Nashville Attorney Assisting with Family Immigration Issues

An immigration law firm that puts your family first

Ask anyone you meet in Nashville what the most important part of life is, and we guarantee you’ll get the same answer every time – family. Family is what keeps us whole, keeps us grounded and keeps us happy. We understand that for many immigrants, bringing their families to America to be with them is the driving force behind everything they do, and we’re willing to bet it’s what drives you, too.

At the Law Office of Perry A. Craft, PLLC, we want to help you make that dream come true. For more than 40 years, Attorney Craft has helped protect families in and around Nashville. His commitment to upholding the law and his practical advice take the stress and worry out of the immigration process, so you can focus on your loved ones. Let us help you reunite your family once again.

Keeping families together in Nashville

We know that every family is different; your immigration needs are just as unique as you are. We can prepare the right strategy for bringing your spouse, your siblings, your parents, and your children home to you in Nashville, and for protecting their rights once you’re together. At our firm, we help people with:

  • Obtaining K-1 visas. Also known as the “fiancé visa,” the K-1 allows a U.S. citizen to bring a foreign national into the country to get married. A K-1 visa allows for this and is good for 90 days; afterwards, your new spouse may apply for permanent residence, but must apply promptly.
  • Green cards. If you’re a U.S. citizen or a green card holder yourself, we can help your children, parents, spouse, or siblings apply for a green card themselves.
  • DREAM Act deferred actions. We want your children to stay in the country they know as home. We can help your eligible children obtain work authorization and begin the process towards naturalization.
  • Hardship waivers. In cases where your spouse is facing removal or deportation, we can apply for a hardship waiver. These are exceptionally complex documents and require a level of dedication to details that only a lawyer like Perry A. Craft should handle.

When you’re ready to begin the naturalization process, we’re ready to help. Attorney Craft works with you to explain what the steps are, what kinds of documents you need, and how long your path to citizenship should take.

How immigration laws affect divorce and child custody cases

Going through a divorce can be difficult enough, but the laws are more complicated when your immigration status can be affected. When you marry a U.S. citizen, your status as a permanent resident is conditional for two years; in other words, the U.S. government wants to make sure that you married for more than just your green card. If your marriage didn’t work out, however, you can apply to have that conditional status removed. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says you’re eligible for removal of those conditions if you:

  • Are a widow or widower who entered into your marriage in good faith;
  • Entered into a marriage in good faith, but the marriage ended through divorce or annulment; or
  • Entered into a marriage in good faith, but either you or your child were battered or subjected to extreme hardship by your U.S.-citizen or permanent-resident spouse.

At the Law Office of Perry A. Craft, PLLC, we can assist you through the process of removing those conditions. Attorney Craft’s diverse background in different areas of law allows him to view your case from a unique point of view. His experiences as a family law attorney give him an advantage when you’re going through a divorce. If you or your child was hurt by your spouse, he can handle the complexities of a child custody case. If you were falsely accused of harming your child or spouse, his background allows him to mount a defense and protect your right to see your children.


You’re facing divorce and it feels like your world is upside down. Your financial future’s at stake and if you have children, so is your future with them. The last thing you need is a divorce attorney who’s more interested in profit than your best interest.

A How-To Checklist for Hiring a Divorce Attorney in Connecticut

Determining whether your attorney is trustworthy can be difficult, especially at the outset, because you’ve never been through a divorce before and you don’t know what to expect.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should bury your head in the sand and hope for the best. There are some steps you can take and questions you can ask to assess whether a particular divorce attorney is someone you can actually trust.

1. Research the attorney online

There’s a wealth of information online about attorneys. It’s more difficult than ever to inconspicuously provide poor quality service. That’s because anyone after a miserable experience can hop online and warn their fellow consumers through reviews.

If the attorney’s a fraud, or maybe pretty sound at practicing law, but delivers terrible service, chances are people will post negative reviews about it. Google the lawyer’s name followed by “lawyer reviews” and you’ll see a number of directories on which people who have used the attorney may have left some feedback.

You can also ask around. Word of mouth is important on both ends of the spectrum: for positive and negative information. You may be able to contact someone who’s used the attorney.

Take advantage of the fact that it’s easier than ever to obtain information from third parties about the attorney. Consider that information carefully before making a decision.

2. Beware of being pressured to sign up.

Questions you have to consider about attorneys if you want a divorce | Jay  Hait | The Blogs

Attorney’s should have your best interest as a priority. It’s not in your best interest to be pressured into hiring an attorney. If it feels like the attorney is a little too desperate to sign up for you, that’s a red flag. Of course, there are some cases in which time is of the essence and it’s the attorney’s obligation to inform you of that.

But that’s not what we’re talking about here. You know that feeling when the person trying to sell you something is pushing instead of educating? If you get that sense, step back and don’t make a rash decision.

3. If the attorney is encouraging you to make emotion-based decisions, run!

Divorce can be difficult. And of course, it’s not uncommon for emotions to run high. However, if the attorney is using your emotions to try to convince you to take certain steps in the case that are not grounded in sound logic and reason, that’s a sign the attorney is more interested in your money than your interests.

