When You’re Religious, and You’re a Lawyer


How Can Divorce Affect Your Ex-Spouse’s Immigration Status?

Posted by on 4:47 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How Can Divorce Affect Your Ex-Spouse’s Immigration Status?

If you and your spouse have recently come to the difficult (but mutual) conclusion that living apart is better, you may be wondering about the best way to proceed with untangling your joint assets and debts and deciding child custody. These often complex decisions can be complicated even further if your soon-to-be ex-spouse is an immigrant, as divorcing a U.S. citizen can sometimes mean deportation for those who are in the U.S. pursuant to a marriage visa. Here is more about how divorce can impact your spouse’s immigration status and what options you may have if deportation could interfere with your ex-spouse’s ability to see your children. How can divorce impact an immigrant? Many who fall under the broad term “immigrant” are naturalized citizens who — while not official US citizens — are free to remain in the U.S. indefinitely, with no time limits or other constraints placed on their immigration status. However, other immigrants are legally residing in the U.S. pursuant to one of any number of visas: a work visa, a travel visa, a medical visa, or even a marriage visa. These visas are generally subject to time limits and may be revoked (or expire) if the circumstances for which the visa was issued change.  For example, those who are residing in the U.S. pursuant to a marriage visa will find that this visa expires quickly after a final decree of dissolution is signed by a trial court judge — even if the judge specifically incorporates language into the divorce decree indicating your ex-spouse’s desire to continue living in the U.S. and the benefit this arrangement would have for your minor children. Because most divorces are handled in state courts and immigration is generally enforced in federal court, a state court’s ruling on a federal issue (like immigration) is unlikely to stand undisturbed. What should you do if deportation would impact your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s ability to exercise custody or visitation rights? If you’re concerned that your ex-spouse will be deported and you don’t want this to impact your children, your best bet is to assist your ex-spouse in applying for another type of visa that can allow him or her to remain in the U.S. for a reason other than marriage. For example, your ex-spouse’s employer may be willing to sponsor him or her for a work-related visa, which can remain effective until a job change; alternatively, he or she may want to pursue nationalization or even U.S. citizenship. For assistance, contact a family law...

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Unique Issues You May Face When Ending a Long Marriage

Posted by on 3:30 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Unique Issues You May Face When Ending a Long Marriage

Couples that have been married for a significant number of years may find themselves drifting apart as they move into middle age and their children leave the house. Ending a marriage that has been intact for a long time presents some unique challenges that each partner needs to be aware of. Here are three issues you should take under advisement when filing for divorce to end your long marriage in the future. 1. The dispersal of Social Security retirement benefits. In many long marriages, only one spouse generated an income while the other stayed home to raise the children. Divorcing after a lengthy marriage can leave you without access to a monthly income if you were the spouse without full-time employment. It’s important to recognize that there are some situations that could qualify you to receive a portion of your former spouse’s Social Security retirement benefits. If the duration of your marriage was 10 years or more and you have reached the age of 62, then you may be entitled to one-half of the full retirement benefit awarded to your former spouse. Be sure to talk to your lawyer to determine if any special action needs to be taken to secure your access to Social Security benefits after your divorce. 2. The division of real estate. If the title to the home that you shared with your spouse is not listed under your name (as is the case in may marriages where only one partner works), then you will need to ensure that your attorney fights for you to gain access to your half of the property. The division of real estate assets can be a source of contention in divorces that end long marriages, so be prepared to argue that your contribution to the marriage entitles you to a portion of the real estate assets, despite the fact that you may not be listed on the deed. 3. Ownership of sentimental items. When you are married for a significant amount of time, you form sentimental attachments to certain items. In order to ensure that you will be able to take the things that matter most with you when you split from your spouse, your attorney needs to include these sentimental items in your divorce paperwork. Establishing who will get the children’s baby clothing or the family albums prior to filing for divorce can be a simple way to avoid arguments over sentimental items that could tie up your divorce in court. Ending a long marriage comes with unique challenges that you must be prepared to face. Work with an attorney like those at Kleveland Law who can help you secure your rights to retirement benefits, your home, and any sentimental property as you file for a divorce to end a long...

