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

best family lawyer

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.

family lawyers near me

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.

family lawyers near me

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.

best family lawyer

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

What Is a Family Law Attorney? - Dean Tsourakis 727-785-2700

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.

Pros and cons of Immigration

Immigration can give substantial economic benefits – a more flexible labour market, greater skills base, increased demand and a greater diversity of innovation. However, immigration is also controversial. It is argued immigration can cause issues of overcrowding, congestion, and extra pressure on public services. There is also a debate about whether immigration of unskilled workers leads to downward pressure on wages and even unemployment of native workers. This is a look at mostly the economic costs and benefits of immigration.

Pros of Immigration

1. Increased economic output and living standards. Net immigration will lead to a growth in the size of the labour force and an increase in the productive capacity of the economy. Immigration leads to higher economic growth with a corresponding rise in tax revenues and potential for government spending.

2. Potential entrepreneurs. It is argued that immigrants often arrive with little wealth so have a greater incentive to try and make something for themselves. Also, people who are willing to leave a country and try in a foreign company are the most ambitious and willing to take risks and a result tend to be the more dynamic part of the workforce. Immigrants who are young and mobile are also quite likely to be entrepreneurs – set up businesses which create innovative products. The American economy is an example of how immigrants have moved to America and set up classic American companies – leading to higher living standards and a greater choice of goods and services. For example, (Apple) Steve Job’s father – Abdul Fattah Jandali was from Syria. Alexander Graham Bell (telephone AT&T) from Scotland. Jeff Bezos (Amazon) son of a Cuban immigrant. Sergey Brin (Google) is a Russian immigrant.

3. Increased demand and growth. A fear of immigration is that ‘Immigrants take jobs from native-born population’ However, this is known as the lump of labour fallacy. The belief that the number of jobs remains fixed. However, this is not the case, if immigrants move to the US or UK and gain employment, then they will spend their wages in their new country, creating new demand in the service and goods sector. Far from ‘taking jobs’ immigrants contribute to a growth in GDP. Between 1900 and 1915, 15 million immigrants arrived in the US (1), but this was a period of low unemployment and high economic growth. Immigration was a major factor in the rapid rate of growth (In US between 1890 to 1910 – economic growth was over 4%.)

4. Better skilled workforce. In the UK, immigrants working in the economy are more likely to have more educational and skilled qualifications. For example, just 20% of UK citizens finished education at 21 or later. But 53% of new immigrants were educated until 21 or later. (LSE study 2012) Immigration allows an economy to attract high skilled professionals to fill in job vacancies and contribute to higher tax revenues.

5. Net benefit to government revenues. Because immigrants are more likely to be young and working than native-born citizens, they provide a net benefit to government revenues. Working people pay income tax, but don’t receive benefits, such as education, pensions. Young people are less likely to use health care services than old people. For example, the UK government HMRC show that in 2015/16, EEA nationals paid £15.5bn more in income tax and national insurance than they took out in tax credits and child benefit (HMRC, 2018). A study by Oxford Economics (2018) shows that recent migrants from EEA had biggest fiscal benefit (+£4.7bn), non-EEA migrants a small cost (£ -9.0), and UK born citizens the biggest net tax burden (-£41.0bn).

  • Evaluation – The impact of migration does depend on the type of immigrants. In the UK experience, non-EEA migrants have a bigger fiscal cost, because this includes more old-aged dependents who can migrate due to family reasons (therefore negative tax impact). There is a list of different studies on the fiscal impact of immigration here.

6. Deal with an ageing population. Many economies in the west are facing a demographic crunch with a low birth rate and ageing population causing a rise in the dependency ratio (ratio of old to young workers). This puts pressure on social care, tax revenues and government spending. Immigration is the most effective policy to deal with an ageing population, as it allows shortages in health care and social care to be filled with young workers who make a net contribution to government finances and boost the workforce.

7. More flexible labour market. Immigrants are highly mobile. They move to economies when wages are high and demand for labour strong. This helps to prevent a booming economy overheating by providing labour to meet the growing demand. However, less obvious is the fact, that if the economy enters a downturn, migration flows often reverse, meaning they don’t stay to try and get unemployment benefits but return home. A good example is Ireland. In the boom years, pre-2007, the economy attracted many construction workers from the EU. When the property market collapsed many construction workers went home – limiting the rise in Irish unemployment. Immigration helped the labour market be more flexible.