One way to put yourself in a better position to detect this is to educate yourself on divorce at the outset. No need to go into this blind. There’s a wealth of information online about divorce. Learn about it. Ask a lot of questions.

Also, if the attorney’s taking the case in a direction that doesn’t feel right, you can consult with another attorney. Sometimes having another professional re-assess a case for you can shed some light on an issue. And it may give you the information you need to determine if your attorney’s leading you astray.

4. Don’t tolerate poor communication.

Tips to Help You Choose the Right Divorce Lawyer in Connecticut

The fact that many attorneys are poor at communication is a running joke. You leave a message and no one gets back to you for a couple of weeks because the lawyer’s “busy.” Nonsense! Poor communication results in information falling through the cracks, which compromises the lawyer’s ability to represent you effectively. Your information, goals, priorities are all lost in the shuffle if there isn’t a good client communication system in place at the firm.

It’s particularly troublesome when the communication is poor at the outset of the representation. If they’re not paying attention to you now, what makes you think things will get better going forward?

5. Be wary of attorneys that make no effort to compromise.

There’s generally give and take in divorce. Of course, the attorney should be looking out for your best interest and fighting to get you the best result.

But if the attorney has no flexibility and is making no effort to resolve the case, it may be that the attorney’s priority is making some extra money. Generally, if the case is resolved efficiently, the divorce lawyer is paid less. If your attorney is prolonging the case with no good explanation, you need to be asking more questions.

Attorneys have different styles and different personalities (they’re people too!). So understand that not everything about the lawyer or the firm will necessarily be perfect. However, if you keep in mind the principles above, you’ll be well on your way to sniffing out a fraud. Divorce can be expensive. If you hire someone who’s putting your interests on the back burner, it can be even more expensive, and frustrating.

Contact us for more information.

Family Based Immigration Applications

United States citizens and permanent residents can assist their qualifying foreign relatives in petitioning for citizenship and permanent residency in the United States. In order for a foreign relative to become a lawful U.S. permanent resident, the following general criteria must be met:

The Importance of Filing for Family-Based Immigrant Petitions Right Away |  Chicago Law Office of Christine Contreras

  1. The foreign national applying for a visa or green card must have a relative who is either a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the United States. The applicant’s relative must be able to show documentation of their status as a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, as well as proof of their relationship to the applicant
  2. The applicant’s relative must prove his/her financial income is 125% above the poverty line for his/her entire family, including the applicant. If the relative does not meet this financial criterion, then he/she can become a joint sponsor with another relative, or the applicant’s assets can be taken into account
  3. If the applicant’s relative is a U.S. citizen, he/she must prove that the applicant is his/her:
    • Children under the age of 21 years
    • Spouse
    • Unmarried son or daughter over 21 years old
    • Married son or daughter (any age)
    • Brother or sister of U.S. citizen (if sponsoring relative is at least 21 years old)
    • Parent of U.S. citizen (if sponsoring relative is at least 21 years old)
  4. If the applicant’s sponsoring relative is a U.S. permanent resident, he/she must prove that the applicant is his/her:
    • Husband or wife
    • Unmarried son or daughter of any age

If both the applicant and his/her relative meet these criteria, then the petitioning process can begin.

Immigration Options for Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens

U.S. Citizen Petition for an Immediate Relative to Become a Lawful  Permanent Resident | USCIS

“Immediate Relatives” means the parents, spouses, and children (who are unmarried and under 21 years of age) of a U.S. citizen. Immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen are able to immigrate to the United States despite any numerical restrictions, unlike other close family members of U.S. citizens and/or permanent residents.

Family Preference Categories

The Family Preference Immigration Categories Explained | Khalique Law PLLC  | NY

Other family members of U.S. citizens or permanent residents are divided into preference categories. Each preference category is provided only a limited number of immigrants per year to be allowed admission into the United States.

Relatives in these categories must wait for an immigrant visa number to become available according to the following preferences:

First Preference: Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. Adult means 21 years of age or older.

Second Preference: Spouses of legal permanent residents, and the unmarried sons and daughters (regardless of age) of legal permanent residents and their children.

Third Preference: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, their spouses, and their minor children.

Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens, their spouses, and their minor children.

Family Law clients and the Immigration Law issues they face in a COVID-19 climate

We continue our series of hot topics in family law in a COVID-19 climate. Manders Law Managing Partner, Mary-Ann Wright, speaks to Natasha Chell, Partner at Laura Devine Immigration on the pressing questions that clients want to be answered in relation to immigration law issues commonly faced by family law clients in the current crisis. If you are currently engaged in proceedings or are contemplating proceedings at this challenging time, the information and practical guidance below will be of relevance to you.

About the Interviewee

Natasha Chell is a Partner at Laura Devine Immigration, recognized by the legal directories as a top-tier firm specializing in UK and US immigration.  Natasha has over 19 years of experience advising high net worth individuals/executives and multi-national businesses on all areas of UK immigration, providing solutions-focused advice on navigating the ever-changing UK immigration landscape.


How can UK immigration permission be affected by the breakdown of a relationship/initiation of divorce proceedings?

