Deportation Threat to Gay Undocumented Immigrants in Relationships with American Citizens Formally Eased

American Man and his gay Partner are a “couple”.

Partner is currently undocumented and his presence in the US is illegal.

Do Man and his Partner have anything to fear?

Technically, under the letter of the law, yes.

But under new enforcement policy guidelines just issued by the executive branch, practically speaking, perhaps not.

The current administration’s policy is not to deport undocumented immigrants who “pose no security risk”.

The new guidelines affirmatively approve treatment of long-term gay partners of American citizens as part of the group that policy is aimed at.

Ultimately, the new policy relegates deportation decisions to prosecutorial discretion … but authorizes consideration of contributions to the community and family relationships with Americans, including gay relationships.

Government spokespersons maintain that the new guidelines merely formalize established policy.

While the new guidelines may curtail deportations, they do not, however, confer visas or green cards – or improve gay partners of American citizens’ standing to obtain visas or green cards.

Still, they may provide peace of mind.

Even in failed heterosexual relationships involving an undocumented immigrant, threats of deportation or withdrawal of sponsorship typically surface quickly following a breakup.

Read more in this New York Times article: Same-Sex Couples Granted Protection in Deportations.

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Poor Economy Hurts Kids … Severely

A recently published study finds a startlingly clear correlation between (suspected) child abuse, and mortgage delinquencies and home foreclosures across the US.

From 2000 through 2009, (suspected) child abuse resulting in hospital admissions climbed three percent and, more specifically, traumatic brain injury spiked by five percent per year for each one percent rise in mortgage delinquencies of 90 days.

These statistics are based on local economic data reported in the community of each of the thirty-eight hospitals participating in the study.

This trend of increasing (suspected) child abuse follows more than a decade of diminishing child abuse. Arguably because of a vigorous economy in those years.

The head researcher confirms from her own practice that stress contributes to the incidence of child abuse.

With so many families under social / relationship distress as well as economic distress, the conclusion of the study is that parents who need help coping should ask for it … and should be able to find it right in their community.

Read more in this HealthDay article via MedlinePlus: Child Abuse Rises When Economy Sags: Study and this NBC News Vitals piece: Study links child abuse to home foreclosures.

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How to Control Valuation Expert and Financial Expert Costs in Family Law Court Cases

One of the largest costs in some complex divorce law court cases is forensic accountants who provide business valuations.

A study recommends five methods to control financial expert costs:

  1. Avoid continuances, request / embrace judicial case management early for expert cost savings of 11% to 25%

  2. Hire experts early to maximize their benefit

  3. Narrow depositions and other expert discovery

  4. Challenges to experts should be brought early

  5. Opposing experts should communicate and cooperate

Some of the above recommendations are not currently permitted without appropriate authorizations of the recommendations.

Read more in this report cited in this BVWire article: Five ways to reduce the costs of financial experts, according to new AICPA FVS study.

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News Flash: The Legal Profession and State Courts Enter the Twenty-First Century

These days, many, if not most folks are connected, technologically speaking, virtually (no pun intended) 24 x 7.

Not so when I began practicing law in the dark ages of 1988.

Back then, about the only piece of technology an actual lawyer was likely to lay their hands on was a fax machine. The primitive precursors to personal computers were just starting to be rolled out … to the secretarial pool.

Computerized legal research was in its infancy … and each of the two major players in the industry at that time had their own branded “pre-computer” terminal that did nothing but their own proprietary legal research. They were pretty darn big boxes too.

The legal profession as a whole has arrived relatively late to the technology party. But that has been starting to change – lately.

Although I still regularly encounter attorneys who openly, even proudly, admit (or inadvertently demonstrate) that they do not have the vaguest idea how to use a computer. Are Yahoos about Yahoo. Are utterly clueless about e-mail. Deny having a fax machine. Won’t carry a dumb cell phone, let alone a smartphone.

But all that may be about to change, at least here in Florida.

Effective the first of this month, Florida family lawyers are required to serve court papers upon opposing counsel via … e-mail.

A cosmic shift.

Tempered only by new rules that, in effect, deem delivery via e-mail to take as long as via postal (snail) mail (5 days). Presumably on the theory that newer, and perhaps less enthusiastic, adopters of e-mail technology may not check their e-mail more than once per work week. (Change doesn’t always come easy.)

