Immigration In The United States
Immigration in the United States is not an easy process but as of 2020, the U.S. has one-fifths of migrants all over the world. The number one origin country in the U.S. is Mexico, with approximately 11.2 million immigrants. They are followed by China, India, the Philippines, and El Salvador.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is the agency that has the responsibility for the federal government’s functions related to immigration. It is under the Department of Homeland Security and mostly deals with administrative functions that focus on benefits administration.
The USCIS mission is to oversee the lawful immigration system in the country. There are multiple pathways that aspiring immigrants can take to gain residency status in the U.S. Following are the most common ones:
1. Family-based Immigration
In family-based immigration, a family member who is already a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (LPR), files a petition with the USCIS to sponsor the foreign family member. If approved, the beneficiary may proceed to apply for an immigrant visa to get an LPR status.
- Employment-based Immigration
In the same manner as in a family-based immigration, there must be an approved petition in employment-based immigration. This means that a U.S. employer, with a standing job offer, petitions the beneficiary to come to the United States and work for him. Once that is approved, the application for a visa can proceed.
- Special Immigration
There are special cases of immigration that are available in very particular cases. Individuals that have extended help to the U.S. Armed Forces abroad, like in the case of interpreters, can avail of this special immigration process.
- Diversity Lottery
Every year, 50,000 immigrant visas are raffled off to lucky citizens of another country that apply. All countries except the following are qualified to join the lottery:
Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom, Venezuela, and Vietnam.
Applicants are required to have the basic education requirement of at least a high school education or at least two years of work experience within the past five years. Such experience must have been in an occupation that requires two years of training.
Applications are submitted yearly on a set schedule announced by the USCIS. Selection is done randomly by a computer program. Those that joined may stay updated on their status on the Electronic Diversity Visa Program website.
These are just some of the different types of immigration channels available for individuals seeking permanent residency in the United States. Although there are many options, it is still not easy for everyone to be granted a visa. Those that do not have family members or those that can’t find an employer that would sponsor them, would have difficulty gaining a visa.
One other option that people consider is marriage-based immigration. When a foreigner marries a U.S. citizen, they become eligible to apply for an immigrant visa. Many scrupulous individuals try to exploit this opportunity that is why the USCIS has strict laws on the issue. Marrying just to go around immigration laws is prohibited and those caught are guilty of fraud. These green card marriages are punishable by up to five years imprisonment and fines of up to $250,000.
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A foreign citizen seeking entry into the United States needs a U.S visa. The type of visa required depends on the traveler’s purpose. What many people don’t understand is that having a visa does not necessarily mean sure entry into the U.S. The visa only gets one as far as the port of entry, airport or border crossing. Then you need the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection inspector to grant permission. The visa, however, is proof that a U.S. consular officer has done due diligence and deemed the person eligible for entry.
There are two main types of visas: nonimmigrant and immigrant. Nonimmigrant visas are for those individuals traveling to the United States on a temporary basis. There are several types of nonimmigrant visas, some of these are:
- Athlete visa – specifically athletes competing for prize money
- Au pair – exchange visitor
- Australian professional specialty
- Border crossing from Mexico
- Business visitor
- Diplomat or foreign government official
- Domestic worker/nanny – must be accompanying an employer that’s a foreign national
- Employee of a designated international organization or NATO
- Foreign military personnel stationed in the U.S.
- Visitor seeking medical treatment
- And many others
Immigrant visas are for those foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States in order to live and work there permanently. Like nonimmigrant visas, there are multiple types of immigrant visas, depending on the eligibility of the individual. The following are some of the different visa categories that are considered immigrant:
- Immediate relative and family sponsored
- Employer sponsored: Priority workers, professionals with advanced degrees, professionals & other workers.
- Certain special immigrants
- Religious workers
- Iraqi and Afghan Translators/Interpreters
- Iraqis who worked for/on behalf of the U.S. government
- Afghans who worked for/on behalf of the U.S. government
- Diversity Immigrant Visa
- Returning resident
Each type of visa has unique requirements specific to the circumstances they cover. For example, K1 visa or fiancé(e) visa is for people coming to the U.S. to get married. The wedding must be set within 90 days from arrival. The foreigner must provide evidence that there is in fact an existing relationship with the U.S. citizen fiancé(e).
