The Legal Side of Adoption

Posted by on Jul 17, 2019 in Adoption

Adoption is a great avenue for those looking to raise children who cannot conceive one themselves. Unfortunately, adoption comes with a variety of legal challenges that can put a lot of stress on families looking to adopt.

After a friend of mine went through the adoption process, I realized how complicated the legal aspects of adoption can be. I decided to research for myself the legal side of the adoption process can be — check out what I found below!

The Different Types of Adoption

Unconventional methods of adoption can pose significant legal challenges to you and your partner. These unconventional methods of adoption include:

  • Adoption by a Same-Sex Couple
  • Adopting from a Foreign Country
  • Adopting an Adult
  • Adoption by a step-parent
  • Adoption by a grandmother or grandfather

Because these methods of adoption differ from the norm, they have different rules and regulations associated with them. It is important to understand how these rules and regulations may affect your ability to adopt a child and grow your family.

Don’t believe that just because you and your partner are not the typical couple or that your situation is not conventional that you lose your right to adopt a child. Laws and rules are changing to permit more and more people to adopt couples. It is certainly always worth going out and speaking with an expert or adoption agency to discover what your options are.

Make sure to understand that family laws vary from state to state. Don’t assume that one law in one state will transfer to another. Familiarize yourself with the adoption laws and regulations in your particular state to avoid making mistakes and to truly understand what adoptions you have.

Mistakes in Adoption

Adoption is a lengthy process that requires a host of various meetings and applications to fill out. You don’t want to miss out on adopting the child of your dreams because of a simple mistake. These mistakes could cost your adoption altogether or significantly delay an already long process. To avoid making mistakes, you should contact a lawyer like those working at BB Law Group, PLLC that specializes in adoption proceedings as soon as possible.

How an Adoption Lawyer Can Help

You might be asking yourself, how can an adoption lawyer help me through the adoption process? Adoption lawyers are well-versed in exactly how to fill out any forms and paperwork you need to complete to secure your adoption. These attorneys are also well-versed in the unconventional scenarios and situations that may prove adopting a child difficult for either you or a loved one.

In addition, if you are facing barriers to adoption by the adoption agency you are looking to adopt from, a lawyer can help ensure that you are your rights are protected.

If necessary, an adoption attorney can represent you in court and fight for your ability to grow your family just like anyone else. Don’t attempt to represent yourself — an adoption attorney has the knowledge and expertise to all you to avoid any costly mistakes.

Learn More

Pedestrian Safety Tips

Posted by on May 26, 2019 in Car Accidents

One of the biggest ways to improve your health is to walk more. If you’re an able-bodied individual with the means to increase the amount of walking you do in your daily activities, walking an additional thirty minutes to an hour is a feasible goal that can help you live a longer, healthier life. It can be as simple as choosing a parking spot that’s a little out of your way or a major change, like walking to work or the grocery store. A few hundred extra steps a day can have long-term benefits on your cardiovascular health. It also helps get more vitamin D since you’re spending a lot more time outside.

There are a few downsides to walking more. One, your commute will be much longer than if you drove or rode the bus. Two, your shoes may get worn down faster, causing you to need to buy new shoes more often. Additionally, inclement weather can ruin a nice walk home. An unexpected storm can spell disaster for a pedestrian. In addition to avoiding cars that hit puddles, pedestrians also run the risk of ruining their possessions. A drop of water can ruin a laptop or make mascara start running. Proper outerwear and an umbrella can reduce the damages caused by rain.

Another downside of walking is traffic. Many roads don’t have good sidewalks with ample room separating the pedestrians from the cars zooming past them. A driver that is not paying attention to their surroundings is a dangerous one. In the split second that the driver is checking their rearview mirror or adjusting the volume on their radio, a pedestrian will have stepped out on the road. The lack of focus on the road spells danger to any nearby pedestrian. Even if the driver swerves and slams on their brakes, the person walking will still almost definitely get hit.

Now, it seems pretty clear that this is the fault of the driver. Driver negligence accounts for a startling number of injuries to pedestrians every year. However, many insurance companies will try and place the blame on the pedestrian, often cross-examining them to the point of false self-incrimination. Someone who is well-versed in these situations, like a Seattle injury attorney, will be able to stand up for the injured pedestrian. If you made the decision to start walking everywhere in order to be healthier and ended up grievously injured, you deserve to be taken care of. An attorney can help fight unfair insurance claims, and help recover lost wages and cover medical expenses. If a loved one has died from injuries resulting from being struck by a reckless driver, you also may be entitled to compensation for their medical expenses. Although it won’t bring your loved one back, holding the driver accountable for his or her actions will help keep the roads a little bit safer for every pedestrian out there.

