How do you become a green card holder? Part Two

So in part one, I explained how you can obtain a green card through a US citizen. This post will talk about how to get a green card through another green card holder/legal permanent resident.

A green card holder can petition for only certain family members. They can petition for a spouse or an unmarried child. The child may be over 21, they just cannot be married! If the child marries and divorces, the green card holder could petition for the child. The main thing to remember is the child must NOT be married!

A green card holder is much limited in who they can petition a green card for. If a green card holder wanted to bring parents or siblings over to the US, they must wait an appropriate amount of time, then naturalize and become US citizens. Once they become citizens they can apply for their parents, siblings, and married children.

Another issue with a green card holder petitioning for a spouse or child is that there is a wait time, whereas US citizens who petition for spouses do NOT have a wait time and the visa is immediately available. For spouses and children of green card holders and other familial categories of US citizens, there are only a certain amount of visas granted every year. So every month the government puts out a bulletin of how long the wait time is.  Depending on the category the family member is in it normally takes years, but if you are from India, Mexico, or the Philippines where the backlog of visas is higher than other countries, you will wait MANY years.

If a green card holder petitions for their spouse and it is approved, but then the green card holder becomes a US citizen, the spouse will not longer have to wait for a visa, because now he or she is a spouse of a citizen and those visas are available immediately.

Green card holders can only petition for spouses and unmarried children, but there will be a wait time. If possible, it’s always better to naturalize because there are more options available!

If you have any questions, please call our office at (508) 438-1198.

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY JAMIE COSME. IT IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.

#greencard #naturalize #uscitizens #legalpermanentresident #lpr

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How do you become a green card holder? Part One

A person who has a green card has legal permanent resident status. If you are a legal permanent resident or LPR, that means that you can potentially apply for citizenship after a certain period of time. But how do you get a green card?

One of the most common ways is through a family member who is a US citizen. If you are the spouse, an unmarried child under the age of 21, or a parent of a US citizen you are deemed an ‘immediate relative.’ If you are an immediate relative you do not have to wait for a visa, because there are an unlimited number of visas for immediate relatives.

If you are a child of a US citizen who is over 21 and unmarried (first preference), a child of a US citizen who is over 21 and MARRIED (third preference), or a sibling of a US citizen (fourth preference), you will have to wait for your visa, which could potentially take years. If you fit into one of these three preferences, there are only a certain number of visas available and currently the system is backlogged. So although you may be approved for a visa, you have to wait for your visa number to become current in the country you are from before you actually receive it. You can check online for the wait times for these types of visas.

Whether you are an immediate relative or fit into one of the four preferences, you will have to file an I-130 which is a petition to show how you are related to the US citizen, and then at some point you will file an I-485, which is the application for your green card. If you are an immediate relative, it may be possible to file the I-130 and I-485 at the same time.

If you have any questions about the process or want to apply for a green card for a family member, please call our office at 508-438-1198.

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY JAMIE COSME. IT IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.

#greencard #lpr #legalpermanentresident #immigration #visa #uscitizen

Safekeeping of Important Documents

A common question I hear from my clients is: “where should I keep my estate planning documents?” Often, the first thought people a have is to put important documents in safe deposit box. Makes sense, right? Wrong! Unless there is a co-owner on the safe deposit box, no one will be able to gain access to the box or its contents without your permission or court order, and the documents that may provide that permission are in the box! As such, I always advise my clients to not keep their documents in a safe deposit box.

So what other options do you have for safekeeping these documents?

As having the original documents is of utmost importance, it is imperative that the documents are kept in a safe place, but are also accessible. Often, my clients choose to keep the originals at my office with copies at home in a filing cabinet or desk drawer with the location of the original documents noted.

Many times clients will also consider keeping their estate planning documents in a safe, but that presents many of the same problems of keeping the documents in a safe deposit box.

Regardless of whether you choose to keep your estate planning documents at your lawyer’s office or at home, it is imperative that your family knows the location of the documents and how to access them quickly and without delay when they are needed.