8. Solves a skills shortage. If an economy has a shortage of skilled workers such as nurses and doctors, it would take several years to train new workers. But, the health service cannot afford this wait. Immigration enables the shortage to be filled immediately.

9. Filling undesirable job vacancies. Some types of jobs are often difficult to fill by native-born workers due to low wages and/or the prestige attached to that kind of work. For example, farmers often rely on immigrant workers to pick crops. A decline in immigration to the UK in 2019, led to farmers claiming they were unable to pick the harvest because they couldn’t get the seasonal labour. Immigration provides a benefit to business and employers who rely on flexible labour to fill job vacancies. Also, if low-skilled jobs are filled by migrants, it enables native-born workers to gain better-skilled work elsewhere.

10. Multi-cultural society. Away from economics, some feel that immigration leads to greater cultural diversity, which gives a country a more diverse and inclusive feel. All countries with immigration have absorbed some aspect of foreign culture into their country – be it cuisine, music, literature or political influences.

Cons of immigration

1. Potential negative impact on real wages. It is argued that low-skilled immigrants put downward pressure on wages. The argument is that an increase in the supply of unskilled labour enables firms to fill vacancies with lower wages than previously. Between 2010 and 2018, the UK had a high rate of net migration, but this was also a period of stagnant real wage growth. The impact on wages tends to be greater for the low-paid and those with few educational qualifications. A recent study by the Bank of England found a rise in immigration had a small impact on overall wages – with a 10% increase in immigration – wages fall by 0.31%. A study Dustmann et al (2013) find negative effects of immigration for the lower paid; they found that a 1% increase in the ratio of migrants to non-migrants leads to a 0.5% decrease for the poorest 10%.

  • The impact on wages is uncertain. There are conflicting studies depending on the type of immigration. Most recent studies in the UK suggest if there is a negative effect on real wages it tends to be small. Also, many factors affect wages apart from migration levels.

2. Real GDP per capita could fall. Often supporters of immigration point to how it increases real GDP, and this is true. A rise in the population will ceteris paribus, increase national output. But a more useful measure is GDP per head. If immigration is of low-skilled and/or those not in labour markets, it will lead to a fall in real GDP per head.

3. Structural unemployment. Immigration could lead to some displacement of native-born workers who then experience structural unemployment. For example, if migrants gain unskilled labour because they are willing to work for lower wages. Those native-born low-skilled workers may find it harder to gain new employment in higher-skilled occupations.

4. Pressure on public services. Immigration and a rise in local populations put higher pressure on social services, such as schools, hospitals, roads and public transport. In theory, higher growth would lead to more tax revenue to enable higher spending. But, migration tends to be focused in particular areas (e.g near borders). Local people can feel a deterioration in the quality of public amenities because the population is growing faster than the number of schools. In the UK, the pro-Brexit vote was often highest in areas like Lincolnshire and Dover, which had recently experienced an influx of migrants without any corresponding increase in investment.

  • If migration is more evenly spread out, these problems can be avoided. For example, parts of Scotland suffer from declining populations, but ironically migrants are often attracted to over-crowded areas like the south and London, where other migrants already live.

5. Housing costs If migrants move to areas with limited housing stock, migration can put upward pressure on rents and house prices, reducing living standards and increasing housing poverty for both migrants and native-born population who experience high living costs. In the UK, housing costs are a major problem – especially in areas like London and the south where it has been hard to find places to build new housing. Studies such as the Migration Advisory Committee (2018) found that a 1% increase in the UK’s population due to migration increased house prices by 1%. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) found that between 1991 and 2015 immigration had contributed to a 20% rise in house prices (Study p.76)

Lack of affordability in UK housing has been exacerbated by immigration.

6. Disharmony from rapid immigration. Whilst some like a more multi-cultural society which occurs from immigration, others are less welcoming of this change and feel like their culture and background is threatened by immigrants who don’t fit into their existing society. This is especially an issue with immigrants who don’t learn the native language, have different religions and belief systems and live in mostly isolated communities.

  • Evaluation: Often dislike of immigration is strongest in communities where the rate of immigration is very low. Areas with high rates of immigrants are more likely to appreciate the benefits of immigration.

The Advantages of Family-Based Immigration

Will Family-Based U.S. Immigration Survive? — Shared Justice

Since the enactment of the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1965, legal immigration to the United States has been based primarily on the family ties or the work skills of prospective immigrants. Under the provisions of current immigration law, the family-based immigration category allows U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs), or “green card” holders, to bring certain family members to the United States. There are 480,000 family-based visas available every year. Family-based immigrants are admitted to the U.S. either as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens or through the family preference system.