Yes, unrepresented parties may choose to “opt in” to e-mail service too.

And just around the corner is mandatory electronic filing of Florida family court papers with the Florida family courts.

Another cosmic shift.

As these new procedures are implemented in Florida and other states, both our environment and clients will benefit significantly, in more ways than one.

But the transition may be a little rough along the way …

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How Not to Set Alimony and Spousal Support in High Income Cases

Florida Husband and Wife divorce after a long-term marriage of more than twenty years. They have a daughter, who is a minor and a son who is a legal adult.

Wife is unemployed during the marriage.

Husband is a network television news anchor and earns over $1 million per year. The family enjoys a high standard of living.

Of course, Wife seeks alimony and spousal support in the divorce. And the family court awards alimony, of course.

But Wife appeals her alimony and spousal support award as being too low. She cites two issues.

First, Husband chooses to pay their adult son’s living expenses and tuition for college. Over $50,000 per year.

The family court credits Husband’s payments for their son as alimony and spousal support to Wife.

Second, the family court discounts various expenses listed on Wife’s financial affidavit … although they are consistent with Wife’s spending history and well within Husband’s budget.

And, on appeal, the court reverses the family court’s holding regarding alimony and spousal support, and remands the case for further proceedings, specifically, consideration of the couple’s standard of living during their marriage and eliminating the credit for Husband’s voluntary payment of their adult son’s college expenses.

The appellate court also anticipates re-determination of Wife’s fee award based in part on the family court’s errors in calculation as well as reductions based on what it considered “unreasonable positions” taken by Wife. The appellate court disagreed with that characterization.

Read more of this high profile alimony case.

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Police Officer Charged With Thirty Counts of Stalking a Woman He Dated On and Off Over Several Years

Indiana Boyfriend and Girlfriend have on-again, off-again dating relationship over several years. Last year, however, something changes, at least with Boyfriend.

While in a club, Boyfriend becomes angry with Girlfriend – and “choke holds” her and grips her arm hard enough to bruise it.

Undeterred by her consistent rejection, Boyfriend persistently calls Girlfriend, leaves her phone messages, sends her text messages, loiters outside her office, sends flowers and presents to her workplace, draws a gun in her own home, presents her with an engagement ring – more than once. For over a year.

Adding insult to injury, Boyfriend is a police officer.

Girlfriend finally obtains a dating violence (or repeat violence) restraining order of protection against Boyfriend.

Boyfriend ignores it. For several months.

Finally, after calling Girlfriend nine more times over two hours, Boyfriend overdoses on pills. He survives though.

And calls Girlfriend and chastizes her for not visiting him while he was in the hospital.

And for seeking the restraining order of protection against him.

And still the calls keep coming.

Law enforcement officers eventually arrest Boyfriend. On thirty counts of stalking, battery and invasion of privacy.

Boyfriend is on administrative leve from his police officer job pending the outcome of the criminal cases against him.

Read more in this Indianapolis WXIN Fox 59 TV news article: IMPD officer faces 30 counts in alleged stalking case.

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Takeaway From Recent Family Court Ruling: Check Other Parent’s Immigration Status Before Battling Over Child Custody

I rarely post about celebrity divorces, but this unusual family court ruling could not be allowed to pass unnoticed …

Husband and Wife and their two young Children live in California. Children are US citizens who were born and raised in the US.

Wife is a successful American actress. Husband is a foreign national.

Wife files for divorce in California. Wife seeks sole custody of their Children.

Husband’s US visa is revoked (allegedly for engaging in illegal activity in the US). Husband’s revoked visa bars Husband from being in the US.

So Husband moves to Monaco and France.

A California family court finally rules on custody.

And it orders that the couple’s Children, US citizens and residents, must move abroad to live with Husband.

Because Husband cannot legally return to the US (because of his alleged misconduct).

And because Wife’s employment reportedly affords her a large income and considerable flexibility.

A novel ruling.

Premised on Husband’s visa being reinstated before the Children’s next academic year. At which time the Children will return to New York and the couple will have equal timesharing.

Wife has reportedly spent $2 million on legal fees – thus far.

Read more in this Los Angeles Times article: Kelly Rutherford’s kids will stay with dad overseas, judge rules and this New York Post article: Kelly loses fight over kids.

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