Top 7 Immigration Laws for Families

Immigrating to the United States, as a family member or as an entire family at once, can be more complicated than immigrating alone. While some laws favor family members like children and spouses, the process can be more detailed and the paperwork more lengthy. And with a new administration in charge, things could get even trickier.
Here are seven important immigration laws that families should know.
1. #USImmigrationLaw: What Is Family Based Immigration?
You may have a large family that you love, but who qualifies as “family” under U.S. immigration law can be fairly limited. There are also differences between immediate relative petitions and family preference petitions.
2. #USImmigrationLaw: What Is USCIS Form I-130?
Just one of the many forms you'll need to complete if you're helping a family member immigrate, the I-130 is generally the first step in a relative immigration process. This form enables you to help your relative get an immigrant visa number, but how you pr..

Top 5 Myths About Roe v. Wade

Depending on who you talk to, Roe v. Wade might be the Supreme Court's best or worst decision. It's certainly one of its most controversial. And whether or not you support the Court's ruling, you'll probably end up in a discussion at some point, talking about what it says and what it means for women, for pregnancies, or for the country.
Like many important court cases, there are plenty of misconceptions and misinformation about what Roe means and what its long-term legal impact has been. Here are the five biggest myths regarding the Court's ruling, and the truth behind them.
5. Roe v. Wade Is an Unpopular Opinion
Despite vocal and sometimes violent protests, abortion rights generally and Roe v. Wade specifically remain popular among the majority of Americans. The Pew Research center recently reported that 69 percent of people believe Roe should not be overturned, 59 percent believe abortion should be legal, and less than half of Americans believe abortion is..

Evicted LA Renters Sue Airbnb and Landlord

A group of 6 tenants are suing their former landlord as well as Airbnb claiming that their evictions were illegal as a result of Los Angeles's rent control laws. LA's rent control law covers buildings built in 1978 and earlier, and, like other rent control laws across the country, it prohibits landlords from evicting tenants unless they have a statutorily permitted reason.
The tenants in this lawsuit were evicted because the landlord claimed that the properties would be removed from the market for redevelopment. However, shortly after their eviction, the units were listed on Airbnb as available for rent. The tenants believe that their evictions were done so the landlord could rent out the units on Airbnb for a higher rate. However, the landlord's attorney has commented that the units are scheduled for demolition this month.
Why Is Airbnb Getting Sued?
Despite the fact that Airbnb appears to be on the tenants' side here, they are being sued. Airbnb is involved in ..

Alaska Divorce Courts Must Consider Well-Being of Pets

For millions of people, pets are more than just personal property, they're family. Despite the fact that under the law, a dog, or cat, or any animal is considered the same as any other personal item, courts are increasingly being asked to decide who gets custody of a divorcing couple's pet(s), or even to create custody or visitation schedules.
While many courts have balked at these tasks, and one Canadian judge made headlines for threatening to sell the pet at auction and split the proceeds, the state of Alaska's legislature saw an opportunity and took it. As part of a new law that took effect January 17, 2017, courts in Alaska are now required to consider an animal's well being when deciding who gets custody in a divorce. The law is a first of its kind in the country.
Alaska's New Law
Deciding who gets custody of a pet is not an easy task. Alaska's new law allows judges to essentially treat pets like children, and requires the pet's well-being to ..

Can You Force Your Ex to Leave the Home?

Maybe your spouse did something so heinous, you can't bear the sight of her. Or maybe you don't feel safe with your boyfriend under the same roof. Sharing a living space can make a whole lot of sense, until it doesn't. But what can you do then? Do you have any legal right to expel an ex from a shared apartment or house?
Sorting out residency when a relationship ends is never easy, but there may be ways to at least simplify the process, legally.
Dwelling Diplomacy
As with many issues during a divorce or break-up, the more you can negotiate out of court, the better. It's probably easier said than done, but working out a mutually agreed upon arrangement with your ex can be quicker and simpler than filing papers and attending court hearings. Just make sure that both parties are on the same page and get any agreement in writing.
If you're finding it difficult to meet in the middle, or if discussions between you and your ex are downright impossible, hiring a medi..

