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Saenz & Maniatis, PLLC

June 2019 Archives

Do I need a Tennessee Real ID?

The REAL ID Act of 2005 established security standards for the issuance of identifiction documents, and prohibited federal agencies from accepting those documents that did not adhere to the Act. It has been up to the individual states to issue driver licenses and identification that comply with the Act. Many have not done so.

Divorce and Child Custody in Tennessee

Tennessee is home to picturesque mountain views and gorgeous landscapes, but residents of the state still have to deal with the stark realities of divorce. Despite best efforts and intentions, some relationships reach a point at which separating is best, but this can be especially difficult for parents who are seeking a divorce.

You can be charged with failing to protect your children

Juvenile courts in Tennessee have exclusive original jurisdiction to hear matters concerning the dependency and neglect of children. These can be brought by private parties, or by the State filing a petition. These are typically the result of an investigation by the Department of Children's Services ("DCS") upon a referall by private actors, medical institutions, or law enforcement. The recent case of In Re Antoine J., et al., highlights the issues involved when abuse or neglect is committed by the romantic partner of the parent.

Tennessee does not recognize common law marriage

Tennessee doesn't recognize what other states consider to be "common law marriages." Some states allow common law marriages to be formed when two individuals in a relationship cohabitate for a set period of time. This would then create a marital union to allow for support, alimony, and surviving spouse benefits upon death. A recent case has highlighted the issues that arise when individuals who were in such a recognized relationship in another state move to Tennessee.

Supreme Court extends exceptions to warrant requirement

In the recent 2019 case of State v. McElrath, the Tennessee Supreme Court adopted a good-faith exception to the requirement of a warrant when police officers make mistakes that are the result of negligence and not reckless disregard or a systemic error. Any evidence obtained under this exception will not be suppressed in court. So what does this mean?

New USCIS Policy endangers victims of crime

Victims of certain crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse while in the United States, and who are willing to assist law enforcement or other government officials in prosecuting the crime, are eligible to apply for "U Status." U Status permits victims to remain in the United States, and they are eligible to apply later for permanent residency and ultimately U.S. Citizenship. However, recent policy updates from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") will make it harder for victims to come forward.

President moves to further restrict immigration

Tennessee residents likely know that those who cross the border may have the right to seek asylum or other legal status. If a child crosses the border into the United States without a guardian, that child generally has the right to make an asylum request to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services . President Trump is looking to put an end to the special status that unaccompanied minors currently have.

Proving "Good Moral Character" when applying for U.S. citizenship

One of the many things U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reviews when you apply for citizenship is what's termed "good moral character." Several things can bar you from showing good moral character, such as a criminal record, failure to pay taxes or child support, or admission of unlawful activity. While some convictions do not automatically bar you, some convictions bar you permanently and others for a period of 5 years. If you have a conviction barring you for 5 years, you must wait at least 5 years before applying, but even then immigration officers have discretion to review your entire past in determining whether you have good moral character.It is important therefore to have an attorney assist you in preparing supporting documents to show your good moral character. This can be things such as education degrees, employment licenses, letters of recommendation, and evidence of community involvement. An attorney will also be needed to draft a legal memorandum in support of your claim of good moral character. Immigration law is constantly changing and the experiences of other individuals may no longer be relevant to the current policies. If your application is denied, you must wait an additional 5 years before reapplying. If you have questions or plan on applying for U.S. citizenship call the attorneys at Saenz & Maniatis, PLLC at (615) 366-1211.

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