of government assistance. Thus, if you register, you must pass a criminal background check and must be willing to pay your fair share of taxes in order “to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation.”

We the [Illegal Immigrants] of the United States: Constitutional Rights Extended to Illegal Immigrants

Under the United States Constitution, “We the People of the United States” have been conferred fundamental, unalienable rights. Some people believe that “we the people” only refers to legal citizens of the United States; however, the Supreme Court has consistently disagreed. Although the term “illegal immigrant” does not appear in the Constitution, some of its rights and freedoms apply to illegal immigrants even though they are strictly prohibited from voting and possessing a firearm. The Supreme Court has rejected the argument that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is limited to U.S. citizens. The Court concluded that “an alien, who has entered the country, and has become subject in all respects to its jurisdiction, and a part of its population, although alleged to be illegally here” is entitled to equal protection of the laws. Yick Wo. V. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 (1886). Thus, regardless of the citizenship status of an immigrant and whether or not they are lawfully present in the United States, they are entitled to equal protection under the laws of the United States.

Moreover, the Court has settled that the Fifth and Sixth Amendments apply to all people, including illegal immigrants. The Court stated, “ . . . it must be concluded that all persons within the territory of the United States are entitled to the protection guaranteed by those amendments, and that even aliens shall not be held to answer for a capital or other infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” Wong Wing v. United States, 163 U.S. 228 (1896). Therefore, regardless of an individual’s immigration status, every person is entitled to due process under the law. Generally, due process means: (1) notice to the person to fully inform the individual of the decision or activity that will have an effect on their rights, and (2) the right to be heard (a trial or hearing). Further, equal protection extends First Amendment protection to everyone covered by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Under the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law [establishing religion] or prohibiting the free exercise [of religion]; or abridging the freedom of speech.”

Equal protection of the laws was further noted and recognized in terms of public education. Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (2005) (the Court struck down a Texas law prohibiting enrollment of illegal aliens in public school). The Supreme Court determined that denial of a public education to illegal immigrants frustrated the purpose and goals of the equal protection clause of the Constitution. The Court stated:

The illegal aliens who are plaintiffs in these cases challenging the statute may claim the benefit of the Equal Protection Clause, which provides that no State shall ‘deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.’ Whatever his status under the immigration laws, an alien is a ‘person’ in any ordinary sense of that term . . . The undocumented status of [the] children [or documented status of the children] does not establish a sufficient rational basis for denying them benefits that the State affords other residents.

The Court concluded that the only way a state may deny illegal immigrants, like the undocumented school-aged children, the free public education it offers to other children residing within the state, is if denial is justified by showing that it furthers some substantial state interest.

"Rocket Docket" for Undocumented Minors

As an influx of undocumented immigrant children enters the U.S., the city of Baltimore is in the spotlight.  Attention on Baltimore results from the way in which they are approaching unaccompanied-minor cases. The city is expediting these cases so rapidly, the approach has garnered the name “Rocket Docket.”  This removal style was applied in response to President Obama’s directive to fast-track these cases. As a result, these minors have roughly 21 days to retain an attorney, which directly relates to an individual’s success in avoiding deportation. According to  the Transnational Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), 47.5 percent of undocumented minors with legal counsel are granted the right to stay in the United States at their removal hearing whereas nine out of 10 children without an attorney are deported.  However, there is no indication from this study how many children out of 10 appear for their hearing if they do not retain an attorney.  A failure to appear for removal proceedings results in an automatic removal “in absentia.”  Despite that unknown statistic, it is important to note that if these undocumented immigrant children do indeed retain an attorney, they are almost certain to appear for their hearing.  It is likely that a “Rocket docket” style removal program is actually reducing the amount of unaccompanied children that end up appearing for their hearings because they have not been afforded time to find an attorney and an opportunity to understand both the legal implications of their entry and legal protections available to them.

When weighing public support of this tactic directed by the president, roughly half of Americans support the speeding up of removal in these types of cases, 47% Democrats support while 60% of Republicans support the measures.  It is unlikely, however, that both party members in support of this rapid process have taken into account that “Rocket Docket” removal actually discourages minors from appearing for their cases altogether, a situation that does not seem to solve any problems that the rocket docket style attempts to address.  This style of removal serves no purpose but to appear as if the influx problem is being dealt with, but in reality the problem is being swept under the rug.

Expedited Removal for Unaccompanied Children

Yesterday, President Obama addressed two immigration issues plaguing the nation.  First, to address the influx of unaccompanied children fleeing Central American countries, President Obama requested that Congress give him more authority to send these children back to their home countries under the Nation’s expedited removal program.  Ordinarily, expedited removal is reserved for “arriving aliens” (people who are attempting to enter the United States at a border or other lawful entry point and people who recently entered the United States unlawfully). They may be placed into expedited removal proceedings, but before issuing an expedited removal order, an immigration officer must determine that the person is inadmissible to the United States because he or she either:

  • lied or misrepresented a material fact, including falsely claiming U.S. citizenship, in obtaining U.S. entry documents or admission, or
  • does not have a valid entry document (such as a visa or border crosser card) or travel document (such as a passport).

While many people are inadmissible for one of these reasons, most of them will not be subject to expedited removal.  Furthermore, if persons subject to expedited removal seek asylum, they are put in front of a judge and the credibility of fear in returning to their home country is evaluated.  While President Obama’s request to extend expedited removal to children who live in these dangerous countries comes as a shock to immigration specialists and advocates as it conflicts with the fundamental humanitarian principles of both the United States and the United Nations as a whole, it is quite likely that most will seek asylum, making the expedited removal request an empty one due to the mandatory procedures discussed above.

In addition to his Congressional request, President Obama scolded his colleagues regarding their decision not to seek immigration reform this year.  The president, who made immigration reform his flagship issue in his second term, thought that Republicans would comply with his demands in hopes of securing Latino votes in the upcoming election.  However, House Republicans say that President Obama made negotiating nearly impossible due to his executive actions and his inflammatory rhetoric.  House Speaker Boehner describes their decision not to go forward with an immigration bill as a natural reaction to the Obama administration’s decision not to enforce the laws as they currently stand.  Speaker Boehner says that the House refuses to negotiate with an administration that has no respect for the rule of law.  Displeased with Speaker Boehner’s decision and to further express his frustrations, President Obama reiterated the intent to use any executive branch powers he has left to change the immigration legal landscape.

Some say that he will look to extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to an even broader group.  Currently, the program has given a two-year deferment of any action in the realm of immigration to those who do not have status, are pursuing education, and have been continuously present since June 2007, among other requirements.  However, that very act, while an unreliable promise of action yet to come, it deprives those who have legal avenues available from being able to pursue them.  Current law provides ways in which deportation proceedings do not necessarily lead to deportation and give individuals an opportunity to pursue benefits made available by law.  But because President Obama has all but stopped issuing Notices to Appear to those without criminal convictions, those law-abiding individuals are stranded here without any legal remedy.  Congress has sought to address each individual with an individual proceeding.  It is clearly not a perfect program, but until Congress can alter the law to better address current issues that plague the system in a thoughtful and bipartisan manner, the fragmented, temporary program that President Obama is continuing to offer these desperate individuals is unjust to its recipients and constitutionally inappropriate.

Controversy Over Donor's Rights to Parent Reported By New York Times

"Does ‘Sperm Donor’ Mean ‘Dad’?

By BROOKS BARNES- NEW YORK TIMES 

MAY 2, 2014

LOS ANGELES — He is a movie star who shot to fame on a motorcycle in “The Lost Boys.” She is a California massage therapist from a prominent East Coast family. Four years ago, with his sperm, her eggs and the wonder of in vitro fertilization, they produced a child.