Another example is for investor visas where the foreigner seeking entry to the U.S. must put up a business worth $1million. The business must provide jobs to Americans. The investment may be as low as $500,000 if the business is in a rural or targeted employment area.
In any case, the application and issuance of visas is done by the consular office or U.S. Embassy in the country of origin. Nonimmigrant visa applications may be done online. The applicant will schedule an appointment on the designated website and wait for the scheduled interview.
The interview is meant to verify the authenticity of the required documents and to determine the person’s intentions for entering the United States. A lot of people are nervous when doing these interviews. The most important thing is not to lie in the applications. Once any intentional misinformation is detected, a person may get permanently disqualified from getting a U.S. visa.
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The famous Green Card is actually called a Permanent Resident Card. Foreigners apply for a green card in order to lawfully live and work in the United States permanently. There are numerous eligibility requirements when applying for a green card, depending on circumstances.
- Green Card For Family
This category is further subdivided by degree of relationships:
- Immediate relative of a U.S. citizen – these are the spouse, unmarried child under 21 and parent of a U.S. citizen. Said citizen must be at least 21 years old.
- Other relatives of a U.S. citizen are eligible under further preference categories:
- First preference or F1: these are the unmarried children of U.S citizens who are 21 years and older.
- Second preference or F2A: these pertain to spouses and children of a lawful permanent resident. The children must be unmarried and below 21 years of age.
- Second preference or F2B: these cover the unmarried children of a lawful permanent resident. The children must be unmarried and 21 years old and older.
- Third preference or F3: these are the married children of U.S. citizens
- Fourth preference F4: these refer to the siblings of U.S. citizens, provided that the citizen is 21 years old or older.
- Fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen or the Fiancé(e)’s child
- Widow(er) of a U.S. citizen
- VAWA self-petitioner: this refers to an abused spouse, child or parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
2. Green Card Through Employment
A person may be eligible to apply for a green card if they apply through an employment arrangement. The following immigrant workers are eligible:
- First preference workers are those that have extraordinary ability in specific professional fields, an outstanding professor or researcher, or a qualified multinational manager or executive
- Second preference workers are professionals that have advanced degrees, exceptional abilities in their fields or are seeking a national interest waiver. In employment-based immigration, the USCIS requires a Labor Certification. A green card applicant may request that the certification be waived for the reason that it is for the national interest of the United States to have the person work there.
- Third preference workers are skilled workers, professionals, and unskilled workers.
A doctor that works fulltime in an underserved area may qualify for the Physician National Interest Waiver.
One other way to acquire a green card through employment is by becoming an immigrant investor. The requirement to become an immigrant investor is that the applicant establishes a business in the United States. Such investment must be at least $1 million and will create full time work for at least 10 U.S. citizens. The investment may be as low as $500,000 if the business is set up in a targeted or low-employment area.
There are several other ways to getting a green card including:
- Special immigrants – those that have helped the U.S. Armed Forces in a foreign country are eligible for a green card.
- Refugee or Asylees – those seeking to escape severe persecution from their home countries, where such persecution makes them feel threatened or afraid for their lives.
- Human Trafficking and Crime Victims
- Victims of Abuse
- Several other categories as indicated by the USCIS
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Citizenship means that a person is a participating member of a community or nation, having the rights and duties afforded to its citizens. A citizen in the United States is either natural-born or naturalized.
A person born in the United States or any of its territories is a natural born citizen. Such a person has no need to undergo naturalization proceedings. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, the term “natural born citizen” also covers persons born outside of the United States to parents who are U.S. citizens.
Citizen By Naturalization
The naturalization process is one where a person who is not a U.S. citizen voluntarily applies to become one. There are several requirements for a person to become a citizen of the United States. First off, he must have a green card or a Permanent Resident Card and must have had it for at least five years upon applying for citizenship. If the person is the spouse of a U.S. citizen, they only have to have had the green card for three years.
Applicants must also meet certain eligibility requirements, depending on their status but the basics are:
- 18 years old or older
- Can read, write and understand basic English
- Is deemed to have good moral character
10-Step Naturalization Process
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) outlines a 10-Step Naturalization Process which is as follows:
Step 1: Determine actual citizenship – this just makes sure that the person is not actually a U.S. citizen already.
Step 2: Determine eligibility – the USCIS provides a document called the Naturalization Eligibility Worksheet Instructions that help a person figure out if they’re eligible or not.