Some immigration categories require partners (spouse/civil partner/unmarried partner) to be in a genuine and subsisting relationship with their ‘sponsor’ in the UK. Should such a relationship break down, which may be at the point of separation, but certainly when divorce/dissolution proceedings are initiated for spouses/civil partners, the partner should notify the Home Office of this change in circumstances. It is important to be aware that such a breakdown in a relationship may also be reported to the Home Office by the sponsor or a third party.

If the Home Office becomes aware that a partner and sponsor are no longer in a genuine and subsisting relationship, it may determine that the partner ceases to meet the immigration requirements for which their permission was granted. This can lead the Home Office to curtail the partner’s immigration permission to 60 days, subject to certain exceptions including where there is an indication of domestic abuse.


What immigration solutions are available if you find yourself in this situation?

Individuals who are at risk of having their permission curtailed should consider applying for new immigration permission, under a category that does not require a genuine and subsisting relationship with their original sponsor. For example, they may qualify for immigration permission based on their relationship with their British child or non-British child (if under the age of 12 and attending an independent school in the UK).  There may also be scope for obtaining alternative immigration permission because they have been a victim of domestic abuse. Specialist advice from an immigration practitioner is vital if you are in this situation.

Applications based on employment or investment may be viable options for some. Whilst such applications would have normally required the individual to apply from overseas, following the COVID-19 pandemic, the Home Office does not currently require eligible individuals, who are in the UK with permission which expires between 24 January and 31 May 2020, to return overseas to apply.


What should individuals do if their marriage/civil partnership ceremony in the UK is canceled due to COVID-19, but they need to be married/civil partners to qualify for family-based immigration permission?

Marriage and civil partnership ceremonies in the UK have been canceled until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Individuals with immigration permission granted for the purpose of marrying or entering into a civil partnership with a British citizen, or person present and settled in the UK (also known as ‘fiancée visa’), are normally required to marry or enter the civil partnership within six months or the end date of their immigration permission, whichever is the earliest.

In some circumstances it may be possible for individuals to apply for an extension of their fiancée visa from within the UK, where the marriage or civil partnership did not take place during the prescribed timeframe and where there was a ‘good reason’ supported by evidence that it will take place within the next six months. Whilst the Home Office has not yet published guidance to include the COVID-19 pandemic as a ‘good reason’, we consider it reasonable to consider it as such.


In cases of real urgency where your UK immigration permission has expired, or is due to expire shortly and you are unable to leave the UK due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what options are available to you?

It is important to note that the Home Office has announced that an individual who was in the UK legally and whose immigration permission expired after 24 January 2020, or is due to expire, will not be regarded as an “overstayer” or suffer any detriment in the future if they cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A subsequent concession has been introduced, whereby an individual’s permission can be extended to 31 May 2020 if they cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to COVID-19, however, a formal request must be submitted to the Home Office using a prescribed application form,

If the individual planned to remain in the UK and to apply to extend their permission when it expired, they should continue to submit their online application and pay the prescribed fee, even though all application centers in the UK are temporarily closed at the moment. Consideration of the application will resume in due course, once the UK lockdown measures are lifted.

Some individuals who are in the UK, and would have normally been required to leave and apply for permission from outside the UK, may take advantage of an additional new concession, which allows them to apply from inside the UK, if their immigration permission expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020.

The Home Office is continuing to review the impact COVID-19 has had on immigration requirements and procedures and is regularly announcing concessions so it is very important to stay up to date with the latest announcements and consider seeking specialist immigration advice.

Note: the information contained in this blog is accurate at the time of publication on 5 May 2020. This blog is intended to give an overview (rather than comprehensive guidance and advice) on your legal position and is provided for information only.

Duties and Responsibilities of the Family Lawyer

Responsibilities of the family lawyer

A family lawyer performs a diverse range of legal duties concerned with the family. His/her services prove very beneficial when family confronts problem such as divorce, child custody, and guardianship. The family lawyers may join a big legal firm or work independently. Legal expert works as a mediator when tussle begins to grow within a family. Get the services of the family lawyers so you may not have to run off scrambling in needy time.

Role of Attorney

The family lawyer becomes the family member whom everyone respects. The legal expert saves the family from going to court. It not only saves time and money but also protects relationships. It is one of the responsibilities of the family lawyer to manage the wills and estates. In this way, he/she performs the role of attorney. The legal expert represents the family in the court.


Annulment is the breakup of husband and wife. The marriage bond has zero value after the annulment. There could be multiple reasons for the annulment; however, fraud of any type is its leading cause. If a spouse hides a communicable disease, criminal record, infertility, or previous divorce. One of the partners takes the help of the family lawyer to present case in the court.

Appeals against Previous Mistakes of Legal Proceedings

It is the fundamental right of every citizen to file an appeal when he/she believes that previous legal proceedings caused great damages mistakenly. The appeal process is not only steep and complex but also time-sensitive. The individual is bound to file it within 30 days to get it entertained.

There are different areas of law. Some domains are easy to understand. It is quite difficult to handle the appeal procedure. It is imperative to hire an experienced lawyer to tackle the problem and get the desired results.

The lawyer has to work within the limited material available on the eve of initial proceedings. Getting new information is very difficult. Lawyer dives into the previous reports to sort out any mistake. Family law appeals involve further complications.