Learn More

Constitutional Protections for DUI Charges: The Fourth and Fifth Amendments

Posted by on May 5, 2018 in DUI Charges

On June 21, 1788, the United States Constitution was ratified. The document remains the law of the Land today, with a few modifications, known as amendments. The Constitution has become a symbol of the American ideals of freedom, liberty, and justice. Though over 200 years old, the Constitution remains essential to this day.

As you can already tell, I am a bit of a constitutional nerd. I am amazed by the idea that words written by individuals so many years ago can have such a lasting impact on our everyday lives. Specifically, when it comes to the Constitution, I am particularly interested in the protections it offers individuals who are charged with crimes. To research and further understand these protections, I decided to look up and examine some of the protections given to individuals accused of one of the most common crimes: Driving Under the Influence (DUI).

The crime of DUI concerns an individual who is operating his or her motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content above a certain specified limit. Often, individuals are unjustly charged with a DUI offense. If this is the case, they do not have to submit to the justice system without a fight. They have the protections of the Constitution on their side.

During my research, I came across an exceptional article by the DUI lawyers of Truslow & Truslow. The article explained that an individual wrongfully charged with DUI has two constitutional weapons on his side: The Fourth Amendment and the Fifth Amendment.

The article explained that the Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. This protection would take effect if an officer pulled someone over when they had reasonable suspicion in violation of the Constitution. According to the article, a reasonable suspicion could be created by strange driving behaviors, such as an illegal turn, extremely slow or fast driving, or drifting from lane to lane. When the reasonable suspicion is not enough, yet the officer pulls someone over, the Fourth Amendment may protect that individual from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Also, the article explained that the Fifth Amendment protects an individual from being a witness against himself in a criminal case. This amendment is where the term “I plead the Fifth” comes from. Pleading the fifth means that you can remain silent after you were arrested for a DUI charge. The Fifth Amendment inherently limits the evidence that can be used against you during your trial.

The Fourth and Fifth Amendments provide rights for those wrongfully charged with DUI offenses. Our country was built on the Constitution, and we need to understand, appreciate, and incorporate the protections the Constitution gives individuals. Of course, we were meant to use these protections. Otherwise, the founders would not have written them into our supreme document. These protections should be used even in the most common charges, such as DUI charges. Know your rights and plead the Fifth!

Learn More

Semi-Truck Collides with Convoy of US Politicians

Posted by on Sep 25, 2017 in Car Accidents

For anybody who ever drives, and even people who are just passengers, the possibility of a car crash is something you must always be aware of. As this Des Moines Car Accident Lawyer’s website says, car accidents can impact people’s lives in many ways, both health-wise, financially, work-wise, and emotionally. The effects of a crash can vary significantly. Sometimes, it’ll only be a fender that does negligible damage to either damage. Sometimes it may only be the car that is seriously injured. But, distressingly often, car accidents do something that’s far worse than property damage- they kill or seriously injure people. Sometimes, they may be people who were at no fault at all for the crash, and just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Fortunately, no one was seriously injured in a recent car wreck that involved several US politicians. The accident occurred when a semi-truck collided with a vehicle convoy. Two members of the staff of the House Agricultural Committee, along with one from the US Department of Agriculture, were sent to the hospital following the accident. They were discharged soon after, following medical examinations that showed no long-term injuries to either of them. Sid Miller, the Texas Agriculture Commissioner, was driving in another car that was hit. However, he suffered no injuries and was able to leave the scene on his own.

The politicians had arrived in Houston following Hurricane Harvey. The plan was to assess the damage to the area and determine the best course of action to deal with the devastation. They were about to go to a news conference after hearing from a group of local farmers. Sadly, their efforts had to be cut short because of the accident. It is unclear when they will be able to resume their efforts to help the city of Houston.

The accident easily could have been much worse than it was. Truck accidents are some of the most dangerous car accidents to be in, and collisions on the highway have a very high rate of casualties. The people involved should consider themselves lucky that they were able to walk away from it so lightly.

And we should consider this a lesson. Car accidents can happen to anyone, at any time, no matter how many precautions we take to keep ourselves safe. The only way to ensure you won’t be involved with one is to not drive. But you can take steps to make sure that you aren’t the cause of one, and that if one does happen, you’re as safe as possible. First of all, make sure you’re always alert while driving. Don’t text. Don’t eat. Don’t apply makeup. Don’t talk on your cell phone. Keep your eyes on the road. Always wear your seatbelt. Regularly check on your car and make sure all the safety features are working properly. As long as you do this, you can minimize the risks from any crash that may happen.

