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New York Legal Blog

Family law: Can you tell divorce facts from fiction?

Divorce is not all that uncommon, so it is easy to see why some New York residents might be hanging on to outdated information. The reality is simply that divorce is changing. Long-held beliefs about family law, the divorce rate and whether unhappy parents should stick it out are usually no longer relevant. Consider some of the following divorce information.

When asked about America's divorce rate, most people might reply that it is 50%. While that might have been the case in the past, it is no longer true. The most current statistic shows that only 39% marriages end in divorce. There were approximately 782,000 divorces in 2018, which comes out to about 2.9 divorces for every 1,000 people. Compare this with four divorces per 1,000 people in 2000.

Real estate disclosures can help you avoid a money pit

Purchasing a new home is often a risk, especially if the property is not a new construction. Homes with histories may have hidden defects or issues. Sometimes, if the buyer had known beforehand about certain problems with the house, he or she may not have gone through with the purchase.

If you are in the market for a new home, you certainly do not want to be caught off guard or left with repair expenses that a fair disclosure may have prevented. By law, a seller must inform a buyer of certain defects and conditions, so you may have a case for seeking legal redress if the seller of your home hid critical information from you about the condition of the property.

Family law: Finding security in a prenup

There are a lot of misconceptions about prenuptial agreements. One of those misconceptions is that prenups are only for the very wealthy or for those who have a number of assets to protect. Another is that couples only sign prenups when they anticipate getting divorced. Neither of these are true. In family law, prenuptial agreements are helpful planning tools for virtually all couples in New York.

Although it is true that prenuptial agreements do generally address what will happen to assets during a divorce, this is not a bad thing. It might even improve communication skills and predict how any given couple might handle future conflicts. Talking about what to do with assets in the event of a divorce is admittedly difficult, but those who successfully get through the process might already show just how much conflict they can handle during marriage.

Fake court dates keeping out people re asylum

Getting asylum is not always easy, but it is a big victory for those who achieve it and go on to successfully live and work in New York. However, some people are finding that being granted asylum is not actually giving them the opportunity to enter the United States. Immigration officials at the border are apparently turning away people who have been granted asylum and even going so far as to issue fake court dates instead.

One man recently learned that his court date set in Jan. 2020 is fake, and that no such court date ever existed. Upon learning that his request for asylum had been granted, the 25-year-old man traveled to a port of entry where he presented the necessary documents to an official with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The official refused to let him into the country and instead provided him with a notice for the court date.

Former immigration officer discovered he was not a citizen

Adults and teenagers who were brought to the United States as young children are sometimes led to believe that they are American citizens. People in this situation usually do not realize that they are actually undocumented immigrants until they have to submit paperwork for things like college applications or when sponsoring a family member's immigration to New York. A former immigration officer with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection -- CBP -- recently experienced this difficult discovery.

During his 50 years living in the United States, the former immigration served in the navy and deployed overseas on five different occasions. He eventually went on to work for CBP as an immigration officer, where he was employed for 20 years. He lost that job after he tried to sponsor his brother's emigration from Mexico. After he submitted their respective paperwork he was told that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had found his original birth certificate, which showed he was born in Mexico.

Building a criminal defense for a DWI charge

Being charged with any type of criminal offense can be a distressing and confusing experience. New York criminal law is a complicated topic, so you might not even be sure why you were arrested for driving while intoxicated. It is very difficult to build an effective criminal defense when you do not fully understand the nature of your arrest. Here are just a few reasons why a person might be charged with a DWI and the possible criminal consequences.

Like most people, you probably associate DWIs with alcohol. If a police officer suspects that a driver might be driving while drunk, he or she can request that the driver submit to one or more tests to determine blood-alcohol content. The legal limit for BAC is .08%, so you might have been charged if your BAC registered as this amount or higher. If your BAC was .18% or even higher you might have been charged with an aggravated DWI and face much more severe criminal penalties. Drivers who are under the influence of drugs can also be charged with DWI.

Has considerable debt started affecting your mental health?

Some people may worry that, if they face money problems, then they are not as good as other people or are less successful. However, anyone could end up in a situation that results in serious debt accumulation. Of course, knowing that it could happen to anyone does not necessarily make those facing debt problems feel better.

In fact, it is common for people with substantial debt to face serious emotional and mental distress. As a result, you may be among the many people in New York and across the country who face many difficulties in your life due to your financial problems.

Family immigration can reunite loved ones

Living and working in New York state is a dream that many people share. However, United States citizens and permanent residents might find that it can be a lonely experience without any family around. If a person's family are foreign born, helping them come to the United States can assist in addressing that problem. This can be accomplished through family immigration.

A citizen can petition for his or her family members, but there are restrictions. For example, petitioning on behalf of a cousin or an uncle is not possible. A citizen can only petition for certain family members, such as spouses, children younger than 21 and parents, and different family members are also ranked by priority. Green card holders may also petition for family members, but are restricted to spouses, children younger than 21 and unmarried children older than 21. These options are only for family members who are not currently in the country or who have entered illegally.

Is immigration possible with the diversity visa lottery?

There are many different options for traveling and moving to the United States. Many of those immigration options are for narrow purposes, like employment. Foreign nationals who do not qualify for those types of specific visas might want to consider the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program instead. This can be a better opportunity for people who are excited about the possibility of immigrating to New York. 

The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program helps citizens of countries with low immigration rates to the United States get visas. There are 50,000 diversity visas available every year. That may sound like a lot, but compared to the number of people waiting for a diversity visa, it is not many at all. On top of that, the list of countries that qualify for this program can change every year. This means that a person who did not receive a diversity visa might not even have the opportunity to apply the next year.

Will the health care requirement make immigration harder?

Moving to New York is often an opportunity for immigrants to improve their lives in a number of ways, including financially. However, an executive order from the president could make it harder for many immigrants to achieve those goals. The new immigration rule will require people to prove that they can afford health insurance, which is notoriously expensive in the United States.

A study from the Kaiser Family Foundation already shows that noncitizens are more likely to not have insurance coverage than citizens. This does not mean that immigrants who have legal status do not have any type of coverage. In fact, 77% -- a majority of those individuals -- are currently covered by some type of insurance policy.

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