Can You Lose Your Passport for Unpaid Taxes?

Late fees. Fines. Wage garnishment. Even prison time. There are plenty of well-known penalties for failing to pay your federal income taxes. Add losing your passport to the list.
If you are seriously delinquent tax debt, the IRS can now report that debt to the State Department, who can in turn either revoke your passport or refuse to issue you one. So what kind of debt classifies as “seriously delinquent”? And how long before the IRS clips your international travel wings?
Tax Travel Ban
The passport law was actually signed by Obama in 2015, but the IRS just recently released details on how and when it will be enforced. According to the IRS's website, the IRS can certify seriously delinquent tax debt to the State Department starting in early 2017. Once that certification happens, the State Department may not issue or renew your passport, and in some cases may revoke it.
The IRS considers any unpaid debt totaling over $50,000 (including interest and penalties) to be serious, and..

Trump Taps Gorsuch for Supreme Court; What Happens Next?

Late last night, President Donald Trump nominated Tenth Circuit Court Judge Neil Gorsuch to the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. Gorsuch has never been shy about his admiration for the late Justice Antonin Scalia (he called him a “lion of the law” during Trump's announcement last night), so perhaps it's appropriate that, if confirmed, he will fill Scalia's empty chair.
The “if confirmed” part is actually a big if, as Senate Democrats are gearing up for a battle over Gorsuch's confirmation. So what happens next on Capitol Hill, and what might happen next on the Court?
Battle Lines
“I took the task of this nomination very seriously,” Trump said last night. “Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline, and has earned bipartisan support.” Those words might not be much comfort to Democrats, who are still smarting after the stalled nomination of Merrick Garland. Garland, nominated by former president Barack Obama almost a year a..

Trump Tabs Gorsuch for Supreme Court; What Happens Next?

Late last night, President Donald Trump nominated Tenth Circuit Court Judge Neil Gorsuch to the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. Gorsuch has never been shy about his admiration for the late Justice Antonin Scalia (he called him a “lion of the law” during Trump's announcement last night), so perhaps it's appropriate that, if confirmed, he will fill Scalia's empty chair.
The “if confirmed” part is actually a big if, as Senate Democrats are gearing up for a battle over Gorsuch's confirmation. So what happens next on Capitol Hill, and what might happen next on the Court?
Battle Lines
“I took the task of this nomination very seriously,” Trump said last night. “Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline, and has earned bipartisan support.” Those words might not be much comfort to Democrats, who are still smarting after the stalled nomination of Merrick Garland. Garland, nominated by former president Barack Obama almost a year a..

When Should You Appeal a Child Custody Ruling?

When a child custody case requires a judge to make a decision regarding custody, then the judge's decision can be appealed. However, most child custody cases are resolved via agreements between parents that get approved by the court.
Settlement agreements are not appealable, though if the judge made an error in approving the agreement, that may be appealable. However, appeals are typically only used when a party believes a judge made an error (legal or otherwise) in reaching their decision. Depending on each state's civil court procedures, the time for filing an appeal will vary, and can range from a matter of a week or two up to about a month. When a parent is not happy with a child custody agreement or order, at anytime after the order becomes final, they can petition the court for a modification.
Appeal Versus Modification
Filing an appeal is a much more involved process than requesting a modification of a previous child custody order. Generally, courts will allow paren..

Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration: What Does It Mean When a Judge Issues a ‘Stay’?

At the tail end of an already busy first week in office, President Trump on Friday issued an executive order banning the entry of all foreign refugees into the country along with nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including those with immigrant visas and possibly green card holders as well.
The response — from protestors and civil rights attorneys — was immediate, and by Saturday night a federal judge in New York issued a “stay,” prohibiting the government from enforcing certain parts of the order. Federal judges in Virginia, Seattle, and Boston did the same, but many are still left in legal limbo while the constitutional crisis sorts itself out.
So what are these stays, whom do they cover, and how long will they remain in effect?
Order and Disorder
Specifically, Trump's executive orders bars admission to the U.S. of all nationals of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, even those with nonimmigrant or immigrant visas. It also bars..