Spouse Support & Alimony

Different terms such as maintenance, spousal support, and alimony have same meanings. A judge may entertain one of the spouses until the divorce process completed. The effects of alimony last for a certain period so that a divorced spouse may stand on feet. It is the power of the court to award permanent spousal support if the marriage span is long or a spouse falls ill. The spouse who has not been working for years, he/she may also win the advantages of alimony.

You are not a breadwinner, so numerous question about financial security arises in mind. You need the assistance of the San Diego family law lawyer to get favorable terms in the critical situation.

How to Determine the Spousal Support Amount?

Numerous factors leave an impact on determining the amount of alimony or spousal support. State law agencies take into consideration the financial security risks of a spouse that he/she may confront after the divorce. Two main factors, including the self-sufficiency and the length of the marriage, determine the amount of spousal support.

Temporary Spousal Support

Do you need temporary spousal support? Yes! Contact the family lawyer who proceeds your case in the court. Remember, none of the spouses has the right to demolish or waste any marital property.

Modify an Existing Child Support

It is a rule that the court cannot modify or change child support unless a spouse wants to get it to change. Share your provisions with the family lawyer and asks him to present them in the court. There could be multiple reasons such as medical problems, economic issues, and medical emergency of a child for the changing child support. Changing support means the resettlement of child support payments.

Child Abuse

The state laws do not give relaxation to anyone if he/she is responsible for child abuses. Many people do not know the web of laws. They receive a big setback when their offspring are taken away. Do not be panic if it happens with you. The company of a child is not only necessary for you but also for the child. You may take a son/daughter back. You must have a backup of the family lawyer who may prepare a strong case. Often, parents confront the problems of child abuse in the court though they have done nothing wrong to their children. The legal expert always stands at your back until you get the child back.

Parent’s Duty to Protect Child

Protection of the children is the primary duty of the parents. Children are taken away when they do not get the proper attention of parents. Parents fail to understand their responsibility. Sometimes, parents do not know, and they bypass a law. Who is responsible if a kid fell and injured? No one else but parents are responsible for the bad incident. They have to pay a heavy price of their carelessness.

The family lawyer proves in the court that the child will be in safe hands if it gives the child back. The court may consider an option of bringing in a relative of the child for care and protection.


Sometimes, divorce becomes a necessary evil. The family lawyer tries his/her best to bridge the differences with communication. The lawyer helps spouses to complete the divorces cordially. Every spouse wants to know what he or she may receive or lose at the end. Parents also take into account the future of children. Family lawyer answers all questions. He tries his best that trial should be fair. He is a committed person who wants to fulfill the desires of the family members.

There are two types of divorce, including the contested and uncontested divorce. The court takes the dispute of contested divorce in its hands. However, a family lawyer may help the spouses to find the resolution in an uncontested divorce.

How to Divide Property after Divorce?

Division of the property is a big challenge for the spouses after the divorce. Do not forget the services of the family lawyer to settle the problem harmoniously. People already made their minds what to keep under possession. You might have the intention to keep home, or car, little items that have emotional value. The family lawyer listens to the arguments of husband and wife and will reconcile the conflicting situation. A lawyer understands that spouses need advocacy.

Frozen Assets

Many states have amended the laws regarding property division. States take the property under its custody when you file a divorce. The measure of the state is very logical. She wants to keep articles under a single roof. If your spouse tries to transfer certain article, inform your lawyer who would manage the issue.

Draw the Line of Difference between Marital Property and Non-Marital Property

It is not an easy task to divide the marital and non-marital articles. Do not forget the presence of the family lawyer on the eve of division. If you had a specific object such as a vehicle or something else before the marriage, it would fall in the orbit of the non-marital property. The rest of the luggage or articles belong to marital property. If both spouses invested in a home before the marriage, it becomes both marital and non-marital asset. The family lawyer will help you to handle the problem.

Family Business

Your family business is swelling quickly, but courts notices keep you constantly worried. Hiring a family lawyer is a wise choice. The legal expert is available 24/7. You do not need to rush to courts. It is one of the responsibilities of the family lawyer to take care of such issues. Also, you need a business partner. Do not forget the agreement. It should contain necessary provisions so you may not experience any unwanted consequence. Consult with a family lawyer to prepare perfect documentation.

Make sure that your family lawyer is a capable and experienced person. It is the question of your family, and it’s business. You may have to pay the price with the bad choice of the lawyer.

Knowledge about the Family and its Technicalities

It is the tangible advantage of the family lawyer that he/she is an expert and knows the intricacies of the family law. You will become familiar with the basics of family law with time. People do not know the potential loopholes that prove very beneficial if someone discerns how to exploit them. Family lawyer set you in the right direction.


Impartiality is the key characteristic of the family lawyer. It becomes very difficult for a person to represent his/her divorce case in court. On the contrary, the lawyer does not involve in the case emotionally rather proceeds it wisely. He/she understands the previous facts and represents accordingly. Individual needs support for the time being after the loss of a relationship. The family lawyer understands the gravity of the situation, so he/she lends, helping hand to the grieved person.