The contributions of family-based immigrants to the U.S. economy, local communities, and the national fabric are manifold. They account for a significant portion of domestic economic growth, contribute to the well-being of the current and future labor force, play a key role in business development and community improvement, and are among the most upwardly mobile segments of the labor force. This fact sheet provides an overview of the economic and social advantages associated with family-based immigration. In particular, it highlights the direct benefits resulting from the participation of family-based immigrants in the labor force, their contributions to the community, and the key—yet often underestimated—value of the unpaid care work provided by immigrant women.

1. Families are crucial to the social and economic incorporation of newcomers.

Because of the overall lack of explicit public policies for the integration of new immigrants, families and ethnic communities have traditionally acted, together with the workplace, as powerful integrating institutions. In particular, ethnic communities and families operate as sources of critical resources for newcomers, including opportunities for employment, access to credit, and different kinds of support. In other words, when newcomers arrive on a family-based visa, they have resources readily available to help them navigate the system and become employed or start their own businesses.

2. Family-based immigration has a positive impact on business development and community improvement.

Family ties facilitate the formation of immigrant communities which, in turn, offer a fertile environment for the development of businesses. In this regard, “case-study evidence finds that extended immigrant families and close-knit immigrant communities ease the economic assimilation of new immigrants and promote investment in U.S. human capital as well as the formation of businesses.”

Many of the most outstanding high technology firms have been created by foreign-born entrepreneurs. In Silicon Valley, icon of high-tech innovation, more than half of new companies were started by immigrants, many of whom came to the country on family-based visas. As Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) asserted during a House Judiciary Committee hearing, “I often say I am glad that Google is in Mountain View rather than Moscow. Like eBay, Intel and Yahoo!, Google was founded by an immigrant. But it’s worth noting that none of the founders of these companies came to the U.S. because of their skills.”

Because they recognize the value that immigrant families may have in the revitalization of rundown neighborhoods, local governments in several cities—including BaltimoreBostonDetroit, and Dayton—have launched programs designed to attract immigrants and promote their economic potential. In fact, so called “ethnic neighborhoods” (e.g., Little Italy, Chinatown) have long been used in revitalization strategies in most major American cities.

3. Immigrants who come to the country on a family-based visa tend to move up the socio-economic ladder.

The initial differences in earnings between family-based and employment-based immigrants tend to narrow dramatically over time. Despite concerns about the supposedly lower productivity of kinship-based immigrants in the U.S. labor market, it has been shown that “nonoccupation-based immigration, most of which is family-based, is associated with lower entry earnings but higher earnings growth than occupation-based immigration. The higher estimated earnings growth is sufficient for nonoccupation-based immigrants to catch up with occupationally admitted immigrants after eleven to eighteen years in the United States.”

New immigrants—the majority of whom enter the United States on family visas—have become the most upwardly mobile of American workers. This is explained by their high rates of post-immigration human capital investment. This benefits not only immigrants, but also the economy at large.

4. Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens who immigrate under the family fourth-preference visa category tend to experience high rates of self-employment and high earnings growth.

Empirical research on the economic benefits of immigrants admitted as siblings of U.S. citizens has shown that there are not only humanitarian, but economic reasons to keep this category. In particular, fourth-preference admissions are positively associated with immigrant self-employment. Immigrants who are admitted as siblings of U.S. citizens tend also to have higher initial earnings than family-admitted immigrants in general. In addition, immigrant group with higher fourth-preference admissions appear to experience higher earnings growth over time. These results further suggest that any proposal to remove the sibling admission category would be counter-productive.

5. Family admissions are critical for the “care economy,” which is fundamental for the well-being of household members, helps sustain the current and future workforce, and facilitates women’s labor force participation.