 

#estateplanning #will #lawyer

CWOF? Pre-Trial Probation?

If you have a criminal matter and you are thinking about a plea, you have several options, including asking for a CWOF or Pre-Trial Probation, but what is a CWOF and what is Pre-Trial probation and what is the difference between the two terms? Read on.

A CWOF stands for “Continuance without a Finding.” A CWOF is a determination by the court that there is sufficient evidence against the defendant, but the court refrains from entering the ‘guilty’ finding. The CWOF is a final adjudication, but the defendant avoids having the ‘guilty’ on his/her record. The court will continue the case for a certain amount of time, and as long as the defendant adheres to certain conditions, the criminal matter is dismissed. If the defendant violates any of the conditions, the CWOF may be revoked and a guilty finding may be entered, which may include jail time.

Pre-Trial Probation is different than a CWOF because you do not have to admit that there is sufficient evidence against you, and if you violate pre-trial probation you are not found guilty, but your case returns to the court and goes through the process once again.

If you have any questions or find yourself in a criminal conundrum please call our office!

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY JAMIE COSME. IT IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.

 

#cwof #pretrialprobation #criminal

CDL Drivers Keep Right

truck

On the Massachusetts Turnpike (Route 90), and other roads deemed “Metropolitan Roadways” by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a special set of regulations exist governing travel on the highways.

Massachusetts 700 CMR 7.08 specifically deals with operation on the roadways, laying out protocol and special limitations when operating on these roadways.

With CDL Drivers, our practice encounters a lot of problems dealing with travelling in the left lane.  Specifically, 700 MCR 7.08 states: “(13) Keeping to the Right. (a) In the Tunnels. The operator of a truck, bus, school bus, or slow-moving motor vehicle in the Tunnels shall drive only in the right-hand lane unless a toll collector, Massachusetts State Police officer, or sign otherwise directs. 700 CMR: MASSACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION 7.08: continued (b) On Ways Other than the Tunnels. The operator of a motor vehicle on a way other than the Tunnels shall drive in the lane nearest the right shoulder of the roadway, when that lane is available for ordinary travel, except when overtaking another vehicle in that lane or at the direction of a Massachusetts State Police officer or sign. When the lane nearest the right shoulder of the roadway is a creeper lane or breakdown lane, an operator shall drive in the lane adjacent to the creeper lane or breakdown lane, except when overtaking another vehicle in that lane or at the direction of a Massachusetts State Police officer or a sign.”

Essentially, if the road is a 2 lane road, the CDL vehicle should only be in the left lane when overtaking a vehicle or when instructed by an offier or a sign.  When dealing with the 3 lane road ways, the truck should travel in the right lane and only move into the middle lane for passing purposes.  The Left lane is a restricted lane and should not be used for passing purposes by CDL vehicles.  If you are caught in the left lane, Massachusetts State Troopers will issue a vioaltion under 700 CMR 7.08 for a Left Lane Restriction.

A big difference with Massachusetts, as opposed to other states, is that this restriction is NOT POSTED on the roadway.  CDL drivers that use Massachusetts roadways are expected to be aware of this difference and to compley with this restriction.

If you are issued a citation under 700 CMR 7.08, contact Broadbent & Taylor at (508) 438-1198 for representation on the citation.  Protect your license and your livelihood by contesting these tickets.

THIS BLOG WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY KELLY BROADBENT.  THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVISE AND DOES NOT FORM AN ATTORNEY CLIENT PRIVILEGE.

