Saturday, April 16, 2011

Green Card Renewal

A Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) needs a Green Card to live and work in the United States.   Now, this is not to say that if a LPR’s Green Card is expired then he/she has lost their Permanent Resident status.  A loss of status is accomplished if the person voluntarily gave up their status or acted in a way that is contrary to one who wants to be a LPR of the United States, such as returning to their country of origin, indefinitely and/or permanently. 

Once a Green Card has been issued, it is valid for 10 years.  The expiration date is printed on the front side of card. Upon expiration, it must be renewed because it serves as identification.  The Green Card is official documentation of LPR status.  Without the Green Card, it is difficult to prove permanent residency, and this affects one’s ability to travel or to prove eligibility to work in the United States.

To renew the Green Card, a LPR must complete and file Form I-90 with USCIS.   A LPR can only file the renewal application if his/her card expires within the next six months or the card has actually expired.   

It is important to note that a Conditional Resident (CR) is not a LPR.   For example, if a foreign national became a CR through a marriage to a United States Citizen or LPR, and the marriage is less than two years old at the time residence is granted, the foreign national will receive conditional resident status with the conditional residence card expiring in two years.  The spouse-petitioner files Form I-751 to remove the conditions 90 days prior to the expiration date on the conditional residence card. Once the conditions are removed, the CR becomes a LPR.  After 10 years, the Green Card will expire and he/she will file the I-90.

Bottom Line: Pay attention to the expiration date, and seek the advice of an attorney if you have questions and your case and need help with the process.    

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Noncostodial Parent and Visitation

When a noncustodial parent is awarded visitation and is ordered to pay child support but he/she fails to pay child support, the custodial parent SHALL NOT refuse to honor the noncustodial parent’s visitation rights. 

            Also, when a custodial parent refuses to honor the noncustodial parent’s visitation rights without cause, the noncustodial parent MUST continue to honor his/her obligation to pay child support.

            The noncustodial parent who is not allowed access to his/her child should file a Motion for Contempt and Sanctions.  

The same goes for the custodial parent where he/she should file a Motion for Contempt and Sanctions if the obligor/noncustodial parent failed to pay child support.    

Bottom Line:  The noncustodial parent has a right to see his/her child. The custodial parent has a duty to promote frequent and continuing contact with the other parent even if the noncustodial parent has not paid child support.  The child should not be held “hostage for a ransom”.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Child Support

It is important that the parties in a divorce or family law case involving minor and dependent children understand the basics of child support.  

            Child support belongs to the minor child.  Neither party should be able to waive the child’s right to financial support.  The parties may contract between themselves as to who will assume certain obligations such as school uniforms or Summer camp, but should not contract away child support.  Note, parties do not have to provide child support pursuant to the state guidelines if there is a substitute obligation in lieu of the guidelines, for example monthly private school tuition and other expenses. 

            Bottom line:  It is all about the child, and not the adults.  The purpose is to improve the child’s quality of life and provide for the child’s needs.