Family-based Immigration: Who is Eligible?

Permanent immigration to the United States comes with a variety of rights and privileges. One way to obtain lawful permanent residency is through a relative who is either a citizen of the United States or a lawful permanent resident.

Who is Eligible?

Unlimited family-based immigration of immediate relatives of U.S. citizens is broken down into 3 groups which are:

  1. Spouses
  2. Unmarried child under the age or 21 of a U.S. citizen
  3. Parents of adult U.S. citizens (21 or older)

Limited family-based immigration is broken down into 4 preference categories which are:

  1. First Preference: Unmarried children over the age of 21 of U.S. citizens
  2. Second Preference: Spouses of lawful permanent residents, their unmarried children under the age of 21, and unmarried children under the age of 21 of lawful permanent residents
  3. Third Preference: Married children of U.S. citizens
  4. Fourth Preference: Siblings of adult U.S. citizen

For more information contact Jane Gekhman at 940/891-4800!

Posted in Immigration Law by Jane M. Gekhman. No Comments

Have you put up collateral on a note or loan?

In Texas,  when a creditor takes possession of collateral they must demonstrate that they have given notice to the debtor or guarantor as well as that the disposition of that collateral is commercially reasonable.  If you have been sued as a debtor or guarantor and have put up collateral, it is very important that you alert your attorney as to the fact that you have placed collateral to guarantee the note or loan.  The attorney must affirmatively plead that not all of the conditions for recovery under the note or loan have occurred and specifically identify the deficiencies that the lender has failed to address.  Because area of the law is highly technical and many of the decisions are made by less experienced personnel at the lending institution, you may be able to avoid your debt with an attorney who is well versed in this type of litigation.

Call Roger Yale at (940) 891-4800!

Posted in Civil General by Jane M. Gekhman. No Comments

Criminal Convictions and Immigration

Each year, thousands of immigrants, many of whom are long-time permanent residents, are placed in removal proceedings because of their criminal convictions. These convictions may have been minor offenses and many may have been committed many years ago. There is no statute of limitations in removal proceedings.

Many of these criminal offenses are classified as “aggravated felonies” although they are neither “aggravated” nor are they “felonies”. Others are classified as “crimes of moral turpitude”. However, immigration consequences of criminal conduct, whether or not there is a conviction, may be deportation.

While a conviction may be expunged for many purposes, expunctions do not wipe your record clean for immigration purposes.  Conduct which does not count as a conviction for criminal purposes may still be considered a conviction for immigration purposes.

Fighting pending criminal allegations is critical for immigration purposes. Naturalizing and becoming United States citizens when eligible is also critical since we do not know what will happened tomorrow in our lives.

For more information contact Jane Gekhman at 940/891-4800!

Posted in General Immigration Law by Jane M. Gekhman. No Comments

Morality Clause…to date or not to date, that is the question.

In Texas, a morality clause is a provision in a court order that states that neither parent can have a romantic partner stay the night while the children are present. The purpose of a morality clause is to prevent parents from exposing the children to several new dating partners.  If there is a morality clause in your court order, your options are: get married, risk losing your kids if you violate the morality clause, or during the other parent’s possession of the children, stay the night with your partner assuring that the children are not present.

If the morality clause is violated, Judges in Texas may and often will change custody of the children.  Judges will also often enforce these provisions and the parent in violation may end up serving jail time and paying fines for the violations.

Posted in Family Law General by Jane M. Gekhman. No Comments

Mediation

Why Choose Mediation?

More and more people are choosing mediation as a means to resolve issues when going through a divorce or a custody battle.  Mediation can be a very successful and efficient tool to bring a lawsuit to a close. In Texas, courts often order parties to attend mediation prior to having a final trial.

Rules of Mediation

Any offers that are communicated during mediation are inadmissible at any future hearings. Any agreements that are entered into during mediation are reduced to writing and conformed into a document called a “Mediated Settlement Agreement.”  This document becomes a contractually binding agreement that cannot be changed absent a showing of fraud, coercion, or duress in the procurement of the Mediated Settlement Agreement.

What to Bring to Mediation

In a divorce proceeding, bring your most recent financial statements, retirement account statements, and debt documentation. House appraisal documents and blue book values on automobiles and other vehicles will also be helpful to you at mediation.

If children are involved, bring personal calendars with records of the children’s activities as well as when you had possession of the children if you are in a custody battle.

Posted in Family Law General by Jane M. Gekhman. No Comments

Charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in Denton, County?

In Texas, a person is legally intoxicated and may be arrested and charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) with a 0.08 blood or breath alcohol concentration.  It is important to keep in mind that certain factors such as gender, body weight, amount of food consumed, and number of drinks a person had and in what time frame, affect the body’s ability to handle alcohol.

Texas law defines intoxication as “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; OR (b) having an alcohol concentration of .08 or more.”