From there, the tale gets very, very messy.

For the last two years, Jason Patric and Danielle Schreiber have been waging what has become one of the highest-profile custody fights in the country — one that scrambles a gender stereotype, raises the question of who should be considered a legal parent and challenges state laws that try to bring order to the Wild West of nonanonymous sperm donations.

Played out on cable news, dueling “Today” show appearances, YouTube videos and radio call-in talk shows, this rancorous dispute, which heads back into a California courtroom next Thursday, serves as cautionary tale for any man considering donating sperm to a friend and any woman considering accepting it from one, experts say.

 “The resonance here is enormous because of the increasing number of families being formed today outside of traditional marriage,” said Naomi R. Cahn, a family law professor at George Washington University and the author of “Test Tube Families.” “Single heterosexual women, lesbian couples, men who donate sperm expecting to be part of a child’s life — they had better be paying attention.”

Is this a case about a desperate dad who is being maliciously prevented from seeing his son, as Mr. Patric insists? Or is it about a woman’s right to choose to be a single mother and have that choice protected from interference, as Ms. Schreiber’s lawyers assert? Is it both?

And exactly how did these two end up as the public faces of a complicated debate that exposes America’s increasingly fuzzy definition of what constitutes a family?

Mr. Patric, 47, the grandson of Jackie Gleason and the son of the playwright Jason Miller, was once one of Hollywood’s hottest rising stars. His brooding good looks helped land him coveted roles in films like “After Dark, My Sweet” and “Speed 2: Cruise Control,” as well as romantic partners like Robin Wright, Christy Turlington and Julia Roberts, who famously jetted off to Ireland with him a few days after breaking off her engagement to Kiefer Sutherland, a friend of them both.

His film career cooled in part because he started to demand higher-quality scripts and turned down parts in big commercial movies. (He also developed a taboo-breaking habit of publicly criticizing the Hollywood machine, producers say.) His last movie, “The Outsider,” had a brief theatrical release before going straight to DVD; his two films before that took in less than $30,000 combined at the United States box office. But a Broadway appearance in 2011, in a revival of his father’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “That Championship Season” (performing along with, coincidentally, Mr. Sutherland), was a reminder to many of his formidable acting talent.

Ms. Schreiber, 41, is the daughter of James Schreiber, a well-known Greenwich, Conn., lawyer and investor, and a sister of Zachary Schreiber, the chief executive of PointState Capital, a $5 billion hedge fund. Ms. Schreiber, an American civilization graduate of Brown University who runs a Rolfing massage practice in Los Angeles, met Mr. Patric in 2002 when he went to her as a massage client and the two became a couple, dating off and on for a decade.

She had long wanted to be a mother, according to a family member. But pregnancy attempts with Mr. Patric did not go well. “I even had a surgery to increase our chances,” he said in an interview last week.

They decided in 2009 (at a time when they were not romantically involved but still friendly) to pursue artificial insemination. Ms. Schreiber, who declined an interview request for this article, was keenly familiar with fertility options: Her mother, Linda, had becomea bit of a celebrity in her own right in the 1970s after a regimen of the pregnancy drug Pergonal resulted in quadruplets. (Ms. Schreiber is one of them.)

Along came Gus, named after Ms. Schreiber’s paternal grandfather. The boy’s middle name is Theodore, a nod to Mr. Patric’s family heritage.

The baby eventually helped rekindle a romance between Ms. Schreiber and Mr. Patric, although they never formally moved in together. For the next two years, Mr. Patric said that he played a parental role (“I took him to get circumcised when he was 8 days old”) and that Gus, now 4, referred to him as “Dada” in videos and messages. “Thank you for teaching me to pee in the toilet, watch airplanes, learn Beatles songs. I love you Dada, Gus,” read a card that was written by Ms. Schreiber, given to Mr. Patric and later presented as evidence in court. (A lawyer for Ms. Schreiber contended that Mr. Patric did not attend the circumcision, but did provide a ride because she could not drive after a cesarean section.)

Then, in June 2012, the couple broke up for good. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Patric filed a paternity suit for shared custody. According to both sides, there was legal mediation, during which time Gus continued to see Mr. Patric.

But then, according to court filings, Ms. Schreiber abruptly started to withhold visits. Ms. Schreiber’s lawyer, Fred Heather, said his client saw Mr. Patric as increasingly threatening and hostile. “She was fearful for herself as well as for Gus,” Mr. Heather said — allegations that Ms. Schreiber made in her court case. (She filed for a restraining order, which was granted and is still in effect.) Mr. Patric vigorously disputed that claim, maintaining that Ms. Schreiber’s shift was a legal maneuver, a result of stumbling across a loophole in state sperm-donor laws.

California, like many states, according to Professor Cahn, has conflicting statutes. One provides that any man can establish parentage if he “receives the child into his home and openly holds the child out as his natural child.” But another statute holds that a man who provides his sperm to a doctor for the purpose of inseminating an unmarried friend is “treated as if he were not the natural father” — unless there is a specific written agreement ahead of conception.

Mr. Patric and Ms. Schreiber had no such agreement. And her lawyers say there was nothing cavalier or last minute about it: “Danielle knew about the law before she chose to proceed with a known sperm donation,” Mr. Heather said. “She made a carefully considered judgment.”

Mr. Patric took her to court, holding up “intended parent” forms he signed at the sperm-donor clinic. Ms. Schreiber stood her ground, noting that Mr. Patric had asked that his name not be on the birth certificate. (“It would have thrust Gus into the limelight, and I wanted to protect him,” Mr. Patric said.) As for Gus calling Mr. Patric “Dada,” her lawyers say it doesn’t matter: Ms. Schreiber never intended to keep Mr. Patric’s identity a secret from Gus, but she did intend to prevent Mr. Patric from having any parental rights. (“The lies are stunning,” Mr. Patric said.)

Ms. Schreiber won. A Los Angeles appellate court is scheduled to begin hearing Mr. Patric’s appeal next week.

“The trial court erred in several regards,” said Fred Silberberg, Mr. Patric’s lawyer. “There is a substantial amount of evidence where she indicated him to be the father. She shouldn’t be able to say, ‘Oh, wait, that no longer counts.’ ”

In part because sperm donation is such a secretive trade, there are no reliable statistics on how many men donate to people they know. But anonymous donors represent the vast majority of the more than 30,000 estimated births that result from donated sperm each year. California Cryobank, the nation’s largest sperm bank, said it administers less than 10 samples a month out of more than 2,000 total where the father is known.

But more men and women are choosing a nonanonymous route, experts say, prompted by societal shifts and concerns about the health histories of anonymous donors.

Donation laws, some passed before the widespread use of in vitro fertilization, have increasingly drawn scrutiny. In January, because of a twist in the law, a Kansas man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple he met on Craigslist was ordered to pay child support even though he signed documents waiving parental rights.

California lawmakers last summer considered legislation that was positioned as an attempt to clarify that state’s donor laws. (That bill was ultimately put on ice pending Mr. Patric’s appeal.) A separate bill is now working its way through the California Legislature; it would put into effect standardized donor forms “to reduce subsequent legal confusion involving donors and parents.”

But Mr. Patric maintains that his case as a matter of moral principle has nothing to do with sperm donation. Rather, he sees the case as a matter of “parental alienation,” or when one parent refuses to allow the other to see the child. “This is child abuse,” he said. “When a parent is shut out, the only information is a skewed, perverted narrative — that mommy or daddy doesn’t love you.”

He added: “It’s so emasculating, so totally devastating. He lives 10 minutes away from me, and I haven’t been able to see him in 63 weeks. Do you know how heart wrenching that is?”