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Getting Through Your Divorce One Document At A Time

Posted by on 5:40 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Getting Through Your Divorce One Document At A Time

Even when your divorce is an amicable one, you still have to file plenty of divorce paperwork. Whether you are just in the beginning stages of filing for divorce or you are working on your responses to some complicated questions, it’s important to get help when you need it. You must also provide plenty of documentation in order for your divorce to be settled property. Documents can include tax returns, investment portfolios, proof of income, mortgages, CDs, life insurance policies, and more. During your divorce, all of your financial information will be scrutinized in order to figure out how each asset and debt in your marriage will be divided. Getting Your Divorce Started To get your divorce started, you must file a petition for a divorce. This is done by going to your local Probate and Family Court and submitting your completed form. Each court can be slightly different, so it’s important to talk with one of the clerks to determine you are using the right forms. The petition is used to state why you want a divorce and what you want the court to do about your marriage. In general, most people file for a no-fault divorce citing irreconcilable differences. Make sure that you have the filing fee with you or you won’t be able to file your divorce paperwork. Once the Divorce Begins There are restrictions placed on shared assets such as bank accounts, once your divorce begins. One party can’t go and empty out a shared bank account while in the middle of the divorce. All assets will be divided up during the divorce, and you can’t just take what you want before the divorce is final. Each party must fill out financial forms, disclosing any personal assets, income from the past three years and current income. When you believe your ex is trying to hide assets, this is where your divorce can become complicated. Know What You Want Out of the Divorce Before you start fighting over everything you and your ex spouse own, take the time to figure out what you really want out of your divorce. If you aren’t worried about money and you just want to get out, don’t get caught up in fighting over every small thing. While you are entitled to a fair share of your marital assets, it’s important to know what you want before you begin negotiating with your...

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Three Ways To Stay On Top Of Your Company’s Legal Issues

Posted by on 3:43 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Ways To Stay On Top Of Your Company’s Legal Issues

Handling your legal matters properly can be the difference between your business thriving and hitting costly snags. The points below will assist you in figuring out things you can do regularly to protect your company’s legal interests, in addition to steps for working with a corporate lawyer who can help.  Keep Thorough And Well Organized Files Since so many legal matters revolve around proof and documentation, you need to continuously organize your company’s most important information. To do this, you need to take a multi-pronged approach toward storing physical and digital files and developing a system for organizing them. For instance, if you own a business that specializes in re-selling, you will need to retain copies of things like receipts, re-sellers licenses in various states, tax exempt certificates and wholesaler’s information. This way, should there be any discrepancies, you’ll have your files stored to quickly resolve these issues. As a word of advice, develop a physical file system where you retain physical copies, scan or otherwise digitize copies and store those files on your hard drive and in the cloud and also send copies to your lawyer for their records. Going this route covers your bases and ensures you and your lawyer are on the same page.  Decide The Capacity By Which You Are Hiring An Attorney There is no one right or wrong business attorney-client arrangement, so assess the scope of your business and decide on what works best. One business might only need a lawyer’s time and resources for contract signings and negotiations, while another business might want an attorney on retainer and in the loop on a day-to-day basis. Because these relationships potentially change as your business changes, you need a corporate lawyer that you have a quality rapport with. Regardless of what agreement you come to, definitely set aside a budget for lawyer fees, which can vary tremendously. For instance, one lawyer might charge by the hour, while another might take a 33 to 40% contingency fee.  Hire A Lawyer To Help Decide On Proper Business Filings Perhaps the most important thing a corporate lawyer can do for you is help you navigate the potentially confusing process of designating your business type as your company evolves. For instance, if you are looking to incorporate, each state has different laws, requirements and filing fees, so a corporate lawyer would be able to assist you in this regard. Your attorney can also help you decide on various business classifications to establish, whether you would like to go from a sole proprietorship or partnership to a Limited Liability Company, or if you would like to re-structure as a corporation or S-Corporation. A knowledgable attorney will let you know the tax implications and new obligations that come with each decision.  Consider these points of information so that your company is always in good hands from a legal perspective. For more information, contact a firm such as George M Cappello,...

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Why Is It So Difficult To Be Approved For Social Security Disability On The First Attempt?

Posted by on 3:38 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why Is It So Difficult To Be Approved For Social Security Disability On The First Attempt?