Learn More

Types of Business Bankruptcy

Posted by on Jun 2, 2016 in Bankruptcy

The challenges faced by many small businesses are sometimes too much, resulting to these firms thinking if filing bankruptcy would be a beneficial move for them. Bankruptcy is a process that individuals or companies go through to help them eliminate or repay their debts which have increased to an amount that is quite impossible to manage. While individuals file for personal bankruptcies, the type filed by firms are business bankruptcies, which are either liquidations or reorganizations.

The specific bankruptcy chapter that a business may file depends on it form of business. Sole proprietorships, which are legal extensions of the owner (making an owner of a business firm responsible for all assets and liabilities of his or her firm), can file business bankruptcy under Chapter 7, Chapter 11, or Chapter 13. Partnerships and corporations, on the other hand, being legal entities separate from their owners, can file business bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 11.

For a firm that really has no future, has no substantial assets, or the debts of which are so overwhelming so that restructuring it would not amount to any benefits, Chapter 7 business bankruptcy may be the best option. A firm filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also called Liquidation bankruptcy, simply means that business operations are over.

The firm itself, and whatever assets it has, will have to be surrendered to a court-appointed trustee who, in turn, is tasked to liquidate these and use whatever amount is earned to pay the firm’s creditors. At the end of the bankruptcy case, the sole proprietor will receive a “discharge,” which releases him or her from any further obligation in connection to the debts (this discharge is not available to partnerships and corporations).

If the firm still has a future, then Chapter 11 business bankruptcy would be the ideal choice. This chapter involves a plan wherein financial reorganization is made and the firm allowed to balance its income and expenses, continue earning profits, as well as operations. Reorganization is made under the guidance of a court-appointed trustee, who may also happen to be the owner of the company.

While it is true that many small corporations, limited liability companies, and partnerships shy away from Chapter 11, because it is risky, complex, time-consuming and expensive, many still choose it because it is the only bankruptcy chapter that allows firms to restructure and continue operations.

Chapter 13 business bankruptcy, the third option, but only for sole proprietors, allows business owners to restructure their debt payment plan. For sole proprietors to qualify under Chapter 13, however, their unsecured debt should not be more than $383,175, and their secured debt, not more than $1,149,525.

Learn More

Postpartum Depression

Posted by on Jan 24, 2016 in Death

Having a child is an experience filled with joy, excitement, and nerves for most people. However, following child birth, many mothers will experience something known as postpartum depression. While “baby blues” are feelings of sadness after birth that last for a couple of weeks and can usually resolve on their own, postpartum depression involves much more severe feelings that last for months or even years after giving birth to a child.

Mothers suffering postpartum depression may experience feelings of inadequacy and fear that they are not a good mother. They may also have extreme mood swings, anxiety, and cry frequently. These symptoms can not only affect the mother themselves, but can prevent them from developing a connection or relationship with their baby. While some symptoms may go away with sleep and assistance with the care of the newborn, others may become worse. When this is the case, postpartum depression begins to interfere with a mother’s life and day-to-day activities, making treatment essential.

Although many mothers are extremely busy after giving birth to a child, it is important to seek therapy if you are experiencing postpartum depression. According to The Solace Center website, a therapist will help you identify the issues that are leading to your disorder as well as help you become more self-aware and develop coping skills when these problems threaten to take over your life.

The relationship between a mother and a child is one of the most important ones in many women’s lives. However, suffering from postpartum depression can cause women to be unable to nurture this relationship properly as well as take care of themselves. By seeking therapy for these symptoms, women can take control of their lives and build a better foundation with their newborn.

Learn More

How to Qualify for an H-1B Visa

Posted by on Sep 22, 2015 in Immigration

Under section 101(a)(15)(H) of the US Immigration and Nationality Act, US employers are allowed to hire (on temporary basis) foreign workers in specialty occupations. Qualified foreign nationals are to be issued an H-1B visa, which is a non-immigrant visa that has a duration of three years, but which may be extended up to six years. Though non-immigrant in nature, H-1B visa holders are eligible to seek permanent residency in the nation.

Possible recipients of an H-1B visa include foreign nationals who are hired to perform services in: specialty occupations; research and development projects for the Department of Defense (DOD); and, fashion modeling.