Last October, Mr. Patric created Stand Up for Gus, a foundation that has raised more than $200,000, according to a spokeswoman, Mia Rose Wong. Ms. Wong said the money will be funneled to law offices willing to provide pro bono services to low-income clients in similar family-law situations. On April 25, Mr. Patric announced a $100,000 pledge to Levitt Quinn Family Law Center in Los Angeles.

Celebrity supporters have included Mel Gibson, Jon Hamm, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Chelsea Handler, Mr. Sutherland, Nikki Reed, Chris Noth, Sarah Silverman, Chris Rock and Mark Wahlberg.

Ms. Schreiber has tried to block Mr. Patric from using their son’s name on Twitter, Facebook and at fund-raising events in relation to Stand Up for Gus. She has been losing that fight. Last week, a Los Angeles judge denied a restraining order request on the ground that it would violate the actor’s First Amendment rights. (Her lawyer, Mr. Heather, said she does not plan to drop this element of the fight, perhaps pursuing a deceptive fund-raising case.)

Throughout his career, Mr. Patric has been a reluctant celebrity, courting the spotlight only as a publicity tool for his films. So why has he gone so public in this instance, appearing on talk shows like “Katie” and news programs like “20/20” to publicize parental alienation?

“I want to leave a huge trail so Gus will someday know how hard I fought for him,” he said.

But what will Gus someday think of Mr. Patric’s decision to speak abr"asively about Ms. Schreiber? “I don’t say negative things about her,” Mr. Patric said. “I’m not in a public spat with her.”       "

CONTACT OUR FIRM

If you are currently facing a family law related issue, contact Gorman Law Firm, PLLC. Our office can be reached by phone at 800-583-6602 or by completing our online contact form. Our office is open normal business hours during the week, but we provide office hours on Saturday and are available around the clock through our website. We accept all major credit cards as payment and offer services in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

DHS announces renewal process for DACA

As of Thursday morning, the Department of Homeland Security began accepting renewal applications for approved DACA applicants (deferred action for childhood arrivals).  The earliest expiration of DACA is in September 2014, but Secretary Jeh Johnson announced that the process to renew enrollment will begin today.  The Department of Homeland Security will begin adjudicating renewal requests immediately, and although application for renewal is now available, USCIS will continue to accept requests for DACA applicants who have not previously sought access to the program as well. As stated on the Department of Homeland Security website, “DACA is a discretionary determination to defer removal action against an individual. Individuals in DACA will be able to remain in the United States and apply for employment authorization for a period of two years. Individuals who have not requested DACA previously, but meet the criteria established, may also request deferral for the first time. It is important to note that individuals who have not continuously resided in the United States since June 15th 2007 are ineligible for DACA.”

Requirements for a DACA renewal

DACA recipients must continue to meet the initial criteria and these additional guidelines:

  • Did not depart the United States on or after August 15, 2012, without advance parole;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States since they submitted their most recent DACA request that was approved; and
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Please call Gorman Law Firm with your DACA questions at 800-583-6602.

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DHS anuncia proceso de renovación de DACA

A partir de la mañana de este Jueves, el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS, por sus siglas en Inglés) comenzó a aceptar solicitudes de renovación por parte de beneficiarios del programa de Acción Diferida para los Llegados en la Infancia (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals o DACA, por sus siglas en Inglés).  La fecha de vencimiento más próxima en casos de DACA es Septiembre del 2014; sin embargo, el Secretario Jeh Johnson anunció que el proceso de renovaciones ya comenzó, y que el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional comenzará a conceder peticiones de renovación inmediatamente. Aún y cuando las aplicaciones de renovación ya están disponibles, USCIS continuará aceptando, además, peticiones por parte de individuos que previamente no habían procurado acceso al programa DACA.

 

Tal y como fue expresado en el sitio de Internet del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional, “DACA es una vía discrecional de diferir acciones que forzarían la salida de un individuo. Bajo DACA, individuos contarán con la posibilidad de permanecer en los Estados Unidos y solicitar autorización de empleo por un período de dos años. Individuos que no han solicitado DACA previamente, pero que reúnen los criterios establecidos, también pueden solicitar acción diferida por primera vez. Es importante destacar que aquellos individuos que no han residido de manera continua en los Estados Unidos desde Junio 15, 2007 resultan inelegibles para DACA.”

 

Requisitos para Renovación de Acción Diferida DACA

Recipientes de DACA deben continuar cumpliendo con los criterios iniciales y los siguientes lineamientos adicionales:

  • No haber salido de los Estados Unidos en o luego de Agosto 15 del 2012, sin permiso;
  • Haber residido de manera continua en los Estados Unidos desde haber presentado la más reciente petición aprobada de DACA; y
  • No haber sido acusado de cometer felonía o delito grave, delito menos grave de carácter significativo, tres o más delitos menos graves, o representar una amenaza a la seguridad nacional o a la seguridad pública.

Por favor, llame a Gorman Law Firm con sus preguntas acerca de DACA. 800-583-6602

Bar the 3-and-10-year Bar?

In what appears to be one of few fruitful recommendations to come out of either political party’s immigration rhetoric, the 3-and-10-year bar may be on the chopping block.  As of the end of last week, the Washington Times indicated that Rep. Labrador (R-Idaho) suggested a compromise with Democrats to ease the harsh punishment to immigrants who have accumulated unlawful presence in the United States.  Under the current law, undocumented immigrants who entered without inspection and have since accumulated unlawful time in the U.S. suffer a penalty if that accumulation of time exceeds either six months or reaches one year.  This provision affects roughly 25% of undocumented immigrants.  It has hindered those with lawful means of immigration from seeking such statuses without accomplishing its intention which was deterrence of unlawful immigration.  

In negotiation, Rep. Labrador has indicated that in conjunction with easing the punishment for immigration violators, he and other Republicans seek to extend more lawful immigration benefits in the form of visas to non-immigrant students.  This offer comes by way of the Heritage Foundation, “a research and educational institution whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.”  House Republicans met at a Heritage Foundation forum to discuss immigration, a topic which has become quite controversial for the GOP in recent years.

 

But according to the Washington Times, Mr. Labrador’s proposal didn’t impress those who it referred to as “immigration advocates.”  These “advocates” say “they will only accept a broad reform package that covers all parts of the immigration debate.” Democrats want a monolithic bill that addresses all immigration grievances at once at the expense of any progress.  However, in effect, repealing the “3-and-10-year bar” to immigration will address both past and present hurdles that many current and future immigrants face.  It will remove the bar to entry on those individuals who are present in the U.S. and have lawful means of immigration but have remained here without seeking the benefit for fear of that bar upon departure.  Currently, these individuals can leave and only reenter upon receipt of their available visas immediately if the immigrant’s U.S. citizen family member has an extreme hardship.  Otherwise, he or she will endure a lengthy, and in the case of the 10-year bar, unbearable wait period.

 

By offering to eliminate this bar, which was created to deter unlawful presence, Republican representatives seek to encourage future legal immigration by increasing the grant of green cards to “foreigners who graduate from American universities with advanced degrees in the fields of science, engineering, math or technology.” In effect, this suggestion by Republicans seeks to enable businesses the ability offer jobs related to the course of study of non-immigrant students in the U.S.  This strategy would address the negative repercussions of the 3-and-10-year bar on affected individuals, families, and the businesses that currently employ them while simultaneously encouraging those who would like to work here legally and the businesses who seek to employ them in the future.