#trafficlawyer, #cdlviolation #massachusetts #speedingticketlawyer

 

 

 

Grandparent Visitation

I often receive inquiries from grandparents wondering what options they have to see their grandchildren. It’s not uncommon for a custodial parent to deny the grandparents (on the other side) time with the grandkids. I often hear things like, “If his parents want to see the kids, it can happen during his visitation!” However, this scenario places the non-custodial parent in the position of having to forfeit some of their [limited] time with the children in order for the grandparents to see the kids. Sometimes parents attempt to establish times the child(ren) can see the grandparents in an Agreement that is filed with the Court under a Complaint for Divorce or Custody-Support-Parenting Time. Unfortunately, as the grandparents are not parties to these types of actions, the Court will not approve such provisions.

Thankfully, there is a statute and case law in Massachusetts that does provide grandparents some rights to visitation in certain circumstances. A grandparent can petition the Probate & Family Court under M.G.L. ch. 119, sec. 39D only if the parents of the minor child(ren) are:

  • Married, but living apart under a Temporary Order or Judgment of Separate Support;
  • Either or both deceased;
  • Unmarried and paternity has been acknowledged and the parents do not live together.

The statute very clearly excludes children of parents who live together.

Upon a Petition for Grandparent Visitation, the Court is guided by the overarching principle of what is in the best interest of the child(ren). There is a presumption that parental decisions regarding grandparent visitation are valid and should be honored. Grandparents seeking visitation must overcome this presumption by alleging and proving that failure to grant visitation rights to the grandparents would result in significant harm to the child(ren)’s health, safety or welfare. The grandparents must also prove that there was a significant preexisting relationship with the child(ren) that should be continued.

If the grandparents are able to establish the preexisting relationship and successfully rebut the presumption, the Court will enter an Order setting out when the grandparents can see the child(ren). The Court will use its best judgment in establishing a fair schedule that serves the best interest of the child(ren) without significantly impeding either parent’s time with the child(ren).

Considering filing a Petition for Grandparent Visitation? Call Broadbent & Taylor for a free consultation today!

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY CATHERINE TAYLOR AND IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THIS DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE OR CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP OF ANY SORT.

 

#attorney #lawyer #familylaw #grandparentvisitation

What Happens to My Social Media Accounts When I Die?

With so much of our lives taking place in the cloud, it is important to think about protecting our digital assets post-mortem. A few online services have a policy regarding what happens to your account, or allow you to select what happens.  For example, Google allows you to “Plan your digital afterlife with inactive Account Manager” which allows you to have your Google data deleted after a selected period of time of inactivity or selected trusted contacts to retrieve your data.  Facebook allows you to designate a “legacy contact” who is able to pin a final post on your timeline after your death. This person cannot log in as you or read private messages, but can respond to new friend requests and update profile and cover photos.

But what about our digital assets, such as our iTunes libraries, e-books, and video games? Are these able to be passed as though they were a vinyl record, leather-bound book, or board game? The answer to that is not so clear. Many companies, such as Apple and Amazon, state in the End User License Agreement when you purchase a digital item that you are simply purchasing the license to use said product, but that you do not actually own that product and do not have the authority to transfer that license to anyone without the express permission of Apple or Amazon. This remains a grey area in the law that is likely to be tested by creative estate planning techniques, such as having the digital assets purchased by a Trust with you and your children as the named beneficiaries, for example.

Many popular social media sites, however, do not have a specific policy like Google or Facebook. Many Social Media providers will only allow the personal representative (formerly known as the executor) to deactivate the deceased person’s account, but will not allow access to private content. The account is owned by the deceased person. As digital assets are a relatively new component to the estate planning puzzle, it remains unclear what these sites will permit if a personal representative is given specific power to access the accounts.

If your social media accounts are not set up to address what happens when you die, your will may leave specific instructions as to your wishes. Instructions may also be left in a trust or power of attorney. I also advise my clients to leave a list with their estate planing documents of their online accounts, usernames and passwords. This eases the difficulty of addressing the digital estate.

Have more questions about protecting your digital assets? Contact Broadbent & Taylor for a free consultation!

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY CATHERINE TAYLOR AND IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THIS DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE OR CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP OF ANY SORT.

 

#estateplan #will #digitalassets #lawyer