Legal Matters May Have An Impact On Your Immigration Status

Divorce and Domestic Violence actions can have very serious consequences in the family law setting. Violation of a PPO may cause a person to be deported. First:

  • What is the immigration status of you, your spouse, the parent of your child, and your child?
  • Do you/family member have a visa?
  • Conditional resident alien?
  • A non-citizen accused of criminal activity like Domestic Violence?
  • Have you with your spouse jointly signed an affidavit of Support?

What is a Visa?

A visa is a stamp issued by the Department of State to allow a non-citizen into the country. The visa has an expiration date and may have limitations with which the holder must comply. There are two types of visas, nonimmigrant and immigrant. A nonimmigrant visa is issued to person s for the purpose of work or visit but who do not intend to stay (student visas or temporary workers). Immigrant visas are issued for persons who wish to stay in the US permanently.

Once an immigration visa number is issued that person becomes a “Lawful Permanent Resident” (LPR also known as a green card). These visas are issued on a limited basis. A K-1 visa (nonimmigrant visa) can be converted to a lawful permanent resident based upon the marriage to a United States Citizen. Family Law lawyers may face a situation where the client or opposing party may have obtained LPR status by making a family petition. This requires a spousal relationship or some other close family tie.

Conditional Resident Alien

A conditional resident alien has been granted a two year period of permanent resident status based on a “qualifying” marriage to a US citizen. It’s important for your lawyer to assess your immigration status at the meeting when you hire your lawyer. You may wish to have your family lawyer and your immigration lawyer speak with one another about the important facts in your immigration journey.

Legal Matters May Put Your Immigration Status in Jeopardy - More from the Family Law Attorneys at Lakeshore Law and Mediation of Grand Haven, MIGrounds for Deportation

Some criminal convictions will cause deportation. Additionally, domestic violence, stalking, child abuse and neglect are deportable offenses. Multiple convictions of lesser infractions of the laws may also lead to deportation. Overstaying, unlawful presence, or being out of status may also lead to deportation.


An affidavit of support is always required to be filed if a citizen is bringing a relative to live in the US permanently. The US resident is legally required to provide financial support for the person(s) that they sponsor at a level no less than 125% of the federal poverty income level. If the parties divorce at some point down the line, the sponsor remains obligated to provide support “until the period of enforceability expires.”

Immigration Law and Family Law Intersect

It is of utmost importance to know how your status will affect your family law case. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) is a governmental agency that decides administrative appeals and interprets immigration law. You can find its forms and check case status on the USCIS governmental website.

If you need assistance with family law matters, Lakeshore Law and Mediation can help! Contact us today, we are with you every step of the way.


How the Hague Convention Applies to Child Custody Orders

What is the Hague Convention?

The Hague Convention is a treaty that was enacted on October 25, 1980. It was enacted to protect children from abduction across international borders.

This may be especially important in divorce cases or custody cases where one parent wishes to keep the children “away from” the other parent.

The Treaty provides a procedure to bring children back from foreign countries. However, not all countries are “signatories” to the Hague convention.


The Hague Convention and Child Custory - LakeshoreLawandMediation.comThe Hague Convention and Child Custody

The Hague Convention provides a legal procedure for countries to work with one another when a child is abducted from one country and moved to another country.

Each country that has become a signatory to the Convention must have a “Central Authority.” This is the main contact point for parents or other governments involved in an international child abduction case.

The Central Authority helps to locate abducted children, helps to provide a dialogue for return of the child, and helps to process the request for return of the child.


Protecting Michigan’s Children

In Michigan, every custody order must contain Hague Convention language. The purpose of this language is to invoke the rights and responsibilities under the Hague Convention should any enforcement action ever become necessary. Not every country is a signatory to the Hague Convention.

Additionally, every country handles the Hague Convention according to the standards it determines to be best.

If your child is expected to travel to another country with a parent with whom you share custody, you will want to know that the country of travel is a signatory to the Hague Convention.

If you suspect that your child may be removed to another country, it is important for you to consult with an attorney who is familiar with Family Law matters.

Lakeshore Law and Mediation Center is here to help! With one phone call, we can help you get on the right track.

An “Established Custodial Environment” (ECE) is VERY important to understand if you are dealing with Child Custody.

Whether or not an ECE exists will determine your burden of proof in order to be successful in your request for custody. In other words, will you need a LOT of evidence or just ENOUGH to prove your case?

With regards to an Established Custodial Environment, Michigan courts will look at facts regarding:

  • Established Custodial Environment in Michigan - Lakeshore Law and Mediation The amount of time a parenting “routine” has been in place
  • What kind of care and guidance is the child receiving
  • Who is providing the parental care, and when
  • Where is the care being provided
  • What is the home environment like
  • What is the physical quality of the parenting relationship
  • What is the psychological quality of the parenting relationship
  • Is the environment stable
  • Does the child feel secure
  • Does the child feel that they can rely on day to day permanence
  • Who do the children look to for guidance, discipline, necessities of life and parental comfort

When many changes in a child’s routine causes uncertainty, a previously established custodial environment is destroyed. The most important aspect of an established custodial environment inquiry is whether the children’s relationships were marked by qualities of security, stability and permanence.