Step 3: Fill out the Application for Naturalization referred to as Form N-400 – this can be obtained online.
Step 4: Submit the form and pay the fee – submission and payment can be done online.
Step 5: Have biometrics taken – upon submission the USCIS may require a person’s biometrics. An appointment will be set up with information on the date, time and location where the biometrics will be taken.
Step 6: Interview – for many applicants for naturalization, this is the most anticipated stage in the process. The interview is conducted by a USCIS officer who will ask clarification questions regarding the application form. They may also ask further about the applicant’s background.
Step 7: Wait for USCIS decision on application – applicants will receive a notice of decision by mail. It will indicate whether the application is granted, continued, or denied. A continued application means there is a need to provide additional requirements or documents. Failed tests will also result in a “continued” application.
Step 8: Receive the notice to take the Oath of Allegiance – Some people are able to join the naturalization ceremony on the same day as the interview if their application is immediately approved. If not, a schedule will be set and notice will be sent through mail.
Step 9: Take the Oath of Allegiance – A person’s U.S. citizenship is not final unless they take the Oath of Allegiance. At this point, the applicant will fill out another form, the Form N-445 or the Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony. This will be checked before the ceremony and the Permanent Resident Card or green card, will be turned in. After the Oath is taken, the person is given their Certificate of Naturalization.
Step 10: The journey to becoming a U.S. Citizen is a long and hard road. Once there, each person needs to understand their rights and responsibilities as citizens of the United States of America.
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Asylum In The United States
What Is Asylum?
Asylum is a protection granted to foreign nationals who meet the definition of a refugee. The United Nations 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol define a refugee as someone who cannot obtain protection in their home country due to persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution. It’s a legal right that allows people to escape their home country with the intention of not returning there for fear of future persecution due to one’s political, religious, racial, social positions, and so on. The United States has signed onto international agreements which define refugees under certain circumstances.
It is important to note that asylum seekers will need proper documentation in order for them to receive refugee status here in America because it would be against U.S law to send them back. Note that an asylum seeker is someone that is already present in the United States.
What Is Persecution?
Persecution in the context of seeking asylum is defined as the infliction of suffering or harm, or a serious threat to the person’s life or freedom. It is not enough by itself, if someone has a grudge against the asylum seeker, it is not persecution in the sense where asylum is applicable. To become eligible for asylum such persecution must be proven to have been based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
Simple harassment is not enough to qualify as persecution. Serious threats like death threats, torture, detention or improsonment, and nonstop surveillance have been considered as persecution. Another that has qualified as persecution in the past include being pressured to join a gang or group that engages in illegal activities. More instances include interference with family life and privacy, including the violation of the privacy of correspondence. Even matters that are deemed as discrimination in housing, educational opportunities, as well as issuance of passport.
This persecution does not need to have been committed by the person’s government, it may have been done by private individuals or by groups that the government has no control over. This includes paramilitary groups and warring clans.
Better Conditions At Home
One major impediment that asylum-seekers may encounter is if the United States argues that the person may have suffered persecution in the past but their country is already safe to return to. In this event, the person can declare and try to prove that there are compelling reasons as to why they are unable to return because of how bad the past persecution was. This is considered “humanitarian asylum.” This is especially effective in cases where the person’s home and belongings were completely destroyed. Also in cases where they will experience severe emotional distress if they were to return to their home country.
In any case, an immigration lawyer would be a great help in handling asylum cases. A good asylum lawyer will make sure that all avenues are exhausted to protect the client’s rights to safe harbor in the United States.
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Deportation: How It Works In The US
What is deportation?
Deportation is the process of forcibly moving a person or group of people out of a country. Deporting someone can be done by law enforcement authorities, government officials, or even private citizens.
A deportation order will result in expulsion from the country as well as denials in immigration court for illegal immigrants without legal residency status. Any immigrant that violates any terms established by their visa can be deported or removed with little notice at all, whether they’re an undocumented immigrant or not.
The United States does not just deport illegal immigrants. It also deports those who have overstayed their visa or violated the terms of their stay in America, which means that even legal residents can be deported when they break the law.
The Deportation Process
The deportation process can be a complicated and lengthy procedure. However, foreign nationals without travel documents or those who have forged documents can be deported immediately without any immigration court hearing.