The family lawyers offer their services in all domains of family life. They are the backbone of families who pressure of all legal problem. Confronting the lawsuits is a very panic and frustrating phenomenon. Enjoy the peace of mind with the family lawyer who is always available to protect your rights.

Everything You Need to Know About Becoming an Immigration Lawyer

Want to make a difference—and have a lasting career—as an immigration lawyer? Keep reading for answers to frequently asked questions about this rewarding legal specialty.

First things first…

7 Benefits of Consulting with an Immigration Lawyer in Hawaii

Who might be interested in immigration law?

Does the thought of working on human rights issues excite you? Do you like interacting with people from other countries and cultures? Are you interested in criminal law, constitutional law, civil rights law, family law, education law, entertainment law, sports law, compliance, or business law? Do you hope to be a transactional lawyer or litigate in federal court?

If any of the above apply to you, you are likely to benefit from studying immigration law. Why? Because immigration law provides you with a foundation to represent people who have immigration matters to resolve, but it also allows you to recognize how a person’s immigration status might impact them in many seemingly unrelated ways.

What do immigration lawyers do?

The immigration issues that have seen intense political debate and media coverage in recent years are only part of the story.

The United States sees a constant influx of people hoping to live, work, and study within its borders, and immigration lawyers can help individuals, families, and businesses navigate those various and often complex immigration pathways. A person’s immigration status might impact and intersect with other legal matters too, such as family law, criminal law, business, and tax law, and is well versed in immigration law is necessary for attorneys practicing in those areas as well.

Immigration lawyers may represent clients in administrative courts, or they may counsel clients about their legal rights and obligations related to immigration, among other things. They also suggest courses of action based on their knowledge of immigration law.

For example, immigration lawyers might help citizens of other countries through the process of gaining legal status to work in the United States with the H-1B visa program. This program provides a framework for American employers to hire non-U.S. citizens in jobs where their skills are needed. Individuals hoping to come to the United States to fill such positions must gain approval through a complex and often intimidating process. They (or often the employers hoping to hire them) often turn to immigration lawyers, who provide assistance in completing forms and taking other required steps. The lawyers may also represent clients in dealing with government officials in matters related to the visa application.

Related: Meet professor Dina Francesca Haynes, Director of the Immigration Law certificate at New England Law | Boston

You can find immigration lawyers in various legal settings as well, from large law firms to smaller practices that include or specialize in immigration law, to government agencies to nonprofit organizations. (Every world-class performer or athlete has an immigration attorney behind them, advising on and securing necessary visas!) Some immigration attorneys provide services through a nonprofit or public interest law fair. Or they may prepare correspondence, meet with government officials, make presentations, and advise staff and volunteers, among other duties.

Finally, highly experienced immigration lawyers may pursue other career interests, such as teaching immigration law in law schools. Many universities have an immigration attorney on staff to advise incoming students and faculty as well. Other possibilities include becoming an immigration judge, a legislative aid (every member of Congress has an immigration advisor on staff), or an appointed or elected official.

Even criminal lawyers would be well-advised to understand immigration law, as they can be professionally sanctioned for failing to properly advise non-citizen clients of the immigration consequences of convictions, pleas, and sentences.

At the end of the day, immigration law can be a strong fit to students interested in human rights and international law, as well as those interested in business law or criminal law.

How can you become an immigration lawyer?

Immigration Lawyer Salary: What the Job Description Entails for an  Immigration Lawyer

Regardless of the eventual practice area, completing a bachelor’s degree is the usual first step in becoming a lawyer, followed by earning a juris doctor (JD) degree.

A law school concentration or specialization in immigration law will help bolster your expertise in this specialty and give you an advantage in the field, though it is not technically necessary to practice. Rather, employers and clients will be looking for lawyers with ample exposure to the immigration field, particularly hands-on legal experience through clinics, legal internships, externships, clerkships, pro bono activities, and more, as well as through their law school course work.

A career in immigration law, as with most legal areas, also requires certain skills. High-level capabilities in reading and writing are a must, as is the ability to understand and communicate complex concepts and advocate for your client in an adversarial setting. Law schools both seek out these skills in applicants and cultivate them in their students.

In many situations, strong interpersonal skills are also needed. During any given day in immigration practice, an attorney may work with people who have undergone exceptionally traumatic experiences, including suffering persecution, human trafficking, or torture. The ability to communicate with compassion may be especially important in dealing with immigrants and immigrant families, who may need reassurance as well as technical assistance in dealing with the legal complexities of immigration.

If you’re not in law school yet…

If you’ve yet to enter law school (whether you’re an undergrad student, a working professional, or even still in high school), there are things you can do now to prepare yourself for the legal education ahead and your future career as an immigration lawyer.

Common undergraduate majors for students considering law school include political science, history, philosophy, economics, social sciences, language studies, and business—but no specific major is required. Even fields like nursing or engineering can serve as “pre-law” majors.

The American Bar Association (ABA) advises anyone interested in a legal career, regardless of the chosen specialty, to pursue educational, extracurricular, and life experiences that will foster the strengths and abilities needed for success in the legal world. Among them are analytical thinking, problem-solving, critical reading, writing and editing, oral communication, listening skills, and research.