When one parent is uncooperative in making sure the other parent is allowed parenting time with the children, trying to  control how a parent communicates with or sees the children (without a really good reason, i.e., safety of the children) the court may look on this as an unstable environment.

An ECE can be found with both parents as long as there is a sense of stability and security. Just because there may be a custody order in place does not mean that there is an ECE. The court must still determine if there has been stability in the parental relationship over a sufficient period of time.

At times, a parent may give up custody of a child for a period of time during a difficult time so they can focus on fixing whatever problem they are experiencing so that in the future the child can have a better life. Parents are encouraged to transfer the care of children in a better position to care for them during times of difficulty. However, these cases are all very fact specific.

Lakeshore Law and Mediation is experienced family law firm that knows which questions to ask, the pertinent law and is skilled in presenting facts and arguments of law that will represent you well in a court of law.

Call us at 616.844.4091 or email us below for expert help!

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You are getting a divorce because you do NOT like your spouse. But you don’t want your kids to be caught in the middle of anything nasty. It’s just not good for them.

“He did WHAT?” your friend commiserates with you. “I never liked her.” Your friend looks you in the eye. Your child overhears. This is damaging to your child.

No matter how you feel about your ex, your child will always love both parents. Don’t make them choose sides because of your need to feel “right.”

So, how do you get past the anger, the hurt, the embarrassment, everything?

#1 Co-Parenting Tip from an Expert Divorce Attorney

Co-Parenting Tips from an Expert Family Law Attorney in Grand Haven Michigan - Lakeshore Law and Mediation CenterOne of the most important things you can do is to SET GROUND RULES FOR COMMUNICATION with your ex.

These could include things like:

-No Yelling (end the conversation calmly before it gets to that point);

-No Swearing;

-No name calling;

-If you are unable to talk face to face, talk by phone (never through your child);

-If you are unable to talk by phone, communicate via email;

-All communication is child focused;

-All communication is based in the present (old grudges are for the therapists couch);

-Conduct yourself with respect for your ex (you don’t have to like them,  just be respectful);

-Take a deep breath and stop your automatic response, STOP yourself from acting out;


Other Ways You Can be a Better Co-Parent

Set aside your own viewpoint and look through the eyes of the child. Remember….you love your child and want what is best for them.

Listen to your ex about what they think is best for your child. Even if you don’t agree, try to understand. If you need time to think about it take time to think, decisions do not have to be made immediately.

Don’t let your child overhear you talking poorly or making unfavorable gestures/expressions towards your ex.

Listen to your child about their feelings for the ex, however realize that children will play parents against each other as a way of getting what they want. Be very careful on how you to react to statements about your ex made by your child. You need to separate the “Wheat from the chaff.” This takes some degree of sophistication and practice.

Allow your children to express happiness and excitement about their time with the other parent. They do not want you to feel bad or lonely when they are away.

Do NOT allow your children to relay messages back and forth.

Have age appropriate conversations with your children about their feelings. Don’t let them become your sounding board or therapist. You are their parent, if you need help dealing with Divorce issues seek professional help, a trusted friend, or clergy.

When, you or your, ex re-marry help your child to make the transition to the new family by listening and encouraging them.

Let your child know that you will be okay.

Let your child know that you love them no matter what.


Click for a List of More Resources for Divorcing Parents


If you need help with Child Custody or Child Support Arrangements, call Lakeshore Law and Mediation Center today!

Our straightforward, fair approach will deliver results quickly and affordably.

Call 616.844.4091 or email us here. 

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There are many couples who choose not to marry one another when they are expecting the birth of a child. The reasons for that decision are as varied as the people who make that decision. Once the child is born there may be many legal questions about what will happen next.

What about the name of your child?

Did you know that there is a Michigan statute (Law) Public Health Code, Act  368 of 1978 (333.2824) that grants an unmarried mother (she must be unmarried at the time of conception or birth) of a child the right to name the child. The father’s name will not be placed on the certificate of birth without the written consent of the mother AND without the completion, and filing with the state registrar, of an acknowledgment of parentage by the mother and the individual to be named as the father.

If you have questions about the birth of your child or a child that you are expecting, knowing your rights and responsibilities is a good first step in becoming a responsible parent.

Have a legal question?  The professional staff of family law attorneys at the Lakeshore Law and Mediation Center would be happy to assist you.  Contact us today by phone at 616.844.4091 or by email using the contact form below.

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‘Dave’ and his estranged wife ‘Emily’ are in the early stages of planning a divorce.  As they contemplate the necessary steps, Dave recently reached out for an initial consultation with attorney Lori Zellers. Since Dave and Emily have a six-year-old daughter, Dave naturally had questions about custody and parenting time. One in particular was:

How Does Joint Custody Work?

Read more