The most basic criteria for a foreign national to qualify for an H-1B visa are; (i) a foreign national’s possession of a Bachelor’s or higher degree from a recognized foreign institution or accredited US university/college, or a specialty training plus work experience (at least 12 years in his/her chosen field of specialty) which may be a substitute for the Bachelor’s or higher degree, and, (ii) filing of an approved form ETA-9035, Labor Condition Application (LCA), with the form I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant worker by the US employer, who intends to hire the foreign national, with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The sensitivity of, and the demands associated with, the works that fall under H-1B visa category call for strict compliance with these basic requirements.

The specific visa categories and the other criteria for each are as follows:

1. H-1B Specialty Occupations. The list of jobs under this visa category includes accounting, medicine and health, business specialties, mathematics, engineering, chemistry, social sciences, education, arts, theology, law, biotechnology, and so forth. Other requirements in order to qualify for an H-1B Specialty Occupations visa include:

  • Acquisition of an unrestricted state registration, license, or certification that will allow the foreign national to fully practice the specialty occupation
  • Proof of progressively responsible experience in the chosen field of specialty (which is equivalent to a degree in the chosen field), and recognition of expertise through the holding of responsible positions that are directly related to the specialty

2. H-1B2 DOD Researcher and Development Project Worker. Though this H-1B category does not require the second (ii) basic requirement mentioned above, the work can only be provided through a government-to-government agreement that is administered by the US Department of Defense. Other requirements that need to be complied with under this visa category are the same as in H-1B Specialty Occupations.

3. H-1B3 Fashion Model. This visa category is issued only to fashion models of distinguished merit and ability. As for the basic requirements, a labor certification (from the US Department of Labor) and the filing of an approved LCA with the form I-129 by the prospective employer are the only criteria that need to be complied with.

Below are some of the other essential things that foreign nationals need to understand about the H-1B visa:

  • 12 points need to be earned to qualify under the H1B visa program (3 points are given for every year of studies in a college or university and 1 point for each year of work experience)
  • The annual numerical cap or limit for H-1B visa is 65,000 for each fiscal year; exemption from this cap, however, is granted to the first 20,000 petitions filed in behalf of those with a US Master’s degree or higher, and to those who are to be employed in institutions of higher education or in non-profit entities affiliated to these, government research organizations, or non-profit research organizations
  • While H-1B non-immigrant visa recipients are usually allowed to work in the US only up to six years, exceptions, based on sections 104(c) and 106(a) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21), may be applied
  • Costs of return transportation of foreign national upon termination of work by the US employer or at the end of his/her authorized period of stay is to be shouldered by his/her employer (this does not include voluntary resignation, though)
  • An H-1B visa holder is allowed to have multiple works. Each of his/her employers, though, should approve his/her Form I-129 petition. He/She may also work for another employer, requiring only an H1 transfer case and the filing of new Form I-129 petition (by his/her new employer)
  • As an employee in the US, an H-1B visa holder enjoys all the benefits of employment, including sick/maternity/paternity and vacation leaves, going on strike
  • An H-1B visa holder’s family (spouse and unmarried children below 21) is allowed to stay in the US for as long as the H-1B visa is valid.
Learn More

Divorce: Dividing Assets and Properties

Posted by on May 13, 2015 in Assets

There is no way to sugarcoat the process of divorce. Going through one will surely be a trying time. No matter how amicable the decision, a couple that have decided to end their union and file for a divorce will be going through a lot emotionally and psychologically. The stress of the situation doubles when couples have to take into consideration the many legal issues they have to come in agreement on. Among such complications include the decision on how they will have their shared assets and properties divided.

According to the website of divorce lawyer from Arenson Law Group, PC, divorcing couples can decide on their own how they would like to have their assets and properties divided. However, in most cases, such decisions come to an impasse and the possibility of coming to an amicable arrangement is lost. Property division and other financial concerns are typically very hotly contested issues during divorce proceedings. There is usually plenty of baggage when couples have to decide what to do with their assets and properties, especially if one spouse had been financially dependent on the other. When this happens, the court—with the judge acting as executor—will have to step in to make the decision for the couple. It is fundamental therefore to hire a highly trained lawyer.

The court divides a divorcing couple’s shared assets and properties after taking several factors into consideration. Ideally, family courts prefer to divide assets and properties equally. However, this decision can’t always be applicable for most scenarios. The court will try to exercise fairness and examine the incomes and earning opportunities of each spouse. Factors like the age and health of each spouse can also be taken into consideration. Sometimes, family courts will also consider the how long the marriage lasted. If the couple has children together, the court will also make necessary provisions for the spouse that had been granted with physical custody.