The ABA also recommends getting involved in pursuits related to public service, promotion of justice, relationship-building, and collaboration. So seek out part-time or summer jobs, internships, or volunteer activities if you can. For instance, interning with a law firm that specializes in immigration issues can provide a first-hand look at the work involved while helping you polish relevant workplace skills. Such “real world” experiences can also help you assess the pros and cons of working in this field without making the commitment of full-time employment after law school. It will also provide a knowledge base you can build on later if you choose to pursue a career in immigration law.

The same can be said for gaining experience in a social outreach organization, business that relies on non-citizen employees, or government office that deals with immigration. If a direct connection with immigration is not available, any paid or volunteer activity that involves public speaking, writing, research, or other skills valued in the legal profession could be worth pursuing.

If you’re already in law school…

Once in law school, you’ll complete a combination of required courses and electives that match your individual interests and future aspirations. These may include courses or even concentrations or certificates in immigration law or related areas, which provide a vital academic foundation for a career in this specialty.

In addition to academics, and as noted above, you should also pursue as many opportunities to gain hands-on experience in the legal field as you can, particularly in immigration law–related work. You might find such opportunities through the clinical programspro bono activitiesinternships/externships, and student groups offered by your law school.

For most people planning to practice law, including immigration law, the JD is the standard degree. But some law school graduates go on to pursue other degrees or credentials requiring additional study, such as the Master of Laws (LLM) or the Doctor of Science of Law/Doctor of Juridical Science (JSD or SJD). Advanced degrees are generally pursued by those who hope to teach law or conduct scholarly research.

What does immigration law pay?

It’s no secret that legal careers tend to pay well, though individual lawyers’ salaries can vary considerably, even within the same legal specialty, like immigration law. The services you offer, clientele you serve, and area of the country you practice in can all affect earning potential.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the median annual wage for all lawyers is about $120,000. Median salaries top $140,000 for those employed by the federal government, while pay for state and local government ranges from $85,000 to $93,000 annually. Lawyers employed by large, successful law firms or big corporations tend to earn more than those who own their own practices or work for nonprofit organizations.

Earnings for some lawyers who specialize in immigration may be lower than the average for lawyers in general. An attorney who accepts a position with a small immigration nonprofit, for example, may choose that option with the understanding that while the salary is lower than average, the work offers the opportunity to serve people in life-altering situations who lack the resources to obtain legal assistance otherwise. Not to mention the satisfaction rates are consistently higher for public interest lawyers. Many immigration lawyers go into solo practice as well.

Where can I learn more?

A Quick Guide to Immigration Lawyer Career | Duties and Education - The  Campus Career Coach

There are certainly plenty of online resources to help you learn more about becoming an immigration lawyer; however, you may find it’s helpful to start by connecting with people in the field. This might mean conducting an informational interview with a working immigration lawyer, perhaps through your undergraduate institution (ask the career or alumni offices at your school). Conversations with law school representatives can also be revealing, and it’s often easy to contact law school admissions folks and even professors directly. You might also get a chance to chat about immigration law at a law school fair.

Another helpful resource is the American Immigration Lawyers Association, a national organization of more than 15,000 attorneys and educators who practice and teach immigration law. This nonpartisan nonprofit provides continuing legal education, information, and professional services. Its goals are to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

As you explore immigration law through these and other resources, you may find it offers the right career potential for you.

Types of Cases

Learn about the different types of cases heard at family court, and how they are different from cases heard in general civil or criminal court.

Criminal Cases

Criminal Cases – World Center Advocates and Legal Consultant

Criminal cases involve enforcing public codes of behavior, which are codified in the laws of the state. In criminal cases, the government prosecutes individuals for violating those laws (in other words, for allegedly committing a crime). Punishment in criminal cases can include fines, community service, probation, or prison.


The Family Law Self-Help Center does not provide information or forms for criminal cases. You should not use the information on this website if you are involved in a criminal matter. To learn more about criminal matters, visit your local law library. Visit our Law Library page to learn more.

Civil Cases

Civil cases involve conflicts between people or institutions such as businesses, typically over money. Civil cases include lawsuits

The Difference Between Criminal Cases and Civil Cases | Colombo Law

for money, landlord/tenant matters, breach of contract claims, and cases where one person is trying to make someone else do something (for example, sell some property) or stop doing something (for example, stop a foreclosure).

If you need information or forms for a general civil case, you can contact the Civil Law Self-Help Center online or by visiting the center in person on the first floor of the Regional Justice Center.