 

Regardless of any forthcoming immigration legislation, it is concerning that the Washington Times describes “immigration advocates” as only those representatives who support an omnibus bill and is a fallacy.  Republican Rep. Labrador and Sen. Marco Rubio, specifically, have been loud and indispensable advocates of the American immigrant.  The manner they and others in their party believe is the most beneficial and effective way to address immigration should not be characterized as inapposite to the advocacy of immigration.  Republicans have long been a party for immigration and for amnesty in many cases.  It appears that a majority of the American journalists have left the responsibility for responsible informational gatekeeping to the individual.

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El fin de la prohibición de entrada por 3 y 10 años?

 

En lo que aparenta ser una de las pocas recomendaciones fructíferas en la retórica de inmigración por parte de cualquiera de los partidos, la llamada “prohibición por 3 y 10 años” pudiese ya estar viendo sus últimos días. A finales de la semana pasada, el diario Washington Times indicó que el Representante Labrador (R-Idaho) sugirió un acuerdo con los Demócratas para suavizar la fuerte manera en que se penaliza a inmigrantes que han acumulado tiempo de presencia ilegal en los Estados Unidos. Bajo la ley actual, aquellos inmigrantes indocumentados que ingresen sin pasar por un punto de inspección y hayan acumulado - desde entonces - tiempo ilegal en los Estados Unidos son castigados si el tiempo acumulado excede los seis meses o alcanza el año. Esto lo que ha hecho es impedir que personas que cuentan con mecanismos legales de inmigración procuren conseguir su estatus legal; mas sin embargo, no ha logrado cumplir con su intención original de disuadir la inmigración ilegal en sí.

 

En negociaciones, el Representante Labrador ha indicado que además de simplificar el castigo a aquellos que violan las leyes de inmigración, él y otros Republicanos buscan extender mayores beneficios para la inmigración legal bajo la forma de visas a estudiantes no inmigrantes.  Dicha oferta llega a través de la organización Heritage Foundation, “una institución de investigación y educación cuya misión es formular y promover políticas públicas conservadoras fundamentadas en los principios de libre empresa, gobierno limitado, libertades individuales, valores Americanos tradicionales, y una fuerte defensa nacional.”  Republicanos de la Casa de Representantes estuvieron reunidos en un foro de Heritage Foundation para discutir el tema de inmigración, tópico que se ha convertido en uno de los más controversiales para el GOP en años recientes.

 

Pero de acuerdo con el Washington Times, la propuesta del Sr. Labrador no causó muy buena impresión en aquellos regularmente referidos como “defensores de la inmigración”.  Los llamados “defensores” dicen que “sólo aceptarán un paquete de reforma inmigratoria amplio, que incluya todos los aspectos del debate de inmigración.” Los Demócratas quieren un proyecto de ley monolítico que dé respuesta de una sola vez a todos los problemas de inmigración, a costa de cualquier progreso en una u otra área en particular. Sin embargo, el revocar o anular la “prohibición de entrada por 3 y 10 años” en inmigración permitiría salvar obstáculos pasados y presentes que muchos de los actuales y futuros inmigrantes deben enfrentar. Esto removería la prohibición de entrada a aquellos individuos que están presentes en los Estados Unidos y que, aunque cuentan con maneras legales de inmigrar, permanecen aquí sin buscar tal beneficio por temor a ser penalizados una vez que salgan del país. Actualmente, estos individuos pueden salir y reingresar al país tras recibir la visa disponible, pero sólo de forma inmediata si un familiar estadounidense del inmigrante enfrenta una situación de urgencia o adversidad extrema.  De cualquier otro modo, él o ella deberá sobrellevar un largo, y en el caso de la prohibición de entrada por 10 años, insoportable período de espera.

 

Al ofrecer la eliminación de tal prohibición, creada para desincentivar la permanencia ilegal de inmigrantes, los representantes Republicanos buscan incentivar la inmigración legal en el futuro mediante el incremento de tarjetas verdes o “green cards” a “extranjeros que se gradúen de universidades Americanas con estudios avanzados en las áreas de ciencias, ingeniería, matemáticas, o tecnología.” En efecto, esta sugerencia por parte de los Republicanos busca otorgar a empresas la habilidad de ofrecer puestos de trabajo relacionados con estudios cursados por estudiantes no inmigrantes en los Estados Unidos. Esta estrategia permitiría dar respuesta a las repercusiones negativas que la  "prohibición por 3 y 10 años" tiene sobre individuos, familias, y las empresas que actualmente los emplean; además de, simultáneamente, apoyar a aquellos que quisieran trabajar aquí legalmente y a las empresas que buscan emplearlos en el futuro.

 

Cualquiera que sea la legislación que venga en materia de inmigración, resulta preocupante que el Washington Times use el término “defensores de la inmigración” sólo cuando se trata de aquellos representantes que apoyan un proyecto de ley integral, lo cual es una falacia.  Tanto el Representante Labrador como el Senador Marco Rubio, por ejemplo, han sido fuertes voces y defensores indispensables del inmigrante en América. La manera en la cual ellos y otros en su partido creen que es más beneficiosa y efectiva para abordar el tema de inmigración no debería ser caracterizada como inaplicable a la defensa de inmigración. Los Republicanos han sido por mucho tiempo el partido pro inmigración y amnistía en muchos casos. Sin embargo, resulta aparente que una mayoría de los periodistas Americanos han dejado por cuenta del individuo la responsabilidad de filtrar información de manera sensata.

American Bar Association Reports Badmouthing an Ex Can Hurt You In Court

Taken From The American Bar Association:

"Ex-wife gets less in divorce of BigLaw partner because her badmouthing hurt rainmaking, judge says

Posted Apr 9, 2014 10:03 AM CDT By Debra Cassens Weiss,

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A woman who complained her BigLaw husband was too cheap to pay for his daughter’s hearing aids may regret her words after a decision last week by a New York judge considering their divorce case.

Janice Schacter’s complaints about Ira Schacter contributed to a decline in his business at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, and she will get less in the divorce as a result, the judge said. The New York Daily News, the New York Post and the New York Law Journal (sub. req.) have stories.

Ira Schacter was sarcastically dubbed “Lawyer of the Month” by Above the Law after Janice Schacter claimed the Cadwalader partner refused to pay for his daughter’s $12,000 hearing aids even as he paid $215,000 for an engagement ring for his Playboy model girlfriend.

Janice Schacter’s complaints, along with the bad economy, caused the value of Schacter’s business assets to decline, according to Judge Laura Drager of Manhattan. As a result, she will get 17 percent, or about $855,000, of the partnership value in the divorce, the stories say. "In essence, the wife chose to bite the hand that fed her,” Drager said.

The daughter got the hearing aids, Drager said, but Janice and Ira Schacter were arguing in court over who should pay for them.

The couple separated in 2007 after both were arrested for allegedly assaulting each other. Janice Schacter obtained an order of protection and Ira Schacter filed for divorce two days later, the Daily News says. Criminal charges were later dropped.

Drager said the couple’s divorce was “one of the most contentious litigations this court has ever presided over.”

“Each party at times displayed offensive behavior in court,” Drager wrote. “They each shouted and interrupted court proceedings. They made inappropriate comments and gestures to each other immediately outside the courtroom. They each periodically ran out of the courtroom in the middle of the proceedings.”

Drager said Janice Schacter was within her rights when she raised concerns about domestic violence, but her negative online posts about her husband “went beyond any reasonable discussion of this very serious issue.”

"At a time when work in his field was in decline, any negative publicity, even if not directly related to the husband's legal acumen, could potentially scare away clients," Drager said.

Janice Schacter will also get $15,000 a month in alimony, $3,000 a month in child support, and half of more than $10 million in other marital assets. She worked as an associate at a personal injury law firm before the birth of her children. She also was an unpaid advocate for people with hearing loss.

Janice Schacter objected to the judge’s opinion in an interview with the New York Post. “I bit the hand the hurt me, not fed me,” she said.