Other foreigners with different cases may need to go before a judge. Deportation proceedings are heard by the Department of Justice where the deportation process may take longer. For cases going through a judge, the foreign national will likely need to be held in an ICE detention center while the process is pending.
A hearing will be held and if a deportation order is issued, the receiving country must agree to accept the person being deported and issue travel documents before they are removed from the United States. The removal process can take as long as 2 years.
A person may choose to leave the United States voluntarily before the deportation proceeding is concluded. This is known as a voluntary departure.
Overcoming Deportation Issues
A person facing deportation may experience civil rights violations at any point during the immigration, detention or removal process. In this case, the foreign national may file a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security.
An undocumented immigrant facing deportation may still have the chance to stay if they go through an adjustment of status process. This is possible through 2 common ways. One route is to take the family sponsorship way. Have a family member that’s already a US citizen or lawful permanent resident to file a petition to sponsor the person’s immigration.
Another way is for the person to seek asylum if they fear that they will be facing persecution should they be returned to their home country.
Whatever option they take, a deportation process may still be fought off, provided that the individual seeks proper legal representation. A seasoned immigration lawyer can help the foreigner figure out the best options and the best strategy to take. In the process, a good lawyer will also make sure that no civil rights are violated and none are taken for granted.
Appealing A Deportation Order
A deportation order may be appealed and it is best to use the services of an immigration attorney to handle the appeal. The government also provides a list of nonprofit organizations that are able to help figure out such appeals. In any case the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can provide the necessary information for filing an appeal.
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Understanding Appeals in Texas
The Courts Of Appeals
In the State of Texas there are 14 courts of appeals. These appellate courts have appellate jurisdiction over decisions rendered by the district or county courts. Each of these courts exercise regional jurisdiction over specific areas. For example, the 1st Court of Appeals – Houston has jurisdiction over the counties of Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Grimes, Harris, Waller, and Washington.
Each appellate court has one chief justice along with two associate justices. Most appeals are heard by a three-justice panel except in particular cases. According to Tex. R. App. P. 41.2 hearing a case en banc is not advisable and only ordered “unless necessary to secure or maintain uniformity in the court’s decisions or unless extraordinary circumstances require en banc consideration.”
Cases that go beyond the 1st to 14th Courts of Appeals will go to the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas. It is known as the “court of last resort” for criminal cases. Civil cases on appeal are heard by the Supreme Court of Texas.
Under the law, everyone has the legal right to appeal their case. A person whose case has been decided by the trial court can ask a higher court to review the decision and determine its fairness. As with most court proceedings, an appellant can file the appeal himself but the most sensible thing to do would be to hire an appeals lawyer.
Two Ways To Appeal
Based on the Texas Rules of Criminal Procedure, there are two ways to institute an appeal:
1. Notice of Appeal
A notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days from the time the verdict is pronounced in court. Most of the time the defense lawyer files the notice of appeal right then and there, without even leaving the courtroom yet. Once that 30-day window passes, the right to appeal is no longer available.
An appeal does not require any new documents but rather re-examines existing records to spot any legal errors that might have happened during the trial. The downside of this is that examination of witnesses on appeal does not have the same effect as during the trial. This is because during the trial, the witnesses are examined in person thile on appeal, only the written records of their statements are looked at.
Once these records are filed the appellant has 30 more days to file an opening brief or ask for an extension. After the filing of the opening brief by the appellant, the appellee files a response brief. Then the appellant files a reply brief, pointing out any issues in the appellee’s response.
These briefs are then reviewed by the Court of Appeals, along with the appellate record. The lawyers representing both sides may be given a chance to present oral arguments, and will be allowed 20 minutes to answer questions from the justices. Note that the appeals court does not decide on guilt or lack thereof. It only decides whether or not the lower court’s verdict is sufficiently supported by evidence.
- Motion For A New Trial
The other option for an appeal is to file a Motion for a New Trial. Within 30 days after judgment, the appellant must file a motion for a new trial. Within 10 days after the motion is filed, it must be presented to the trial judge.
The motion for a new trial opens the gate for the appellant to present errors made at trial, including juror misconduct.