Family Cases

Interesting Family Law Court Cases | The Lawyer Portal

Family cases are a type of civil case, but they generally involve issues between or concerning spouses, parents, and children.  Family courts handle a wide variety of cases involving domestic matters. The most common issues handled at family court include:

  • Marriage Dissolution. When someone wants to end a marriage, they can file a case at family court to ask for a court order ending the marriage. Marriages can be terminated through divorce or annulment cases. The court can also grant a separation, where the court issues orders regarding property, alimony, and child custody, but the parties remain legally married. You can find more information on the DivorceAnnulment, or Separation sections of this site.
  • Paternity and Child Custody. When a man needs to be declared the father of a child, either parent can file a case asking the family court to determine paternity. This permanently establishes the father of the child. Unmarried parents can also ask the court to order legal custody, physical custody, visitation schedules, and child support. You can find more information about these types of cases on the Custody, Paternity, & Child Support section of this website.
  • Protection Orders Against Domestic Violence. Victims of domestic violence can ask the family court to issue protection orders to keep their abuser away. Please visit the DV Protection Orders for more information.
  • Name Changes. A child or an adult may be able to legally change their name through a name change case at family court. Please visit the Name Change section for more information.
  • Guardianship. Guardianship involves determining who will be responsible for the medical, personal, and financial decisions over a child or an adult who cannot care for themself. More information can be found on the Guardianship section of this website.
  • Termination of Parental Rights and Adoptions. If there are serious reasons why a parent should no longer have a parental relationship with a child (such as abandonment, neglect, abuse, etc.), the family court may terminate that parent’s rights. If someone else wants to become a child’s legal parent, the family court can grant an adoption where the parent-child relationship is legally created. More information is located on the Adoptions and Terminating Parental Rights section of this website.
  • Juvenile Matters. Family court oversees all matters where there are allegations of child abuse, child neglect, or where minors are accused of participating in illegal behavior. These matters are largely handled by the District Attorney Juvenile Division. The family court can also approve work permits for minors under the age of 14. Visit Juvenile Work Permits for more information about this.
  • Emancipation and Approval of Underage Marriages. Those under the age of 18 who wish to marry or want to be “emancipated” (meaning, being legally free from the control of their parents) can petition the family court for approval. The Self-Help Center does not have forms for approval of underage marriages, but does have information about emancipation in the Emancipation section of this website.

If you are finding a good family lawyer, just contact us for more information.

8 Tips For Choosing The Best Family Lawyer

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How Do You Find The Best Family Lawyer

Choosing the best family lawyer during your divorce is very important, helping you reach the best outcome, understand the process and make the most appropriate decision.

The right family lawyer can mean a faster, less expensive and less emotionally taxing process.

To make the choice for the best family lawyer, you need to know what to look for.

Not many people facing a marriage break-up have previous experience in legal matters of any kind, much less in the legal aspects of a divorce, so it can be difficult to know exactly how to go about finding the right person to guide you through the process.

So instead of asking your next-door neighbor “How do I find a good family lawyer?” we have compiled a list of 8 tips when choosing a family lawyer.

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1. Start Looking As Early As Possible

Deciding which lawyer you want to help you through this significant and often difficult life change is not something you want to do in a rush.

Whilst tempting to google something like “family lawyers near me” and going for the first result, it may not result in the best outcome for such an important moment in your life.

As soon as you think you might need a family lawyer, start searching for one that suits your needs.

Knowing that you have a professional you can trust, who knows what they are doing and who understands your circumstances will greatly reduce the stress that can come with separation and divorce.

It is hard to be sure the right person is handling your situation if you had to find them in a limited amount of time.

Even if you are not sure that you will need a lawyer for the entire process, if, for example, you hope it to be an amicable divorce, seeking legal advice early on lets you understand the process and feel more comfortable.


2. Ask Around or Check Reviews

Approach the search for the best family lawyer as you would the search for any other professional: ask friends and family members whether they know any lawyers that they can recommend.

With high national divorce rates, it is likely that other people in your extended family or social circle have gone through relationship breakdowns and they may be able to give you advice on which lawyer to choose and on what they found most helpful from their family lawyers.

You do not have to rely only on friends. Other professionals such as accountants and psychologists often work with divorce lawyers and can refer you to lawyers they have worked with before and who they think will be the best fit for you.

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3. Choose An Expert

Family law is complex and constantly changing, with new cases that can set precedents and change how judges respond to other cases in the future.

A lawyer who practices several types of law may not be the best choice, as they may not have a deep enough insight into family law. They may only practice it very rarely.

Therefore, a specialist family lawyer whose expertise and experience is in family and divorce law is much more likely to be the best lawyer for you.

Check whether they have the skills and experience that match up with what you are looking for.

For example, if you think your case is likely to go to court, it is a good idea to make sure your lawyer has courtroom experience.

If children are involved in your separation, find out whether your lawyer has worked with other clients in similar custody matters.

If you feel your divorce will be a more amicable one, look for a lawyer who is a better negotiator.


4. Meet Your Lawyer

Once you have found a few family lawyers who seem to be good fits for you and your situation, meet each of them before making your final decision.

Meeting someone in person gives you a far more well-rounded impression of them than correspondence by email or talking over the phone does, and meeting a couple of different lawyers allows you to feel more certain in your final decision as you will really know that you are working with the best lawyer.

By meeting the lawyers in person, you can also work out the levels of personal compatibility you have with each of them.


5. Personal Compatibility

While you are paying attention to your potential lawyer’s expertise, past experience and the results of their previous cases, think about how you find their manner and whether you are comfortable with their approach.

This is a business relationship, but the best family lawyer for you is someone you feel you can trust and who will represent your point of view.