The Social Security Disability Insurance application process is notoriously long, arduous, and full of uncertainties, but many people don’t know exactly why this is the case. Anyone who claims to be permanently disabled and unable to work full-time as a result can apply for benefits; however, The United States Social Security Administration provides only general application guidelines. Retaining a Social Security disability attorney can help you to navigate the process and be better prepared for your hearing, which will improve your chances of being approved for benefits the first time you apply. Proving When And How You Became Permanently Disabled While there are many disabled persons in the United States, not all are severely and permanently disabled. When applying for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration is focused primarily on three things: when you claim to have become permanently disabled, the precise nature of your disability, and whether or not you will ever be able to return to work. When submitting your application for disability benefits, you should answer all questions truthfully, never exaggerate the nature of your ailments or impairments, and always provide as much medical evidence as possible. Medical records, accident reports, temporary disability claims documentation, and doctors’ reports are the best types of supporting evidence that you can provide your disability attorney with so that your claim can swiftly move forward. Documenting Your Inability To Retain Gainful Employment The Social Security Administration reviews all applications for disability on a case-by-case basis, which means that two applications with similar circumstances can reach two very different outcomes. This is because even the smallest nuances, such as education or job history, can lead The Social Security Administration to come to come to different decisions. Your Social Security disability attorney should be able to explain the nature and extent of your disability, as well as how it precludes you from working in a full-time position Your entire work history will be reviewed, so providing details on when your disability first began to interfere with your career is extremely beneficial to your case. Be prepared to explain what steps you took to find alternative employment as well as what medical treatments might have possibly helped to improve your disability. In the end, many disability claims are disproved simply because The Social Security Administration believes that the applicants in those cases will be able to work full-time, even if it is in a different capacity. If you have concerns about your case, hiring a Social Security disability lawyer (such as those found at Horn & Kelley, PC Attorneys at Law) may give you the confidence you need to present the full picture to The Social Security Administration. No claim for benefits is guaranteed to be approved, but working with a disability attorney will certainly give you an advantage over going in...

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Can You Sue For The Exposure To A Deadly Disease Even If You Don’t Get Sick?

Posted by on 3:30 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Can You Sue For The Exposure To A Deadly Disease Even If You Don’t Get Sick?

If you’re exposed to a potentially devastating or deadly disease, can you sue even if you don’t get sick? The answer is complicated and could depend a lot on the circumstances of your case. This is what you should understand about pursuing a claim for exposure to a disease. You need to show injuries and losses related to the exposure. You can generally expect the defense to argue that without any actual infection, there’s no sufficient basis for a lawsuit. Any response is likely to ask how you can claim to be injured if you aren’t infected and what possible monetary losses could you have suffered. These are two important questions because most exposure lawsuits allege that the exposure was caused by someone’s negligence. In order to make a successful personal injury claim against someone for negligence, you have to prove that you suffered both injuries and monetary losses as a result. It takes a careful legal argument to make your case. Despite the potential hurdles, lawsuits over the negligent exposure to a disease aren’t uncommon. For example, a Las Vegas hospital is facing lawsuits over the exposure of patients to tuberculosis—although not everyone who was exposed has tested positive. In another case, patients of a Seattle hospital are suing over their exposure to hepatitis and HIV by a drug-addicted surgical tech. In order to meet the requirements of a negligence lawsuit, there are several things that can be considered part of the injuries for which you deserve compensation: How long do you have to continue being tested for the disease? For example, it can take 3 months before your body develops enough antibodies to HIV to be tested.  Did the knowledge that you were potentially infected significantly interrupt your life? For example, if you were exposed to hepatitis, were you able to continue working or participating in your normal activities while you were waiting to find out if you were infected? Did you suffer pain during testing? Blood tests and other tests that show infection, like spinal taps, can cause you significant pain that deserves compensation. Did you suffer psychologically as a result of your exposure? If you sought counseling or became clinically depressed during the time that you knew you might be infected, that’s something that could also be considered an injury. The cost of your therapy and any medications are also financial losses.  Take some time to consider these different possibilities while you consider whether or not you want to pursue your case. If you’re unsure about whether or not you can proceed, talk with a personal injury attorney about your...