Losing An Appeal
If an appeal is not granted, the appellant is given 15 days to file a motion for rehearing. A denial gives another 30 days to file a petition for discretionary review to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Remember, this is the highest court that can hear criminal appeals at the state level and is considered the court of final resort. This petition is subject to very strict conditions. It must have a maximum of 15 pages only. It must clearly state the reasons why this particular case is worth reviewing by the TCCA. If the petition is denied, there’s no other remedy to resort to. If it is granted, oral arguments will be heard.
Beyond The TCCA
A person’s final remedy if the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is negative, is to file a petition for a writ of certiorari in the US Supreme Court. A post conviction writ may be pursued or file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Both an appeal to the Supreme Court and a habeas proceeding are very difficult and a person pursuing these remedies will definitely need the assistance of a skilled and experienced appeals lawyer.
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Bankruptcy Basics In Texas
Bankruptcy is covered by federal law with the federal courts having exclusive jurisdiction over the matter. There are more than 90 bankruptcy courts throughout the United States. The purpose of having federal coverage on bankruptcy is so each individual or business is given a blank slate which is applicable in all 50 states.
Individuals struggling with debt can choose one of two bankruptcy options. They can either file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Businesses can choose either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy in Texas is pretty much the same thing as bankruptcy in other states because the matter is covered by federal law. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy refers to the type of bankruptcy as discussed in Chapter 7 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. It provides that non-exempt properties of the debtor will be liquidated or sold. The proceeds of the sale will be used to pay off debtors.
An individual who is buried deep in debt without any means of paying them can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy provided that he passes the bankruptcy means test. This test determines if a person is qualified to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It basically determines if a person has any disposable income that may be used to pay his debts.
The test has two parts. The first part determines if the debtor’s household income is below the median income for the state. A below median income qualifies the debtor for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
The second part determines if the debtor’s disposable income is low enough to qualify him for bankruptcy. This is a very tedious proceeding where all expenses for the past 6 months must be documented.
Once the debtor is deemed qualified for Chapter 7 bankruptcy the petition for bankruptcy is filed and this will put in place an automatic stay against most creditors. The creditors are prohibited from collecting, harassing, sending letters, and calling the debtor to collect while the bankruptcy proceeding is in place.
What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Code is commonly called the “wage earner’s plan” because it allows a debtor who is earning a regular income to propose a repayment plan. Unlike Chapter 7 where the debtor loses properties, under Chapter 13, he is allowed to make a repayment plan within the next 3-5 years. This means allowing him to plan out payments in an equitable manner that will not put him and his family in dire straits.
An individual qualifies for Chapter 13 bankruptcy for as long as his unsecured debts are less than the amount specified in the law. These numbers change regularly to reflect the current consumer price index.
What Makes Chapter 13 Better?
One big reason why Chapter 13 is preferred over Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that the former prevents foreclosure proceedings. It could also help cure mortgage delinquency over some time. The debtor may reschedule secured debts and be able to make payments on a schedule that is easier on the pockets. Once the payment plan is in place a trustee distributes payments to creditors. There is no direct contact between creditors and debtor so there is a degree of peace and stability for the debtor in this regard as well.
A person thinking about filing for bankruptcy would be doing himself a favor if he went ahead and hired a legal professional. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer can help simplify the bankruptcy process, whichever type the debtor may qualify for. A good attorney will be able to provide sound advice, taking into consideration the circumstances of the individual client. A bankruptcy attorney in Texas can help a person within the area deal with bankruptcy so the client can get back to living a more or less normal life.
Barrister – That Helps You Understanding How To Deal With Debts
Dealing with debt is no easy matter and when the debt gets too high, it can become completely overwhelming. An average American adult has $90,460 in debt, according to a report by CNBC. Debt causes mental and emotional stress, even bringing many debtors to the point of suicidal ideation. Getting buried in debt can feel like quicksand for many. The more they struggle to pay, the deeper in debt they go.
Fortunately the federal government provides for ways through which debtors can have their debts discharged or be able to repay them in increments.
Chapter 7 In Texas
Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Texas is covered by the US Bankruptcy Code and under the jurisdiction of federal bankruptcy courts. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is considered as a last resort option for people that are buried in debt. It’s considered as a desperate last option because the debtor’s properties are liquidated, the proceeds then used to pay off the creditors. There are properties exempt from liquidation such as the person’s home, personal car and some other personal items. Basically what’s left for the debtor are just the very basics necessary for living.
