Sunday, August 26, 2012

Deferred Action

If you know anyone that is considering applying for deferred action do not let them wait! There is only a limited amount of applications that will be accepted. Get them in soon and make sure they are accurate.
Any mistakes will make your application get bounced back and put you at the end of the line again.

Feel free to contact us for help. We charge on a sliding scale based on income and family size. Average legal cost range for a Deferred Action application range is $100-$300 (This is for legal costs only and does not include other costs such as the application/biometrics fee of $465 which is paid directly to the US Dept of Homeland Security).

To qualify for deferred action on must:

1. Be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
2. Have come to the US before the age of 16
3. Continuously resided in the US since June 15, 2007
4. Lived in the US June 15, 2012 and at the time of filing the paperwork
5. Entered without inspection or have expired status before June 15, 2012
6. Currently in school, has graduated, or honorably discharged from an armed service
7. Clean background history - never convicted of a felony and does not pose a threat to national security.
8. Has evidence (medical record, school records, etc) of all of the above.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Prenuptial Agreements? Postnuptial agreements?

With people getting married later in life, they come to the table with more assets. Luckily, California is a community property state, which means that anything that you acquired before marriage or during the marriage if by gift or inheritance is considered separate property that your spouse could not access upon divorce as long as you do not commingle your assets with the marital (community assets). Anything else acquired during marriage (with some exceptions) is considered community property, in which each spouse would be entitled to 50% of the property value upon divorce.

Even if you are okay with the law as written, you still may opt to have a prenup or postnup if you would like to agree in advance how the property will be divided. For instance if you want the house you can write that into the agreement in exchange for other property or you buying out your ex at time of dissolution.
Prenuptial agreements (prenups) are agreements between the parties, written before marriage that agree to how you would split your assets upon divorce or agree to keep all income and assets acquired during marriage separate property. Postnuptial agreements (postnups) are similar, but the agreement is formed after you are married.

Due to the high divorce rate in this country, I always suggest that my clients get a prenup or postnup. In my experience it is always better to agree while you still like each other then try to get both sides to agree to how to split up property during a divorce where one or both sides hate the other person. When it comes to these agreements, it is best for you to hire an attorney to handle them for you to make sure that the agreement will be enforced. Essentially the court will review the agreement to determine if it was fair, entered into voluntarily, all assets were fully disclosed, and that both parties had access to an attorney to review and negotiate the document. Additionally, the court will review your circumstance not only at the time of signing, but also at the time of divorce to ensure that the agreement is not inherently unfair. Where one party would be left on government assistance the agreement will likely be altered. Also, things get particularly tricky when discussing retirement accounts, child support, child custody, and spousal support. Due to this, it is essential that both parties talk to an attorney.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


When it comes to child custody, the ability to move away can be tricky. Hiring an attorney to handle this paperwork for you is always a good idea. Generally if there is no custody order from the court then both parents have the right to move the child.  However the other party still has the right to move them back... Should the opposite parent file an Order to Show Cause/Request for Order against the parent that has moved within 6 months, the California Court can order the parent to move back to the state of California, wasting time and money of the moving parent. 

So What should you do?

1) If you can get the other parent to agree to your moving, you should get it in writing. I would suggest doing a stipulated order with the court so that everything is official. You do not want them claiming later that you said the move was temporary, or that they never said it was okay, etc. Too much hassle on your end. Make sure you have a written stipulation, signed by both of you in front of a notary (so they cannot claim later it was not them who signed it) to submit to the court. This will allow you to feel confident in moving before you actually have the order signed by the court, since it can often take time to get the order back from the court signed off on. Be specific in the written agreement regarding your rights to relocate - for how long? (temporary or permanent), do you now have sole right to determine residency within the United States and you can move again in a year to a different state if you want, etc.

2)  If you cannot agree then you need to do a Request for Order asking the court to allow you to move. In Alameda County expect the judge to send you to mediation on the day of the hearing. Be as cooperative as you can with the mediator. Almost 100% of the time, the judge will listen to the mediator's recommendation. If you cannot agree at that point and the mediator does not think you should move, expect not to be able to move for a couple of months so that you can do additional mediation and have a final hearing afterwards if you cannot agree. 

A lot of the mediator's opinion will depend on why you are moving - if the reason is just cost of living or you have family there then you will likely have to wait. If you have had sole physical custody and have a job opportunity that you could lose in the other state, the court will be more likely to rule for you to be allowed to move sooner.