Generally, the court will take into consideration specific details that will help them determine the best decision for a given situation. It can take some time before a judge can definitively decide how to divide a divorcing couple’s shared assets and properties. This can cause a lot of stress for the individuals involved in the process, particularly if the divorce is already antagonistic from the start. It will help if the couple can seek out experienced legal counsel on their own to learn more about how they can ease the process.

Learn More

US Statistics on Accidental Amputations

Posted by on Jan 19, 2015 in Personal Injury

We understand that loss of limbs can easily happen in serious accidents, but we don’t really know what it does to a person who undergoes accidental amputations until it happens to us. People tend to avoid thinking about horrific possibilities because it stresses them out, which is why it is so traumatic when it does happen.

Amputations are defined as the disconnection of an appendage or limb from the body in a surgical or traumatic event. Non-traumatic reasons for an amputation may be due to prevent complications due to poor circulation to the affected appendage leading to tissue necrosis (gangrene) or for a current infection that is not responding to antibiotics. Approximately 200 people have surgical amputations. Traumatic amputations, on the other hand, are usually due to some type of accident, and this happens to about 30,000 people annually. About 2 million people live with an amputated limb, a quarter of which is due to accidental amputations, of which 70% involve upper limbs.

An accidental amputation may involve part of a finger or toe or it could involve an entire leg or arm. This may be due to vehicular collisions, work-related incidents, explosives or firearms, electrocution, or building accidents among other things. The amputation may be sudden, such as forceful separation at the time of the incident, or eventual, such as when the limb of an accident victim is pinned for a considerable period preventing the blood from circulating, leading to tissue death. The latter makes amputation medically necessary.

The most common cause of accidental amputations are vehicular accidents, and to make matters worse, 22% those who have lower limb amputations are readmitted to the hospital for complications within 30 days. As pointed out on Habush Habush & Rottier S.C.® website, major limb loss racks up huge medical and related expenses and this is made worse by complications.

Accidental amputations can mean considerable loss not only in the physical, emotional and psychological sense but also financially. When it is due to the negligent act of a third party, it just makes it worse knowing that it was completely preventable.

If you suffered a negligent accidental amputation, it’s just right that you sue the responsible parties for compensation of your losses. Consult with an experienced accidental amputation lawyer in your state to take matters in hand.

Learn More

Theft in Texas

Posted by on Oct 27, 2014 in Criminal Defense

There are many kinds of theft under Texas law, and even under the same kind there are different levels that dictate the kind of punishment that a convicted defendant will have to face. For example, identity theft is one type of theft if it leads to the use of identifying information to get something of value, but it is not a physical object as we normally associate with thievery. The same goes for copyright or piracy crimes.

By definition under the Texas Penal Code (Ann. § 31.03), theft is the unlawful appropriation of property with the intention to take it away permanently from the owner (paraphrased). In layman terms, you have committed theft if you take something that isn’t rightfully yours without planning to give it back without the consent of the owner or without any acceptable justification under the law. There are fine shades to this definition as competent Austin criminal defense lawyers will be quick to detect but which may not be apparent to the untrained eye, which is the reason why it is advisable to consult with a criminal defense lawyer when charged with any crime.

Basically, the severity of an offense is directly proportionate to the financial value of the property or service that was appropriated but in some instances may also be based on the type of property taken. Below are some of the general classifications and criminal consequences for theft in Texas.

  • Less than $50 – Class C misdemeanor, fine up to $500, no jail time
  • More than $50 but less than $500 or property stolen was an identity card i.e. driver’s license – Class B misdemeanor, fine up to $2,000 and/or jail time up to 180 days
  • $500 or more but less than $1,500 – Class A misdemeanor, fine up to $4,000 and/or jail time up to one year
  • $1,500 or more but less than $20,000 or certain property such as livestock or firearms valued at less than $20,000 – state jail felony, fine up to $10,000 and/or minimum jail time of 180 days but no more than 2 years
  • $20,000 or more but less than $100,000 or certain property such livestock or firearms valued at less than $100,000 – Third degree felony, fine up to $10,000 and/or jail time of two to 10 years
  • $100,000 or more but less than $200,000 – Second degree felony, fine up to $10,000 and/or jail time of two to 20 years
  • $200,000 or more – First degree felony, fine up to $10,000 and/or jail time of five to 99 years

In addition to criminal penalties, a convicted defendant may also be held civilly liable under the Texas Theft Liability Act.

If you are being charged with theft, don’t try to sweet talk your way out of it because anything you say can be used against you. Seek the advice of a criminal defense lawyer in your area before making any moves.

Learn More