Do I need to hire an immigration lawyer?

This is a very popular question we often hear. In our digital age, everyone with a computer hypothethically has access to all the forms, booklets, data, and free information they could ask for. This begs the question: is hiring an immigration lawyer really worth it? Many people think hiring an immigration lawyer is pointless, simply because all of the information is available online already. Many simple immigration cases can be handled without legal representation – but often, immigration cases are complicated.

How much do immigration lawyers charge?

Legal fees for immigration attorneys vary widely. For example, hiring an attorney to help you file a family-based immigration petition, will be less than if you hired an immigration attorney to defend you in a deportation case.

For example, an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles might charge you $500-$1200 for a citizenship/naturalization application, whereas they might charge $1000-$3000 for an asylum application.

Some attorneys may charge you more, if they have more experience, etc, or other advantages.

There are three main reasons you should consider hiring an immigration attorney: the application process for visas and family based petitions is complex. In addition, the US government is increasingly growing towards putting people in detention centers – and deporting them.

Hiring an immigration attorney reduces your risks and increases efficiency

When you hire an immigration lawyer, you’re able to complete your visa application, and therefore save yourself time. On average, it’s been estimated that hiring a visa lawyer can save you 4-8 weeks in processing time. In addition, an immigration lawyer knows exactly what type of visa is pertinent to your case, and can help you compile a valid and formal application without any errors. This will end up saving you tons of time, and money. In addition, it could help you avoid getting rejected – which would case issues in other ways. In addition, hiring an attorney can help prepare you for your interview at a consulate, or at USCIS within the country. Bottom line, you’re lowering chances of getting rejected.

Most people fail to realize that applying for a relief, via a waiver, or a visa adjustment, makes them more likely to get deported and/or excluded. Not hiring an attorney, and making the wrong decision, could harm your future: you risk being deported and excluded from US for a period of 3-20 years.

You’re here illegally, and want to go “legit”

Unlawful presence is a big term, especially now with the elections coming up. Unlawful presence, deals with the fact that some people are here illegally, and are undocumented – and want to get legal residency. Typically, in situations like this – you’ll need to hire an immigration lawyer who can review the facts of your case and help you determine what to do next. It is very difficult, in this situation, to do anything on your own. You will need the services of a Los Angeles immigration attorney, who can advise you. If you file a waiver of inadmissibility, you’ll need an attorney who can help you through this process and lower your overall risks.

This article is by Nima Haddadi, a premier Los Angeles DUI lawyer who has experience handling criminal cases that impact the immigration status of individuals.

How is Property and Debt Divided During Divorce

This article is by Todd Spodek a NYC divorce attorney. It’s common for a couple going through divorce to have to think, and decide, about how to divide their property and debts. Often, parties will prefer deciding on their own – rather than involving a third party, or letting a judge decide. If a couple is unable to agree, they can submit their property and their disputes to the courts – who will use state laws to divide the property and debts.

Courts divide property under two basic methodologies: community property or equitable distribution. Debts, are also divided up based on these principles.

In 10 states, such as Alaska, CAlifornia, Arizona, Idaho, etc, all of the property of a married person is classified as either community property(which means the property is owned equally by both spouses), or the property is defined as the separate property of either spouse. When a couple divorces, the community property is divided in half between the two spouses. Each spouse is entitled to keeping his or her separate property.

Generally, the courts will award each spouse a % of the total value of the property. Each spouse will get personal property, assets, and debts, whose worth adds up to the his, or her, % value that he/she is entitled to. If you are confused about what all of this means, we highly suggest you speak to a Los Angeles divorce lawyer, in order to get more information.
Here are some general guidelines on what is considered community property, and what isn’t:
Community property generally includes all of the earnings and everything materialistically speaking, acquired with those earnings. All debts that incurred during the marriage, are community property debts.
Separate property of one spouse means gifts and inheritances given to just that one spouse. Examples could be personal injury verdicts/settlements, proceeds of a pension(that was vested before marriage). Property purchased with separate funds of a spouse is another example of something that is considered that spouse’s separate property. A business which is owned by one of the spouses before the marriage, remains his or her separate property. The only instance in which the property, or business, could be considered a part of the community property – is if community funds went into the separate property. If community property is commingled with separate property, than that separate property may become in part, or entirely, community property. Getting exact specifics will depend heavily on the advice provided to you by a divorce attorney, familiar with the specifics of your case.
Another important case, especially when dealing with high net worth divorced couples, looking for divorce, is who gets to keep the house or houses. If you have children, then the parent who spends the most time with the kids, remains in the marital home. If you don’t have children, and the house is the separate property of just one spouse – then that spouse has the right to ask the other to leave. If, however, you don’t have children and you own the house together – then life can be trickier. Neither of you can have the other leave, legally. You can request it – but can’t demand it. If you don’t come to a decision, then the courts will decide for you. If your spouse decides to change the locks, and prevent you from entering your home – then you can call the police. The police will instruct the other spouse to open the door, and let you in.

What does a business lawyer actually do?

Running a business can be complicated. We live in a high litigation friendly world – where companies jump at the chance of suing a competitor. The existing economic situations, has made it difficult for small and medium sized businesses to conduct business. There are pitfalls at every step. In addition, due to the upcoming election – there may be a drastic change in the tax code system – due to conflicting views amongst the various candidates. Obamacare, changed healthcare coverage for business owners as we know it.

All of this, and more, pose huge potential issues for business owners. The solution, is hiring a competent business lawyer, who can advise you on the specifics of what you need.

Below are some common scenarios where hiring a business lawyer would be helpful:

You need to protect your intellectual property: Trademarks, copyrights, and patents, are examples of intellectual property. An example of a trademark – is the name Apple. Imagine if a company hijacked it, and started using the name – pretending as if it were the actual Apple company? It would be a nightmare! If Apple didn’t have a trademark, though, they would have no recourse to those violating their mark. The is where a trademark lawyer (a type of business lawyer) would be helpful. Trademark attorneys can help you file a mark, and more importantly – help prevent anyone from violating or infringing upon it.

You need help with contracts: If you are offering an employment agreement, or if you’re buying or selling your business – you’ll need a contracts attorney who can advise you. The point of hiring the los angeles contracts lawyer is to not only help you protect you – but also to help you create a “rock solid” agreement, that enables you to settle future issues without having to go to court, due to specific clauses in the agreement.

You are new to business: If you’re opening a new business, you’ll probably need help formulating a new corporation. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a corporation in order to conduct business. You can simply hang your shingle. But, the issue is without a corporation – you can be sued, and have your personal assets at risk. You can hire a business attorney to help you form either an S corp or a C Corp. Both corps have their advantages and disadvantages. The one thing both do, is protect your personal assets from business liabilities.

You are being sued: If you’re being sued, for a service or product, or some other breach of contract, you’ll need a business lawyer to protect you. Because this is a civil argument, you have to provide your own attorney. Only in criminal cases is an attorney assigned to you, free of charge.