A spokeswoman for Ira Schacter, Marcia Horowitz, told the New York Daily News he “has no comment other than to say that he now has a wonderful close relationship with both his daughter and son.” She said his lawyer is “digesting the opinion.”  "

American Bar Association Shares Importance of Not Relying on Online Legal Forms

"Estate dispute caused by ‘E-Z Legal Form’ is a ‘cautionary tale,’ says justice

Posted Apr 3, 2014 11:34 AM CDT By Debra Cassens Weis, American Bar Association Journal 

Ann Aldrich used an “E-Z Legal Form” when she made out her will in 2004, a decision that proved to be a good choice for two nieces who cited the document’s lack of a residuary clause.

In a decision issued last week, the Florida Supreme Court ruled for the nieces, though they weren’t mentioned in the will. The court said money acquired by Aldrich after the will was made out should be distributed under the laws of intestacy, which govern distribution of property for those who die without a will. The reason: The E-Z form did not have a residuary clause providing for the disposition of property not listed in the document. FlascBlog: The Florida Supreme Court Blog reports on the opinion (PDF).

Concurring Justice Barbara Pariente saw the ruling as a cautionary tale. “While I appreciate that there are many individuals in this state who might have difficulty affording a lawyer,” Pariente said, “this case does remind me of the old adage ‘penny-wise and pound-foolish.’ …

“I therefore take this opportunity to highlight a cautionary tale of the potential dangers of utilizing pre-printed forms and drafting a will without legal assistance. As this case illustrates, that decision can ultimately result in the frustration of the testator’s intent, in addition to the payment of extensive attorney’s fees—the precise results the testator sought to avoid in the first place.”

Aldrich’s will had left all her property to her sister, and then to her brother if her sister predeceased her. Because the sister died first, the brother had claimed he was entitled to the entire estate.

The will specifically said all “listed” items should go to Aldrich’s brother, the Florida Supreme Court said in an opinion by Justice Peggy Quince. “Therefore, it is clear that the testator did not intend for any property not listed to be distributed by the will. Any other interpretation of the testator’s actions would require this court to rewrite the will to include provisions regarding property for which the testator made none.”

Aldrich had signed a handwritten note after her sister’s death saying all her “worldly possessions” should pass to her brother, with the exception of certain bank accounts that should pass to a niece, the brother’s daughter. The document had just one witness—the niece who was to get the bank accounts—and was unenforceable under Florida law.

The nieces who asserted an interest in the estate were the daughters of a different brother who had already died."

CONTACT OUR FIRM

If you are currently facing a family law related issue, contact Gorman Law Firm, PLLC. Our office can be reached by phone at 800-583-6602 or by completing our online contact form. Our office is open normal business hours during the week, but we provide office hours on Saturday and are available around the clock through our website. We accept all major credit cards as payment and offer services in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Child Custody Mediation- What and Why?

family1 In North Carolina, legal disputes between parties over child custody are reffered to "The Custody Mediation Program" by the court.  This is a mandatory program for people who have an active court case involving custody and/or visitation issues. Once a custody and/or visitation complaint is filed, the case is sent to the Custody Mediation Program and the parties will receive appointment information in the mail.

The official North Carolina State Court website, nccourts.org, answers some frequently asked questions about The Custody mediation Program.

Taken from nccourts.org:

Q. What is mediation?
A. Mediation is a guided conversation that allows people to exchange information and make decisions that can help them avoid going to court. Custody mediation helps people discuss the best way to parent from different homes. People are not expected to agree on the past. However, they can design a future that helps them avoid repeating problems they have experienced.

The custody mediator is a professional who is trained and employed by the courts to facilitate the discussion. The mediator does not decide who is right or wrong, or how the parenting should be arranged.  (Last updated on  02/07/2014 )

 
Q. How does the mediation program operate?
A. Once a custody and / or visitation complaint is filed, the case is sent to the Custody Mediation Program. Parties in the custody case are court ordered to attend an orientation session and one mediation session.

Orientation is usually scheduled within 30 days of the date the case is sent to the Custody Mediation Program. Orientation is a group class that prepares you for mediation.

Mediation sessions may last up to two hours. Additional sessions may be scheduled if everyone agrees and the mediator has time. Only the parties named in the lawsuit are present for mediation.

The discussions in mediation sessions are private. The mediator will not share information discussed in the session with others, including the judge or attorneys. This rule does not apply if the mediator has concerns about child abuse, hears threats to harm someone, or witnesses a crime.

If the parties are able to agree on a plan in mediation, the mediator writes a draft of a Parenting Agreement and sends it to the parties and their attorneys to review. If the parties do not agree in mediation, the case moves forward for a judicial hearing.

Parties are strongly encouraged to meet with an attorney before signing a parenting agreement. Once the parties sign the Parenting Agreement, the judge reviews it. Once the judge signs the agreement, it is incorporated into a court order and the family avoids the stress and anxiety of going to court.

Each district has local rules that outline the operational procedures for their Custody Mediation Program. Select the county where your case is filed from the drop down menu.  (Last updated on  02/07/2014 )

 
Q. How do I get an appointment with the Custody Mediation Program in my county?
A. The Custody Mediation Program is a mandatory program for people who have an active court case involving custody and/or visitation issues. Once a custody and/or visitation complaint is filed, the case is sent to the Custody Mediation Program and the parties will receive appointment information in the mail.

For people choosing mediation on their own, there are often community mediation programs in many counties throughout the state. Check your local listings for a program that will take walk-in clients in need of mediation. (Last updated on  02/07/2014 )

 
Q. May I do this without an attorney?
A. While it is highly recommended that you at least consult with an attorney to understand your legal options, you may choose to represent yourself. This will take significant effort and research on your part. Clerks and other court staff cannot provide you with legal advice, only an attorney can do that. Investigate to see if your judicial district has a self-help clinic which provides the necessary paperwork at no cost to initiate court actions. (Court filing fees still apply.)

For a helpful video from Legal Aid of North Carolina or go to ww2.legalaidnc.org.

Looking for an attorney? The North Carolina Lawyer Referral Service provides names of lawyers who offer legal services to clients for one-half hour at a reduced cost. Legal fees should be discussed with the attorney.

North Carolina Lawyer Referral Service 1-800-662-7660 | Visit www.ncbar.org

Also, the yellow pages of the telephone book contain information about attorneys who specialize in family law. Be aware that the mediator is not able to recommend specific attorneys. (Last updated on  02/07/2014 )

 
Q. Is mediation ever inappropriate?
A. If you have serious concerns for your safety or the safety of your children, mediation is not the best place for you.

Substance abuse and alcoholism raise serious concerns. If these problems have been addressed elsewhere, parties can agree to include those specifics in a parenting plan. If these problems have not been addressed, families can talk about options during mediation. The mediator does not investigate concerns or make decisions for families.