If working with a particular person causes you more stress, if you feel as though they are not listening to you, not treating you with respect or if they are not giving you the advice and information to help you clearly understand your rights and responsibilities, it may be better to continue looking for someone else.


6. Accessibility

Choose a divorce attorney that is accessible to you, meaning that they answer your calls, or promptly return them, and consistently reply to your emails.

There is no use spending time and money on someone when you feel like they are not giving your case the attention it needs.

Similarly, it would probably be quite difficult to work with a lawyer who constantly uses legal jargon without offering an explanation.

Choosing a divorce attorney near you is no longer a priority, as most communication is now done virtually.

By expanding your search to a larger location, you can ensure that you will be able to find a good family lawyer.


7. Look For Warning Signs

Be on the lookout for any warning signs that might tell you this is not the best family lawyer for you.

This could be as simple as not feeling entirely at ease with them, or it could be something more serious.

If your lawyer starts discussing confidential information from other cases with you, they might do the same later on with your case.

If they are constantly distracted, answering texts, phone calls or emails during your consultation time, you may not be getting the most attentive assistance.

Most of all, you want a lawyer who acts according to the industry ethics.


8. Don’t Let Cost Be The Only Factor

Divorce, as many people know, can be a very expensive process.

However, this does not mean that choosing a cheaper lawyer will result in a lower overall cost.

A lawyer with a higher hourly rate may be more efficient at their job, taking less time and therefore less of your money than a less expensive lawyer would.

A less expensive lawyer, on the other hand, probably has lower rates because they are not in as high demand, but this does not necessarily correlate with their level of dedication, expertise or professionalism.

Basing your search for the best family lawyer on their fees alone is not an effective way to find the most suitable lawyer for you.

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5 Things a Family Lawyer Can Do For You

Family lawyers are legal professionals that specialize in matters to do with family law. They handle legal issues that are concerned with members of the family. Such legal issues include divorce, child custody, and guardianship among others. Family lawyers can act as mediators when family disagreements develop. They can also represent litigants in family conflicts that end up in courts. Below are some of the things that family lawyers can do.

Reasons You Need a Family Lawyer After You're Divorced | Texas

1. Handling Divorce Issues

Undergoing a divorce is probably one of the most draining experiences that a family can face. Emotions may set in and make it impossible for a couple to settle it calmly. In such a case, a family law attorney can act as a mediator, and assist them to approach the issue rationally and within the law. In other words, a competent family law attorney can assist couples in the process of divorcing to settle the matter fairly without necessarily going to court.

2. Handling Estates and Wills

A will is a legal document through which people state how they would wish their property to be managed when they die. Family law attorneys are responsible for assisting people in drafting these documents. They also have what it takes to ensure that an estate is administered as stated by a deceased via the will.

3. Handling Child Custody Agreements

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When a couple separates, one of the most difficult issues to handle has to be what happens to the children. Couples need to agree on how to take care of the children they have had together in the new arrangement. Child custody is defined by an agreement in which both parents have to live with the terms therein. A competent family lawyer can help parents that are parting ways to draft such an agreement. A family law attorney can also help parents in amending child custody agreements if need be.

4. Handling Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement is a contract signed by a couple prior to a marriage or a civil union. Although the content of such a contract may vary from one case to another, its main aim is to spell out the provisions of spousal support and division of the property in the event of a breakup or a divorce. A family lawyer can assist a couple in drafting a prenuptial agreement and handling any matters that may arise from the contract according to the law.

5. Represent Litigants in Court

Although family attorneys can help people to settle family disputes outside court, some of these matters still end up in the courts. In such a case, family lawyers are best suited to help litigants get justice. These attorneys handle such cases almost every other day, and therefore, they have the necessary legal knowledge and practical experience to help litigants to navigate the complex jungles of family law and ensure that justice is served accordingly.

The Takeaway

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Overall, it is apparent that the importance of family law attorneys cannot be overemphasized. They help members of families to rationally handle family disputes that would otherwise be crowded by emotions. These lawyers have knowledge and experience to help people settle issues relating to divorce, child custody, prenuptial agreement and estate administration among other legal issues affecting families. Thus, if you are having a family legal matter that needs a rational approach, contact us for more information and for a qualified family law attorney.

3 Deportation Tips

Do you have questions about deportation? Check out these 3 deportation tips for guidance, then call our New Jersey lawyer to get started.

What are the Options Available if a Minor Relative is Detained at the Border

  • 3 Deportation TipsThere is a program available called Special Immigrant Juvenile Program, which allows someone to attain a work permit and a green card.
  • The person must be under 21 and must be considered abandoned or neglected.

Remaining in the U.S If You Are Being Threatened by Gang Violence in Your Home Country

  • If you are from another county facing persecution, you can apply for asylum within one year of your arrival.
    • You can also qualify if your home country is involved in a revolution, religious discrimination or political issues in the country.
  • After filing for asylum you will be eligible to file for a work permit after 6 months.
  • If your asylum application was granted, you can face

Remaining in the U.S if You Have American Born Children

  • If you are of good moral standing and have children who are actively involved in the school system, you may be eligible to apply for a Cancellation of Removal.
  • You should also include documentation of your life in the U.S. and any U.S. born relatives.