Punishment for DWI varies and is generally as follows:

First Offense                   

  • A fine of up to $2,000
  • Three days to 180 days in jail
  • Loss of driver license up to a year
  • If blood alcohol content is 0.12 or higher, increased penalties may apply

Second Offense

  • A fine of up to $4,000
  • One month to a year in jail
  • Loss of driver license up to two years

Third Offense

  • A $10,000 fine
  • Two to 10 years in prison
  • Loss of driver license up to two years

If a driver has been convicted of DWI within the past ten years, or caused an accident with injuries, he or she may be charged with felony DWI. In addition, driving while intoxicated with a passenger under the age of fifteen may also result in a felony DWI charge.

 If you are charged with a DWI in Denton County, call YALE LAW GROUP at 940/891-4800 immediately!

Posted in General by Jane M. Gekhman. No Comments

TAX DEDUCTIONS FOR CHILDREN IN A DIVORCE

There is often a question who will have the tax deductions for the children following a divorce of parents.  The short answer is the parent who has the child or children the majority of the time, that being more than 50 percent of the time.  However, the parties may agree to divide the deductions as a means of settling their marital estate and in doing so the Internal Revenue Service requires that a form be completed.  That form is Form 8332.  That form may be obtained at WWW.IRS.GOV.   If the Final Decree of Divorce is silent as to who can claim the children then the parent who has the children the majority of the time is recognized as the proper party by the Internal Revenue Service.  There are certain instances where it is favorable for a party to negotiate away their right to claim the children as deductions.  One example would be where a stay-at-home parent has no income and therefore could not use the deduction, while the other parent may be a high income earner and would benefit by the deduction reducing their total taxable income.  In any event, a rough calculation as to the value of the tax deductions should be done before you give away this valuable asset.

Posted in Civil Family Law General by Jane M. Gekhman. 1 Comment

I-601A Waiver: Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver

On January 3, 2013, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a new unlawful presence waiver rule, which allows certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are physically present in the U.S. to request provisional unlawful presence waivers prior to departing the United States for consular processing of their immigration visa applications.

Who is eligible to apply for a provisional waiver in the United States?

In order to be able to apply for a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, the applicant must be:
(1) at least 17 years old;
(2) an immediate relative of a U.S. ;
(3) present in the United States at the time of filing the application for a provisional presence waiver and for biometrics collection;
(4) upon departure, would be inadmissible only under section 212(a)(9)(B)(i) of the Act (i.e. would subject only to the 3- or 10-year bars of inadmissibility for unlawful presence in excess of 180 days);
(5) is the beneficiary of an approved immediate relative petition (Form I-130 or I-360);
(6) has a case pending with the Department of State based on the approved immediate
relative petition and has paid the immigrant visa processing fee as evidenced by a State Department Visa Processing Fee Receipt;
(7) will depart from the United States to obtain the immediate relative immigrant visa; and
(8) must be able to demonstrate “extreme hardship” to his or her U.S. citizen spouse or parent.

For more information on the I-601A Waiver, contact Jane Gekhman at 940/891-4800!

Posted in Immigration Law by Jane M. Gekhman. No Comments

Temporary Visas/Nonimmigrant Visas

Temporary visas, also known as nonimmigrant visas, are typically for international people coming to the United States temporarily for a variety of reasons such as tourism, business, medical treatment, etc.

Student Visa

Student visas include a range of visas that allow international students to study in colleges and/or universities in the United States.

Visitor/Tourist Visa

A Visitor/Tourist Visa is a non-immigrant visa issued to people entering the United States to visit for pleasure (tourism) or for business purposes. These types of visas are typically issued for a specific amount of time. However, an additional extension may be obtained upon approval by USCIS.

Transit Visa

Transit visa allows foreign nationals to enter into the United States while transiting to another foreign country. This category allows individuals to enter the United States in transit to another final destination.

Fiancé(e) Visa

K1 fiancé visa is available to foreign citizens who are engaged to be married to United States citizens. Foreign citizen in the United States on Fiancé visas must marry their U.S. citizen fiancé within 90 days of being on U.S. soil.

Investor Visa

The investor visa is issued to individuals who invest in businesses/companies in the United States.

For more information on these or other nonimmigrant/temporary visas, contact Jane Gekhman at 940/891-4800!

Posted in Immigration Law by Jane M. Gekhman. No Comments

ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR DEFERRED ACTION?

         As many of you know, President Obama, through executive order, enacted a deferred action, also known as the Dream Act on June 15, 2012.  The requirements to be eligible are as follows:

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

The Dream Act is a welcome addition for our prospective citizens.  There is minimal application work and fees had been kept to a minimum by the government to enable as many people as possible to take advantage of this act.  If you would like further information or would like to schedule an appointment with us, please call Jane Gekhman or Haim Vasquez at (940) 891-4800 and we can give you more particulars regarding the Dream Act and how our firm can help you.

Posted in Immigration Law by Jane M. Gekhman. No Comments