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What You Need to Know About Proving a Defect after an Automobile Accident

Posted by on 6:57 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What You Need to Know About Proving a Defect after an Automobile Accident

Not all accidents are caused by a driver’s behavior. Some are due to faults in a car, and in some cases, the car’s manufacturer will be found liable for the accident. However, you will need to prove this after the car accident. Here are the steps to take to do that. Preserve the Evidence You need to keep the evidence to help prove that there was a fault. This is why it is so important to get in touch with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The attorney will be able to ensure all evidence is preserved to check for a potential fault. If there are a group of drivers with the same car experiencing the same fault, other cars from the same manufacturer from the same manufacturing period may be used to check for this fault. Determine the Type of Defect There are three types of defects that can occur, and what kind of defect was present will need to be determined. A design defect is when the design of the vehicle is flawed enough to cause injury. A manufacturing defect is created after the design work is done and would mean the vehicle was put together incorrectly. A warning defect is when someone involved in manufacturing or designing knows about the defect but has failed to inform the public. Prove the Defect Caused the Accident The next stage is to prove that the accident was caused by the actual defect. While the car may not have been fit for purpose, the driver’s distracted driving may have actually caused the accident. This would mean the liability is still with the driver despite the vehicle being defective. The driver will also need to prove that the defect was a manufacturing defect and not a problem the driver caused by having work done to the vehicle. The driver would also need to prove that he or she didn’t know there was a defect before driving. If the driver knowingly drove with a defect, that could lead to the driver being found guilty of dangerous or negligent driving rather than the manufacturer being found liable for the accident. A driver needs to ensure his or her car is roadworthy and safe at the time of driving. The NHTSA states that 2009 saw about 30,000 people die in traffic accidents. Not all of these accidents were due to defects in a car, but some may have been. You will need to prove that the defect caused the accident and that you didn’t know about it at the time of...

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False Imprisonment And Kidnapping: How Minor Domestic Incidents Are Turned Into Felonies

Posted by on 6:53 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on False Imprisonment And Kidnapping: How Minor Domestic Incidents Are Turned Into Felonies

It’s easier than you probably realize to end up with a felony domestic violence charge—something that may not seem like a big deal at the time may end up escalating what would have been a relatively minor misdemeanor charge for a simple assault into a felony conviction that costs you several years behind bars. This is what you should know about how kidnapping and false imprisonment charges can elevate a minor domestic issue into a major legal one. How do false imprisonment and kidnapping charges come about in domestic violence cases? False imprisonment occurs when someone’s personal liberty is unlawfully violated. It’s a fairly broad term that’s applied to a lot of situations. Kidnapping is very similar to false imprisonment, although it usually requires the kidnapper to transport the victim from one place to another by force. While you may think that nothing you did could possibly be considered either false imprisonment or kidnapping, consider several potential scenarios: You tell your boyfriend, “If you walk out that door, I’ll kill you.” You block the doorway from one room to another and insist that your girlfriend listens to what you have to say. Your husband starts to leave and you stand in his way and shove him back inside the house. Your wife wants to leave and you hide her keys and driver’s license in an attempt to get her to stay. All of these actions, done in the heat of the moment of a stressful situation or argument, interfere with another person’s liberty. Similarly, you can end up crossing the line into kidnapping very easily: You force your girlfriend to go to a hotel with you, just intending to talk to her. You throw the car keys at your boyfriend and tell him to drive you somewhere. When he protests, you tell him that if he says anything else that you’ll stab him. You’re in a yelling match with your spouse while driving and you don’t stay on the expected road, purposefully taking a detour that leaves your spouse lost and confused. While some of these things may be foolish or thoughtless, the people who do them probably don’t expect to be handed a felony sentence after a moment of poor judgment. How can an attorney help with these charges in a domestic violence case? It’s important to remember that “domestic violence” isn’t actually a charge. It’s a term to describe violent or abusive behavior between people who know each other. The laws in many states use “domestic violence” as an enhancer—a special consideration that makes the same crime more serious simply because it was done between people that do know each other. Because of this, there’s often a little flexibility in how the prosecutor decides to charge you. If your charges have been unreasonably enhanced because of something like stepping in front of someone as they tried to leave the building, your attorney may be able to convince the prosecutor to lower the charges again. Your attorney may also be able to present the facts of your case early enough to the prosecutor to convince him or her that the incident was minor and unusual for you. He or she may be willing to reduce the charges in exchange for your agreement to attend counseling or anger management courses.  For more...