How to move toward care economy? – CIDSE

  • Unpaid health and child care provided in the household largely by immigrant women contribute to the physical, cognitive, and emotional development of household members. Those contributions are instrumental not only to individual well-being, but also to the human development of the country.
  • Because unpaid household and community activities are performed outside the market, they are largely invisible in economic statistics. Groups such as the Pan American Health Organization and the International Labour Organization have highlighted the importance of recognizing the role of unpaid work in the household and the community.
  • Immigrant women who perform their work in the domestic sphere help sustain the current workforce, raise the future workforce, care for the elderly and sick, and play a critical role in household well-being. Their contributions to the economy are, therefore, not only immediate, but will be felt in the future.
  • The economic value of unpaid work performed by immigrants represents a very large portion of the gross domestic product. In particular, “the statistics on time use in different countries suggest that unpaid work contributes to well-being, human capacity building, and long‑term economic growth, while accounting for the highest number of working hours, which may represent over 50 percent of the gross domestic product.”
  • Immigrant women’s participation in the labor force is facilitated by the presence in the home of other relatives. In other words, when other family members (such as parents or siblings) can take care of everyday household needs, women are more likely to participate in the labor market. Family-admitted immigrants who can provide care for the children or the elderly at home are, therefore, a valuable asset for women who work for a salary.

Moving away from the false “brain versus blood” dichotomy

Family and skill-based immigration should not be viewed as mutually exclusive. In fact, if a less family-friendly admission policy were to be adopted, the United States might become less attractive to highly skilled immigrants, who also have families. As economist Harriet Duleep has noted:

“Family visas are…an important complement to high-skilled visas; skilled immigrants have families too. In considering which country to move to, will an emigrating scientist be more likely to move to a country where his family members, including siblings, parents, and adult children, can also live, or to a country where only certain family members are welcome? Would Einstein have continued to live in the U.S. had he not been able to bring over his sister Maja? A family-friendly policy may be one reason the U.S. has been able to attract immigrants with stellar qualifications.”

The concept of family reunification is deeply rooted in American values. However, the positive implications of family-based immigration are not only humanitarian but also economic. Contact us for more information.

Costs in Family Law Matters

Client’s Rights and Lawyers Obligations Under New Costs Legislation

4 Reasons Why You Might Need a Family Lawyer - LRS Blog

One of the most pressing concerns most clients have when they consult a lawyer for family law advice is – how much is this going to cost me?

Quite reasonably the amount of costs a client is likely to incur in resolving a dispute with his or her spouse or partner is something the client is often anxious about and is entitled to understand at the outset.

Providing a “quote” for costs however can be problematic for lawyers too, because at the initial meeting with a client it is not always possible to foresee how the matter will proceed and the costs that are likely to be incurred. There are a myriad of factors which are unforeseeable at that stage such as how the other party and his or her lawyer will conduct the proceedings, what disbursements are likely to be incurred such as fees for valuation reports of real estate and/or businesses in financial matters and family reports in parenting matters to name a few. Importantly it is impossible to foresee whether the matter will be resolved quickly or whether protracted court proceedings will ensue with all the associated implications such as interim hearings, mediation and a final judicial determination.


New legislation governing legal costs in Victoria was introduced in Schedule 1 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014 which commenced operation on 1 July this year.

Information for Foreign Graduates | Victorian Legal Admissions Board

This new legislation addresses the rights of clients and the obligations on their lawyers with respect to legal costs. Legal costs must be fair and reasonable (and there are more stringent requirements than before to determine what is fair and reasonable), and every client must be provided with information disclosing the basis on which legal costs will be calculated as soon as possible after instructions are initially received including an estimate not only of costs at different stages of the proceedings but also of the total legal costs likely to be incurred if a judicial determination on all outstanding issues is required.

Ranges are no longer permitted.

Importantly, a lawyer must not exceed the cost estimate provided for different stages of work. In the event that this is likely to occur, the lawyer must provide the client with information disclosing the change in costs and explaining why there will be an increase over and above the initial estimate. This information must be provided before the costs exceed the initial estimate.

The legislation also requires that the client understands the costs information that is provided and gives consent to the proposed course of action for the conduct of their matter and the proposed costs to be incurred.

Essentially the new legislation increases protection for the client including stringent requirements with respect to fair and reasonable legal costs and full disclosure as to the costs likely to be incurred with regular review and updating of costs estimates throughout the course of the matter.

Step To Finalize Before Having A Succession Plan - Law Prudentia

At Carew Counsel our costs information details the work to be done at each different stage of the proceedings, the level of skill, experience and seniority of the lawyers undertaking the work and the hourly rates a client will be charged for services.

We are at all times mindful that transparency with respect to costs is very important for our clients.

Carew Counsel is also moving towards quoting “a fixed fee” not only for simple matters but also for different stages of work in complex matters.

If you require further information as to how Carew Counsel operates with respect to costs please do not hesitate to contact us.