Only a judge can allow your case to bypass mediation and go directly to court. The Motion and Order to Waive Custody Mediation form (AOC-CV-632), is available online at www.nccourts.org. Forms may also be picked up from the Custody Mediation office. Once filed, a judge will review the motion to determine whether mediation is waived or not. (Last updated on  02/07/2014 )

 
Q. What is the cost for custody mediation?
A. Mediation services are provided at no cost to the parties in a custody action. The General Assembly provides funding for the Custody Mediation Program because of the benefits it provides to parents and children of this state. (Last updated on  02/07/2014 )
 
Q. Is there a complaint procedure?
A. If a participant has a complaint against either the mediator or the mediation process itself, the complaint is to be reduced to writing and mailed to the chief District Court judge in the district in which the mediation took place. (Last updated on  02/07/2014 )
 
Q. How do we figure out child support?
A. Child support can be handled through your county child support office or through a judge’s order. Financial matters are not addressed in child custody mediation. (Last updated on  02/07/2014 )

CONTACT OUR FIRM

If you are currently facing a family law related issue, contact Gorman Law Firm, PLLC. Our office can be reached by phone at 800-583-6602 or by completing our online contact form. Our office is open normal business hours during the week, but we provide office hours on Saturday and are available around the clock through our website. We accept all major credit cards as payment and offer services in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Supreme Court declines to hear Religious Asylum Case

After much speculation, this week the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from a 6th circuit ruling which denied a Tennessee family their asylum claim as religious "homeschoolers" who were forced to send their children to school in Germany against their beliefs. Asylum

When requesting asylum, an applicant “must demonstrate that he is unable or unwilling to return to his home country because he has been persecuted there in the past or have a well-founded fear that he will be persecuted if he goes back.” Additionally, “the reason [the applicant] has been (or will be) persecuted is connected to one of five things: race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or his political opinion.”

Additionally, “social groups are sometimes said to mean an identifiable group of people whose government views it as a threat or a group sharing a common characteristic that is so fundamental to their individual identities that the members cannot change it.  Examples of particular social groups whose members have been accepted as asylees or refugees by the U.S. government include tribes or ethnic groups, social classes (such as educated elite), family members of dissidents, occupational groups, homosexuals, members or former members of the police or military (who may be targeted for assassination), and, in some cases, women.”

Romeike’s case

The Romeikes claim that “the German government is persecuting them because they want to raise their children in accordance with their Christian beliefs and home-school their children.  The Romeike family moved to Morristown, Tenn., in 2008 after facing fines and threats for refusing to send their children to a state-approved school, as required by Germany’s compulsory attendance law. They believe that if they go back to Germany and continue to home-school, the state will take custody of their children. They claim Germany’s laws violate international human rights standards.”

Despite this claim, the Board of Immigration Appeals denied and the 6th circuit affirmed the denial of their Asylum request based on the rationale that the effect of the Romeikes’ persecution claim as homeschoolers was not different from others who did not comply with the law for different reasons.  The long-standing rule requiring there be “a difference between the persecution of a discrete group and the prosecution of those who violate a generally applicable law,” precluded this family from claiming a well-founded fear based as a class.  “[P]unishment for violation of a generally applicable criminal law is not persecution.” Saleh v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 962 F.2d 234, 239 (2d Cir. 1992).

Initially, “an immigration judge approved the applications after finding that the Romeikes had a well-founded fear of persecution based on their membership in a ‘particular social group’: homeschoolers. The Board of Immigration Appeals overturned the immigration judge’s decision. It explained that ‘[t]he record does not show that the compulsory school attendance law is selectively applied to homeschoolers like the applicants.’ It added that homeschoolers were not punished more severely than other parents whose children broke the law. It concluded by reasoning that, even if the German government had singled out people like the Romeikes, ‘homeschoolers’ are not protected by the immigration laws because they ‘lack the social visibility’ and ‘particularity required to be a cognizable social group.’” So not only is the German law a law of general applicability, even if it were not, homeschoolers do not have sufficient social visibility or particularity required of “social groups” recognized under U.S. immigration law.

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Corte Suprema decide no escuchar Caso de Asilo por Razones Religiosas

Esta semana, la Corte Suprema decidió no escuchar la apelación por parte del Circuito Sexto en relación con una familia en Tennessee a la que se le impide permanecer en los Estados Unidos mediante asilo por motivos religiosos.

Asilo Refugiados

Al pedir asilo, el solicitante debe “demostrar que no puede o no desea regresar a su país de origen debido a que ha sido perseguido en el mismo o siente un temor fundado de ser perseguido si regresa.” Adicionalmente, “la razón [por la que el solicitante] ha sido (o será) perseguido debe estar relacionada con uno de cinco asuntos: raza, religión, nacionalidad, pertenencia a un grupo social en particular, u opinión política.”

Grupos Sociales

"Son considerados grupos sociales todos aquellos grupos de personas identificables que un determinado gobierno ve como una amenaza o grupos que comparten una característica en común tan fundamental a sus identidades individuales que los miembros no pueden cambiarla. Ejemplos de grupos sociales cuyos miembros has sido aceptados como asilados o refugiados por el gobierno de los Estados Unidos incluyen tribus o grupos étnicos, clases sociales (como es el caso de élites educadas), familiares de disidentes, grupos de cierta ocupación, homosexuales, miembros o ex miembros de fuerzas policiales o militares (bajo riesgo de ser asesinados), y - en algunos casos - mujeres.” 

Caso Romeike

La familia Romeike alega que “el Gobierno Alemán está persiguiéndolos porque quieren criar a sus hijos de acuerdo con sus creencias Cristianas y ocuparse ellos mismos de su formación en casa. La familia Romeike se mudó a Morristown, Tennessee, en el 2008 luego de recibir multas y amenazas por rehusarse a enviar a sus hijos a una escuela aprobada por el Estado, tal y como es requerido por las leyes de asistencia escolar en Alemania. Esta familia cree que, de regresar a su país de origen y continuar educando a sus hijos en casa, el Estado querrá asumir la custodia de los mismos. Ellos alegan que las leyes en Alemania violan estándares de derechos humanos internacionales.”

A pesar de este argumento, la Junta de Apelaciones de Inmigración negó y el Circuito Sexto confirmó la negación de petición de asilo, basándose en que la racional de persecución presentada por los Romeike no es diferente a otras que en el pasado no han sido amparadas bajo la ley, por distintas razones. La regla que requiere que  haya “una diferencia entre la persecución de un grupo en particular y la persecución de aquellos que simplemente violan las leyes generales correspondientes” impidió que esta familia alegase un legítimo temor basado en el formar parte de un grupo que es objeto de persecución. “Castigo por violar una ley de aplicación general en el área criminal no se trata de persecución.” Saleh v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 962 F.2d 234, 239 (2d Cir. 1992).

En un principio, “un juez de inmigración había aprobado la petición luego de enterarse de que la familia  Romeike tenía un miedo legítimo de ser perseguida por pertenecer a un ‘grupo social particular’: “homeschoolers” o familias cuyos hijos reciben formación académica en casa. La Junta de Apelaciones de Inmigración revocó la decisión del juez de inmigración. Explicando que ‘los registros no demuestran que la ley de asistencia escolar es aplicada de forma selectiva a familias que, al igual que los solicitantes, educan a sus hijos en casa.’ Así mismo, también agrega que los llamados ’homeschoolers’ no son castigados más severamente que otros padres cuyos hijos no cumplen la ley. Finalmente concluye que, bajo este razonamiento, aún y si el gobierno Alemán hubiese puesto su mira en casos como el de la familia Romeikes, los ‘homeschoolers’ no son protegidos por leyes de inmigración pues ‘carecen de visibilidad social’ y ‘la particularidad requerida para ser considerados un grupo social en sí.’”

Así que, no sólo es que la ley en Alemania es una ley de carácter general, sino que – aún y si no lo fuese – estas familias que educan a sus hijos en casa no tienen suficiente visibilidad o particularidad propia como para ser reconocidos como un “grupo social” bajo la leyes de inmigración de Estados Unidos.

Dogfights: A Perspective on Custody Battles Over Family's Beloved Pets

  doggy

It seems to be more and more common that a separating or divorcing couple request that the family pet be a priority in the determination of " who gets what." Pets are seen as important members of the family and thus can easily become the center of a  custody "dogfight." Jane Porter, a writer for the Hartford Courant, shed light on this increasing phenomenon  in her article entitled " Custody batter over pets look like a Dog Fight"  in October of 2006.

