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Rule change could make obtaining a green card more difficult

The federal government recently announced a change to immigration policy that could make it more difficult for those who have entered the United States legally to obtain permanent lawful status needed to remain in this country. According to varying estimates by the Department of Homeland Security and immigration advocacy groups, the new regulation, which goes into effect on Oct. 15th, could affect at least hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, of people across the country, including Nebraska. Referred to as the "public charge rule," it will take immigrants' use or predicted use of government aid programs into account when determining eligibility for green cards. 

Immigration law in the United States has included a public charge provision since 1882. What the new rule reportedly changes is the definition of a public charge. In theory, the term refers to someone who becomes a burden on the public. The most recent definition of what it means to be a public charge is someone who receives more than half of his or her support from the government.

Women, finances and gray divorce

Women who live in Nebraska and face the prospect of a divorce know that their lifestyles may end up seeing some changes, at least temporarily. It is always more expensive to maintain two households than one. For women who are over 50, they must also face the fact that they have less working years ahead of them than their younger counterparts, so there is less time to regain lost assets

Yahoo Finance recently reported some of the results from research conducted at Bowling Green State University that indicates women who get divorced in their 50s or later experience a much higher rate of poverty by the time they are 62 than do any other group. For these women, the poverty rate was found to be 26.9%.

Evaluating the pros and cons of plea bargains

If you have been accused of a crime, you will likely have the possibility of negotiating a plea bargain. Plea bargaining is a type of incentive that works to reduce the number of cases that go to trial. While it is a controversial tactic from an ethical standpoint, it does increase the efficiency of the court system. Also, it is ultimately the defendant's choice as to whether they want to settle for a plea bargain or attempt to prove their innocence in a trial.

It's important that you understand your rights if you are facing criminal charges. You should also make sure that you have a clear overview of the pros and cons of plea bargaining so that you can make an informed decision.

Your health and the walk-and-turn test

If you have been arrested for and charged with a driving under the influence offense in Nebraska, you were likely required to take a series of field sobriety tests before you were placed under arrest. As explained by, these tests are not intended to prove that you were drunk but rather to show that you might be drunk. It is the law enforcement officer's way of providing probable cause for arresting you.

Field sobriety tests cannot prove intoxication as they are not completely objective or based on fact but rather on some level of subjective observation by officers. This is in contrast to a blood or breath test, for example. The walk and turn test requires you to take steps following a heel-to-toe formation without losing balance or stepping off a real or imaginary line. You must take only nine steps forward and then back again after turning around.

What makes divorce after 50 unique?

If you are one of the many people in Nebraska who is over the age of 50 and are in the process of a divorce or discussing a potential divorce with your spouse, you will want to pay special attention to some financial matters that will be different for you than for a couple in their 20s or 30s. Gray divorce, the term used to reference divorces among people over 50, is more common today than ever but it does pose unique concerns for people.

As explained by Kiplinger, people who get divorced as they are close to retirement age - or even perhaps past retirement age - need to give serious consideration to their financial futures. The amount of money saved by a couple who has been married for several decades is likely to be split in some way during a divorce, reducing the amount of money each person will have to live on. This may delay their retirement plans or even make it all but impossible for them to retire.

Dealing with one's 401k in a divorce

Among the more misunderstood (and potentially contentious) aspects of property division proceedings during a divorce is the dividing up of a 401k. Many 401k account holders in Lincoln may fail to grasp why such funds (which come as a result of their own individual efforts) would be subject to property division. It is important to remember that any income earned during a marriage is considered shared, and as 401k contributions are typically pulled from one's income, they are also deemed to be marital assets. 

This brings up one important point regarding 401k division: only those contributions made to the account during a marriage are shared; any funds that were in the account prior to the account holder's marriage are counted among their separate property. The portion of the contributions owed to the non-contributing spouse can be handled any number of ways. They can choose to roll them over into their own separate retirement account, or they can elect to simply cash out their portion and have it dispersed to them now. Typically, cashing out a 401k before one reaches the age of retirement results in a significant tax penalty (as much as 10 percent of the account's value). Yet according to information shared by, a divorce is one of the few instances where one can draw from a 401k early without accruing a penalty. The court simply needs to stipulate that intent in a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. 

