Sep
21

Why Should We Go to Mediation?

Why Should I Go to Mediation with My Spouse if We Are Divorcing?

A couple who is in the process of divorce understandably may not be on good terms with each other.  But this does not mean that is futile to meet and have a conversation, as long as it is in an appropriate setting, with the mutual intention of working towards an agreement.  

Mediation and Social or Financial Early Neutral Evaluation are types of alternative dispute resolution processes that are encouraged, and often court ordered, for couples seeking to divorce in Minnesota.  In many cases, these processes pave the way for...

Jun
28

Lost in the H-1B Lottery - What Are My Options Now?

This year, USCIS received over 233,000 H-1B petitions for this fiscal year 2016, which exceeds last year’s count (172,500) by over 60,000 petitions.  As you likely know, there is a general statutory cap of 65,000 for H-1B petitions in a given fiscal year, with an additional 20,000 available under the advanced degree exception known as the masters cap.  Through its computer-generated lottery system, USCIS first selects petitions for the masters cap.  Any unselected petitions in this category then become part of the 65,000 general cap selection.  On April 7, 2015, USCIS announced that...

Jun
28

Lessons Learned from the Department of State Hardware Failure

In the past two weeks, hardware computer problems halted the issuance of thousands of visas and passports at US consulates and embassies throughout the world.  As of yesterday, two thirds of consular posts are up and running again, sending visas and passports to anxious applicants.  For some, this presented a small inconvenience or had no effect at all.  Other families faced hardship, missing births of children and experiencing financial hardship with extended hotel stays. Thankfully, the Department of State was able to proceed with humanitarian or emergency requests on a case-by-case...

Mar
10

Certain H-4 Dependents Now Eligible for Work Permits as of 05/26/2015

One of President Obama’s executive actions announced in November 2014 was to amend its regulations to extend work authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses in an effort to improve the U.S. immigration system and provide greater economic stability to affected families.  USCIS announced last month that it will begin accepting employment authorization applications for eligible H-4 spouses on Tuesday, May 26, 2015

It is important to note that the eligible H-4 derivative applicants are limited to the following individuals who are:

dependent H-4 spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are the...
Mar
10

Florida Court Stops DOL From Applying H-2B Regulations, Which Means DOL Cannot Process Prevailing Wage Determinations for H-2B Requests

In a decision dated March 4, 2015, a federal district court in Florida found that the Department of Labor did not have authority to issue its regulations in 2008, which direct the agency how to process prevailing wage requests and labor certifications, among other things.  The result of the court’s decision is that the DOL can no longer process requests for prevailing wage determinations or applications for foreign labor certification in the H-2B program pursuant the regulations.  The DOL has indicated that it is considering its options in light of the court‘s decision.

Mar
10

H-2B Cap Reached for 1st Half of Fiscal Year 2015

H-2B visas are temporary, non-agricultural visas that are issued to workers in a variety of fields, including construction, landscaping, and tourism.  There is a numerical limit (cap) of 66,000 on the total number of H-2B visas that may be issued during a fiscal year, which is from October 1 to September 30.  The fiscal numbers are divided in half for H-2B visas, with 33,000 being allocated for employment beginning the first half of the fiscal year (October 1 to March 31) and the remaining amount (33,000) allocated for work beginning the second half of the fiscal year from April 1 to...

Feb
26

Moving with Your Child Out of State: Sole Custody is Not Enough

Minnesota, being the cold state that it is, prompts many daydreams about moving to a warmer climate.  However, if you are the mother of a minor child and not married to the child’s father, you should consult with a family attorney before packing your bags, even though you may have sole custody.

Occasionally, we hear discouraged fathers lament that Minnesota courts favor mothers when it comes to decisions about child custody, before they have had an opportunity to know about their rights.  Family law attorneys know that Minn. Stat. Sec. 257.541, subd. 1 (2015) automatically grants sole...

Jan
20

TIPS WHEN SELLING YOUR CAR

Whether it’s for a junker that is no longer worth the effort, to get a better value than a trade-in, or for any other reason, at some point in their lives many people will need to sell a vehicle to someone through a private, third party sale. This type of transaction is not without risk, however. It is not entirely uncommon for someone to sue a prior vehicle owner after an accident where a prior sale was not properly transacted.

So, if you are going to sell the car on your own, there are several important points you need to keep in mind to protect yourself in the event something goes...

Jan
20

Important TPS Updates Affecting Syrian and El Salvadoran Nationals

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) made two important announcements regarding temporary protected status (TPS) for individuals from Syria and El Salvador. TPS is a benefit available to eligible individuals from specific countries that have been designated as in need of temporary protection due to conditions such as armed conflict, natural disasters, or other extraordinary circumstances.

On January 5, 2015, DHS announced that it is redesigning Syria for TPS and extending the current designation through September 30, 2016. If you are a Syrian national and have never applied...

Dec
16

DHS Prioritizes Removal of Individuals with DUI Convictions

There are many reasons not to drink and drive, but now we’ll give you one more. As part of President Obama’s executive action on immigration reform, the Department of Homeland Security has a new set of civil immigration enforcement priorities. The new priorities are divided into Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 priorities from highest to lowest. Tier 1 includes suspected terrorists, gang members, aggravated felons, and other top priorities for removal. Tier 2 includes individuals convicted of three or more misdemeanors, excluding minor traffic-related crimes, as well as individuals convicted...

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