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Tips For Dealing With The Debt Of Someone Who Has Passed Away

Posted by on 2:34 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tips For Dealing With The Debt Of Someone Who Has Passed Away

If you are the executor of a will, you are going to need to make sure that you work with your probate attorney to deal with any debts that the deceased might have had when he or she died. This can be a frustrating process because it will chip away at how much the overall estate is worth and could lead to creditors bothering you. Here are some tips for resolving your loved one’s debts as quickly and efficiently as possible. 1. Identify All of the Debts Your first step is to get a full list of all of the debts that your loved one carried before he or she passed away. You can advertise in the local paper to find any creditors who need to be paid or go through opened bills to get an idea about what debts your loved one owed. Next, you will need to identify which types of debt are solely the responsibility of your loved one. These will need to be paid directly out of the estate and are relatively easy to work with, assuming that the funds are there. You will also need to see if there are any debts that are jointly held, meaning your loved one and another person held the debts together. You will need to speak with the other person on each debt to see if you can pay off half the current debt with the estate and leave the other person to pay the rest, or whatever sort of arrangement is mutually agreeable. Finally, you will need to find any debts that have a guarantor. If there are any debts that have a guarantor, that person is liable for the debt and you simply need to inform him or her that your loved one has passed away. 2. Call the Creditors Next, make sure that you call the creditors to tell them that your loved one has died and that you are going through the estate. This will reduce the number of calls you get asking for money. 3. Use Insurance and Then Pay Off Debts Finally, check to see if your loved one had any insurance for any of the debts. If he or she did, use that insurance to pay off those debts. Then, contact your probate attorney to help figure out which debts have priority with regards to getting paid off. You will need to pay off the debts until they are all paid or until the estate is gone in priority order. Heirs don’t get anything until the debts have been paid off. Consider selling assets to finish paying off the debts. For more information, talk to a probate attorney that specializes in...

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Double Dipping: How To Keep Your Social Security Disability Benefits And Earn Income

Posted by on 9:25 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Double Dipping: How To Keep Your Social Security Disability Benefits And Earn Income

If you are earning Social Security Disability Insurance benefits or SSDI, it’s directly related to your inability to work at your job. Your benefit amount will depend on how much much money you have earned in your lifetime and several other factors, but the Social Security Administration (SSD) provides you with an excellent method of viewing your estimated benefits. While the monthly benefit will come in handy, you may be wondering how you can survive on this benefit amount alone. Your ability to add to the monthly benefit amount by earning income depends on several factors, so read on for more information. Substantial Gainful Activity The SSA refers to the work that you were doing before you became disabled as Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), and to continue to receive benefits you must not earn over a certain amount of money or do similar work. The SSA reasons, and rightly so, that if you can do the same or similar work and earn more than that certain amount of money, then you do not need to collect SSDI benefits. Presently, the maximum you can earn is $1,130 ($1,820 for the blind), but this amount can change from year to year since it’s based on the cost of living. It’s worth noting that you must abide by both of the SGA guidelines to avoid losing your benefits. Even if your income fell below the $1,130 a month limit, if your earnings came from a job where you were essentially doing the very same work that you claimed to be unable to do, (that which qualified you for benefits in the first place,) you could lose your benefits. If you are able to find employment that keeps your income under the limits, you may still earn that income if you don’t do SGA. For example, if your disability limits your ability to stand and walk, you may be able to find a more sedentary job, such as a desk job, that will comply with SGA. The Trial Work Period The SSA also has a program that allows you to make an unlimited amount of income for a limited amount of time. For a rolling nine-month period, where the months do not have to consecutive, you may earn any amount you like and still continue to be eligible for your regular monthly benefit amount. It should be noted that: You must report all income earned to the SSA, whether you exceed the SGA limit or not. You can only participate in the Trial Work Period for a five-year window. If you are experiencing problems getting your Social Security benefits approved, contact an attorney (such as Paul F Guthrie) as soon as possible. Remember, these benefits are yours; you have earned them, you deserve them and you need them, so get some professional legal help in getting...

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