Articles Posted in Charlotte Attorney

Bankruptcy seems like a scary concept. It certainly carries a heavy stigma within society. But is it the big, bad monster it seems? The answer may surprise you.

In the past, when a borrower could not pay his debts, he and his family had everything stripped away and could even be placed into servitude. As societies evolved, it became clear that placing people into slavery for their inability to pay would not inspire economic growth. What could a nation do to encourage people to continue participating in the economic market while dealing with unpaid debts? The United States found a unique answer… bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy is a process by which individuals, families, and businesses can eliminate or repay some or all of their debts. This process is guided and protected by the federal bankruptcy court. Bankruptcy acts as a means for individuals and businesses to not only reduce or wipe out past debts, but also restructure their finances so that they can start again with a “clean slate”, all while making more financially sound decisions in the future. For this reason, bankruptcy is also known as “debt restructuring”. There are two basic types of bankruptcy: “liquidation” and “reorganization.” For individuals, “liquidation” is considered Chapter 7 Bankruptcy while “reorganization” is Chapter 13 (of Title 11 of the United States Code).

Can divorce affect your immigration status? If your U.S. Visa was granted because of your spouse’s application, you may find yourself wondering what could happen if you and your spouse separate or get a divorce. The answer varies depending on how far along you are in the immigration process.

Approved visa petition (USCIS Form I-130): Form I-130 is a form submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services by a U.S. citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident petitioning for a close relative (here, a spouse) who intends to immigrate to the U.S. Approval of the petition does not create status and if you divorce at this point in the process, you will not be able to proceed toward U.S. immigration.

Conditional Residence: If you used your spouse’s status to gain immigration status to the U.S. within two years of your marriage, you are a conditional resident.  Conditional Residence is a two-year green card given to a spouse whose marriage is less than two years old. To become a permanent resident, you and your spouse will jointly file a Form I-751 within the final 90 days of your conditional residence green card. Form I-751 is a petition to remove conditions on residence. If you divorce after being granted conditional residence but before filing Form I-751 to remove conditions, you may be able to get a waiver of the other spouse’s signing requirement, but you will have to show that the marriage was bona fide (genuine).  This is to ensure that the marriage was in good faith and not entered for the sole purpose of fraudulently obtaining a green card. Proving that the marriage was not fraudulent can be a daunting task and you will likely need an attorney’s help the specific evidence you will need to get a waiver of the spouses signature.

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and other traffic offenses have unique consequences for immigrants in the United States whether they have been lawfully admitted or not. While all crimes may be considered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in removal proceedings, certain crimes carry more weight. Crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMT) may render an alien inadmissible or deportable depending on their status. DWI offenses may also lead undocumented immigrants to receive higher priority for removal proceedings.

The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) has defined crimes involving moral turpitude as conduct that is inherently base, vile, or depraved, contrary to the accepted rules of morality and the duties owed other persons, either individually or to society in general. Crimes involving moral turpitude require an element of intent that is absent from ordinary DWI cases. Intent for CIMT must be at least recklessness (knowingly endangering another’s health or safety). However, the addition of an aggravating factor such as driving with a suspended license or with a child in the car or the commission of an additional crime such as using illegal drugs is usually enough to trigger a CIMT. (It should be noted that illegal use of a controlled substance is another, separate, ground for inadmissibility, see 8 USC 1227(a)(2)(B)(i) and 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(II))

Certain traffic convictions such as Driving While Intoxicated may also lead to higher priority by DHS with regards to apprehension, detention and removal of undocumented immigrants. Because of the high volume of undocumented immigrants in the United States, DHS has created a priority system designed to streamline removal and prioritize the removal of aliens that pose a “threat to national security, border security and public safety”.

According to the U.S. Census, last year, approximately one million children were affected by custody issues. ( Parenthood.com) Child custody is undoubtedly one of the most contentious issues surrounding the breakup of a couple with children together- married or not, the couple must decide who, where, and how to continue to parent their children. And it’s almost never as simple as which parent’s home the child will stay and on which days. Separating parents face a myriad of questions when it comes to custody-  not only where will the child stay and when, but who will be in charge of taking them to activities? Who will pay medical costs? Can we go on trips without the other parents permission? Who can be around the child? How do we handle new spouses/partners relationships with the child?

It’s understandably overwhelming. And for many reasons, a courtroom isn’t necessarily the best place to get all of those questions answered.

Oftentimes, parents who are splitting up are willing and ready to decide custody matters amongst themselves- but want an extra layer of protection. That is where a Custody Consent Order comes in- and an experienced custody attorney.

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