 

Custody battles over pets look like a dogfight

QUALITIES OF LIFE

By Jane Porter Tribune newspapers: The Hartford Courant October 1, 2006

Gaetano Ferro, a New Canaan, Conn., divorce lawyer, remembers a particularly unusual case from about a decade ago. It involved a custody dispute over a springer spaniel.

What Ferro remembers the most are the snickering judges, the ribbing and "hooting and hollering" in the courthouse. And he recalls that the couple finally decided that the dog would spend alternate weeks in Ridgefield, Conn., and Manhattan.

Such a case would be less unusual, and probably less funny, today. Nearly a quarter of divorce lawyers surveyed across the country have noticed an increase in pet-custody cases in the last five years, according to a recent poll of 1,500 members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

There is a shift occurring in our society in which the ... pet is considered more a member of the family ... and therefore becomes sadly a part of the battle when the family disintegrates," said Joyce Tischler, founding director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit organization based in Northern California.

A 2001 survey by the American Animal Hospital Association found that 83 percent of pet owners refer to themselves as their pet's "mom" or "dad."

That relationship is not acknowledged by the courts, where pets are still considered property, no different from the silverware, the plasma TV and the living-room sofa.

"In America, pets are basically chattel," said Monica Harper, a matrimonial lawyer in Hartford. As a result, many judges find fighting over pets a waste of court time, and attorneys counsel their clients to settle such disputes on their own.

The matrimonial lawyers survey found that 90 percent of the pet-custody battles were about dogs. To Ferro, disputing who gets the cat or dog is like shooting a mosquito with an elephant gun. "Fight over the custody of a child," Ferro said. "Don't fight over the custody of a dog."

But for many divorcing couples, the pet is like their child. To help judges consider the well-being of animals involved in such cases, the Animal Legal Defense Fund developed a friend-of-the-court brief five years ago.

The 18-page brief is intended to show judges that "there is an unnamed third party in a custody case," Tischler said. "There is a distinction in the dog or cat's mind--believe it or not--as to who tends to be closer," she said of the relationship between pet and owners. The brief makes clear that the animal's interests should not be left out in such cases.

Generally, pets stay in the home where children primarily live, said Thomas Colin, chair of the Connecticut Bar Association's Family Law Section.

But when the splitting couple does not have children, the issue becomes more complicated. During his first 10 years practicing as a matrimonial lawyer, Colin had never encountered a pet-custody issue. But just last year, he worked on two custody disputes involving dogs. In both cases, the divorcing couples did not have children. "These dogs were so important to these two couples that they stood in the shoes of a child to them," Colin said. "So I treated it that way for them." When Colin was a student at St. John's University Law School in the early 1990s, pet custody wasn't an issue. Today, universities around the country examine such issues in courses focused entirely on animal law.

"When this first came up, I said, `This can't be that big of a deal because it's just a pet,'" he said. "But what I learned is, in the lives of these people going through emotional divorces, this is a very real thing, and it should be taken seriously."

 

CONTACT OUR FIRM

If you are currently facing a family law related issue, contact Gorman Law Firm, PLLC. Our office can be reached by phone at 800-583-6602 or by completing our online contact form. Our office is open normal business hours during the week, but we provide office hours on Saturday and are available around the clock through our website. We accept all major credit cards as payment and offer services in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

States Stepping Up

E-Verify in the Carolinas E-Verify is gaining the support of an unsuspected group: employers. Well, at least with South Carolina employers.

“E-verify is an Internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States by comparing an employee's Social Security number and other information against millions of government records. The program generally provides results in three to five seconds.” Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).

Among states who have their own laws enforcing federal E-verify, South Carolina's businesses appear to respect their law and are complying at a rate of 90 percent.  “In 2011, South Carolina’s General Assembly passed the S.C. Illegal Aliens and Private Employment Act that required all businesses to use the federal E-Verify system to check the names and social security numbers of newly hired workers. The law exempts farmers, maids, and fishermen and failure to comply risks suspension of an employer’s business license.  The law went into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, but the state did not begin strict enforcement until July 1.  When the law took effect, there was some concern that the checks would be a hassle for businesses. But business attorneys and LLR officials have said that has not been the case.”

S.C. Department of Labor reports show that “more than 15,800 South Carolina businesses signed up for E-Verify in 2012 – the first year of the state program – more than any other state that year” and 90% of businesses were in compliance.  This is a different picture than in Arizona, where fewer than half of AZ businesses have signed up for E-Verify despite statewide compliance laws passed in 2008.

According to the state's Office of Immigrant Worker Compliance, S.C.’s objective is “to ensure that available jobs in South Carolina are provided to individuals who are legally in the United States and authorized to be employed."

North Carolina businesses employing at least 25 people are required to use E-Verify.  This is a result of the N.C. law passed in June 2011 with phase-in requirements for different sized companies with the purpose of deterring employment of undocumented immigrants by punishing businesses that employ them.  Public employers have been required to use the program since October 2011, companies employing 500 or more employees since October 2012, companies employing between 100 and 499 employees since January 2013, and companies employing between 25 and 99 employees since July 2013.  However, as of now N.C.’s law does not include random audits as a process for determining employer compliance.  It appears to rely on the good faith tips of individuals in the community which are then investigated by the commissioner for validity. They cannot be based solely on race, religion, gender, ethnicity, or national origin, and false reports result in criminal misdemeanor prosecution.  The law states in part: “Any person with a good-faith belief that an employer is violating or has violated the law may file a complaint with the commissioner.

Nonetheless, punishments for failing to adhere to E-Verify processes will result in fines based on the employer’s number of offenses.  These decisions are appealable within 15 days, but after a violation occurs, the commissioner, who is required to maintain a database of the employers and business locations that have violated the law, will make the orders available on the commission's website.

It is important to note that South Carolina businesses are subject to random audits, unlike their northern neighbors.  Therein may lie the reason for South Carolina's success in compliance by local businesses.  It is uncertain whether N.C.'s law which has very few teeth will be as respected by employers and whether its reliance on community reporting will result in accurate commissioner inquiries.  Only the future will tell.

In Step with N.C.: According to the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), "Five states other than N.C. mandate the use of E-Verify by all or nearly all businesses (Arizona, Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia), five other states require use of E-Verify by public employers and all or most public contractors (Indiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Missouri) and a few other states require only public contractors to use E-Verify (Louisiana, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania.)” Some states not listed encourage E-Verify but do not require it.

Moving in the other direction: The CIS reports that “California has prohibited all jurisdictions within the state from requiring private employers to use E-Verify in most instances. Rhode Island once required executive agencies to use E-Verify, but the executive order requiring such use has been rescinded. Illinois once prohibited all employers from using E-Verify, but reversed the policy after a court found the law to be in violation of the supremacy clause, frustrating federal intent to allow employers access to a means of employment verification; a new version of the law still discourages use.”

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Estados Atendiendo al Llamado

E-Verify está ganando apoyo por parte de un grupo inesperado: el de los empleadores. Al menos, cuando se trata de empleadores en Carolina del Sur.

“E-verify es un sistema en línea que permite a empresas o negocios determinar la elegibilidad de sus empleados para trabajar en los Estados Unidos, comparando el número de Seguro Social y otros datos del empleado contra millones de registros gubernamentales. Este programa generalmente ofrece resultados entre tres y cinco segundos.”