Drug conviction for Nebraska man following girlfriend's slaying

It is not altogether clear whether the attempted robbery that took place at a residence in Lincoln, Nebraska, in July 2018 was related to drugs. Whatever the impetus, however, it resulted in the shooting death of a 36-year-old female occupant of the home. Last week, the woman's boyfriend pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana with intent to deliver after video surveillance footage allegedly showed him attempting to hide money and drugs in anticipation of law enforcement's arrival to the scene of the shooting.

The alleged attempted robbery took place in the early hours of a summer morning. Surveillance cameras outside the home reportedly recorded three men entering the home while carrying handguns, kicking in the door to gain entry. Authorities have determined that, in the three minutes that the three men were inside the house according to the surveillance footage, there were 13 shots fired from one or more 9-millimeter handguns within the residence, one of which struck and killed the woman. 

Deportation defense: There are steps you can take

If you are facing deportation, it's imperative to learn more about your situation. In addition to what's happened to this point, you should also learn more about the many federal laws that dictate your future.

As difficult as it sounds, there are many steps you can take to avoid deportation. The types of relief fall into one of the following categories:

  • Discretionary relief: With removal proceedings in motion, you're able to use this to defend yourself. It's your responsibility to prove that you're eligible for relief based on the current laws.
  • Cancellation of removal: This is only available to qualifying non-permanent residents and lawful permanent residents. With this, your status is changed from deportable to lawfully admitted. You're required to complete an application for cancelation of removal.
  • Asylum: Depending on the circumstances, an alien may receive asylum if they qualify as a refugee. It's your responsibility to prove an inability to return to your home country as a result of fear of persecution, such as related to religion or race.
  • Adjustment of status: This happens when your immigration status is changed while living in the United States. An adjustment of status typically occurs as the result of a petition by a spouse, immediate family member or employer.

Prison sentence for Nebraska man convicted on 5th DUI

A 52-year-old man in Norfolk, Nebraska, has a history of DUI convictions dating back to the year 2006. An incident in February resulted in his fifth DUI conviction. In the past, the man has successfully completed the probation sentences he received for his previous convictions. In this case, despite a request from his defense attorney for Specialized Substance Abuse Supervision probation, which she argued was more suitable for someone addicted to alcohol as her client appears to be, the judge sentenced the man to a prison term of four to six years on the DUI charge. A second charge of obstructing a police officer garnered an additional three-month sentence. 

At the sentencing hearing, the man acknowledged that alcohol is having a profoundly negative effect on his life and took the opportunity to apologize for disrespectful behavior to the authorities who arrested him in February. Reportedly, at that time the man was in a vehicle that was impeding traffic at the intersection of Madison Avenue and Seventh Street. A law enforcement officer allegedly asked him to move his vehicle to an area in which it would not be an impediment. Instead, the man reportedly took the next street over at a high rate of speed, allegedly abandoning his vehicle in a business parking lot and leaving the scene before authorities caught up with him. 

Plan for college costs during a divorce

Residents in Nebraska who get divorced while their children are still at home and have not yet reached college age should add planning for the cost of a college education to the list of things they should address in their divorce negotiations.

For starters, it is important to know how federal aid is determined. As explained by Student Loan Hero, it is the financial information of the custodial parent that is required on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. The determination of which parent is the custodial parent is based on the amount of time a student has lived with either parent in a year or which parent provided the most financial support during a year. This may be different than which parent has legal custody. If a custodial parent has remarried, the step-parent's financial information will also be required on the FAFSA and impact the amount or type of aid a student may receive.

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Monzón, Guerra & Associates, Attorneys at Law
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