Entre los estados con leyes propias para hacer cumplir el sistema federal de E-verify, los negocios en Carolina del Sur parecen estar respetando la ley y estar cumpliendo con los requerimientos en un 90 por ciento de los casos.  “En el 2011, la Asamblea General de Carolina del Sur aprobó el llamado “Illegal Aliens and Private Employment Act”, el cual requiere que todas las empresas y negocios usen el sistema federal E-Verify para verificar los nombres y números de seguro social de trabajadores recién contratados. La ley sólo exonera a los trabajadores agrícolas, de trabajo doméstico, y pescadores; su incumplimiento puede resultar en la suspensión de la licencia que le permite al empleador operar.

La ley entró en efecto el 1ro. de Enero del 2012, pero el estado no inició su estricta ejecución hasta el 1ro. de Julio. Cuando la ley entró en efecto, hubo preocupación en cuanto a la carga de trabajo adicional que significaría para los negocios. Sin embargo, abogados y oficiales del Departamento del Trabajo, Licencias, y Regulaciones (LLR, por sus siglas en inglés) han dicho que éste no ha sido el caso.”

Reportes del Departamento del Trabajo de Carolina del Sur muestran que “más de 15,800 negocios o empresas en Carolina del Sur se registraron en E-Verify en el 2012 – primer año del programa estatal – cifra más alta que en cualquier otro estado ese mismo año” y que 90% de los mismos están en conformidad con la ley. Una realidad diferente a la de Arizona, estado en que menos de la mitad de los negocios se han inscrito en E-Verify, pese a las leyes de alcance estatal aprobadas en este ámbito en 2008.

El objetivo de la ley en Carolina del Sur es “‘asegurar que los puestos de trabajo disponibles en Carolina del Sur son otorgados a individuos que están en los Estados Unidos legalmente y que están autorizados para trabajar,’ dice Lesia Kudelka, vocera de la oficina estatal para trabajadores inmigrantes, Office of Immigrant Worker Compliance.”

Como resultado de una ley estatal aprobada en Carolina del Norte en Junio del 2011, a empresas en Carolina del Norte que emplean al menos 25 personas se les exige usar E-Verify. La ley establece distintos requisitos basados en el tamaño de la empresa y tiene el propósito de desincentivar el empleo de inmigrantes indocumentados penalizando a quienes los empleen. En una implementación escalonada, empleadores públicos han sido requeridos usar el programa desde Octubre del 2011, compañías con 500 o más empleados desde Octubre del 2012, compañías que emplean entre 100 y 499 desde Enero del 2013, y compañías que tienen entre 25 y 99 empleados desde Julio del 2013. Sin embargo, por los momentos, la ley en Carolina del Norte no incluye auditorías aleatorias como un proceso para determinar el cumplimiento por parte de un empleador en particular. En su lugar, cuenta con reportes de buena fe por parte de individuos en la comunidad, cuya validez luego es investigada por un comisionado. Tales denuncias no pueden ser basadas exclusivamente en factores como raza, religión, sexo, etnicidad, u origen; y reportes falsos pueden resultar en cargos. La ley establece en parte: “Cualquier persona que de buena fe crea que un empleador está violando o ha violado la ley puede presentar formalmente una denuncia ante el comisionado correspondiente”.

Sin embargo, penalizaciones por no adherirse a los procesos de E-Verify resultará en multas en función del número de ofensas por parte de empleador. Estas decisiones son apelables en los subsecuentes 15 días; luego de que la violación ocurre, la comisión a cargo de mantener una base de datos de los negocios y empleadores que han violado la ley presentará las órdenes en el sitio de Internet de la comisión.

Es importante acotar que los negocios en Carolina del Sur si están sujetos a auditorias aleatorias, a diferencia de su vecino del norte. Razón ésta a la que pudiese atribuirse el éxito en cumplimiento por parte de negocios y empresas en Carolina del Sur. Resulta incierto si la ley en Carolina del Norte, la cual es menos agresiva, será tan bien respetada por los empleadores y si su dependencia del reporte por parte de la comunidad pueda resultar en cuestionamientos legítimos.  Sólo el futuro dirá.

En Carolina del Norte: De acuerdo con el Centro para Estudios de Inmigración (CIS, por sus siglas en inglés), "Cinco estados aparte de Carolina del Norte, ordenan el uso de E-Verify a todas o casi todas la empresas y negocios (Arizona, Mississippi, Carolina del Sur,  Alabama, y Georgia), otros cinco estados requieren el uso de E-Verify por parte de empleadores públicos y todas o la mayoría de las contratistas públicas (Indiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Virginia, y Missouri) y un pequeño grupo de estados requieren que sólo contratistas públicas usen E-Verify (Louisiana, Minnesota, y Pennsylvania.)” Algunos estados no listados aquí promueven el uso de E-Verify pero no lo exigen.

En Otra Dirección: El CIS reporta que “California ha prohibido a todas las jurisdicciones dentro del estado el requerir que empleadores privados usen E-Verify en la mayoría de los casos. Rhode Island una vez requirió que agencias del poder ejecutivo usaran E-Verify, pero este mandato fue anulado. Illinois una vez prohibió a todos los empleadores el uso de E-Verify, pero revirtió la política una vez que una corte sentenció que la ley constituía una violación a la cláusula de supremacía al frustrar la intención federal de permitir a empleadores el acceso a un modo de verificación de empleo; una nueva versión de la ley que aún desaprueba su uso.”

The First Saturday Workshop Series: FAMILY LAW,TRAFFIC, and TAX CONSULTATIONS/El primer Sábado de la Serie del TALLER: LEYES DE FAMILIA TICKETS DE TRANSITO Y CONSULTAS DE IMPUESTOS

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El Centro Hispano Foundation Presents:

The First Saturday Workshop Series:  FAMILY LAW,TRAFFIC, and TAX  CONSULTATIONS

-         FREE CONFIDENTIAL CONSULTATION WITH LICENSED FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY AND/OR TAX AND ACCOUNTING SPECIALIST  

-         FREE INFORMATION REGARDING NORTH CAROLINA FAMILY AND TAX LAW

-         THE OPPORTUNITY TO HIRE A LICENSED FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY OR TAX AND ACCOUNTING SPECIALIST ON THE SPOT TO HANDLE YOUR CASE IN AN EFFICIENT, COST EFFECTIVE MANNER.

SATURDAY, Jan. 18, 10 A.M.-1

P.M.

Location: GORMAN LAW FIRM

1318 CENTRAL AVENUE,

SUITE A-11,

CHARLOTTE, NC 28205

Please RSVP:(704)-537-1400 or

ere@lcentro.com

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La Fundación del Centro Hispano presenta:

-         CONSULTA CONFIDENCIAL GRATUITA  CON UN ABOGADO ESPECIALISTA EN FAMILIA  Y TICKETS DE TRANSITO CON LA ESPECIALISTA EN CONTABILIDAD E IMPUESTOS

 

-         INFORMACION GRATUITA ACERCA DE LAS LEYES DE FAMILIA EN EL ESTADO DE CAROLINA DEL NORTE Y LEYES DE IMPUESTOS

 

-         LA OPORTUNIDAD DE CONTRATAR A UN ABOGADO EXPERTO EN LEYES DE FAMILIA O UN ESPECIALISTA  EN CONTABILIDAD E IMPUESTOS EN LA MISMA OFICINA  Y QUE MANEJARA SU CASO CON EFICIENCIA, PROFESIONALISMO Y COSTOS RAZONABLES

SABADO, Enero 18, 10 A.M.-1 P.M

GORMAN LAW FIRM

1318 CENTRAL AVENUE, SUITE A-11,

CHARLOTTE, NC 28205

Por favor llamar para reservar:(704)-537-1400 or ere@lcentro.com

Gorman Law Firm, PLLC
200 West Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28203
Phone: 704-537-1400
Fax: 704-537-3727 

Hours of Operation
Monday-Friday: 8:30am-6pm


Saturday by appointment: 10am-2pm