A bankruptcy trustee is appointed to take charge of the liquidation. The creditors are paid off through the trustee who will be in charge of distributing payments. The creditors will not be allowed to be in touch with the debtor. Once the proceeds from the liquidation are exhausted, the rest of the debt that remains unpaid will then be discharged.
Payments Under Chapter 7 In Texas
When payments are distributed among the creditors, there is a priority rule that sets the order in which the debts are paid.
Unsecured priority debts are first priority. These include debts like tax debts and child support.
Secured debts are next in line. These are debts that are backed with collateral like mortgages.
Nonpriority unsecured debts are the last priority when it comes to payments from liquidated property.
Individuals looking into filing for bankruptcy are required to go through credit counseling within the next six months after the petition is filed. This counseling must be complied with before the process of Chapter 7 bankruptcy is started.
Consequences Of Chapter 7
Legal professionals like a bankruptcy lawyer advise serious consideration when a person is thinking of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It has serious ramifications especially that the person’s properties are sold off. Also, the bankruptcy will reflect on the person’s records years after it is filed. This can make it very difficult for him to secure any future loans. Sound financial management is necessary after a Chapter 7 is in place. This is because one cannot file another Chapter 7 bankruptcy within 8 years after filing the first one.
To make the most out of a bankruptcy proceeding and to achieve the most desirable outcome, the debtor would do himself a great favor if he hires an experienced bankruptcy attorney in Texas.
Businesses may also resort to Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The only difference with a personal Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that the right of priority to the proceeds of liquidation goes to the company’s employees. These workers stand to lose a lot if their company goes belly up.
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Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a remedy available to individuals who are looking to fix their debts in the US. Chapter 13 in Texas is under the provisions of the Bankruptcy Code of the US and is within the jurisdiction of the federal courts. This type of bankruptcy is known as the “wage earner’s plan” because it is best suited for debtors that have a regular income but having problems meeting their financial obligations. This chapter enables a debtor to come up with a reasonable payment plan over the course of three to five years.
Why Is Chapter 13 In Texas A Good Choice?
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is preferable over a Chapter 7 bankruptcy for many reasons. These reasons include:
- Assets are retained. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the debtor’s assets are sold off so that the proceeds can be used to pay off as much of the debt as possible. It leaves the debtor with only the basic properties like the family home and personal car. Whereas in Chapter 13 bankruptcy no such sale is required. The debtor only uses his disposable income to slowly pay off the debt.
- Chance to restructure mortgage. If the debtor’s home is in foreclosure due to nonpayment, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy will halt the foreclosure proceeding. The debtor will be allowed to restructure the mortgage and pay unpaid installments over time.
- Secured debts may be restructured and can be extended during the life of the bankruptcy.
- Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy puts a stay on creditors. This means they are prohibited from harassing and collecting from the debtor, and this protection extends to debt co-signers as well.
Who Can File For Chapter 13 Bankruptcy In Texas?
Under the law, any person, employed or self-employed, can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy as long as their secured and unsecured debts are no more than the required amount at the time of filing. These amounts vary depending on the current consumer price index.
A person who has filed for bankruptcy under any of the chapters is not allowed to file for another one within 180 days of denial if:
- The previous petition was dismissed because the person failed to show up in court in compliance with court orders.
- The petition was voluntarily dismissed because the creditors have asked for relief from the bankruptcy court for recovery of property over which they have liens.
Also, the Bankruptcy Code requires that each debtor that wants to file for bankruptcy must undergo credit counseling from an accredited credit counseling agency within the past 180 days prior to filing.
Filing For Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
To commence the Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, the debtor must file a petition with the bankruptcy court with jurisdiction in the area where he resides. Along with the petition the following documents must also be filed:
- Schedule of assets and liabilities
- Schedule of updated income and expenditures
- Schedule of executory contracts and leases that have not expired
- Statement of financial affairs
- Certificate of credit counseling
- Debt payment plan drafted during said counseling
- Proof of payments received from employers within 60 days prior to filing
- Statement of monthly net income including projected increase in income or expenses after filing
- Record of debtor’s interest, if any, in federal or state qualified education or tuition accounts
Aside from the documents that must be provided to the court, the debtor must furnish the case trustee with a copy of his tax return or transcripts for the latest tax year and tax returns filed during the pendency of the case.
The proper forms must be filled out correctly and filed properly. These forms are available for purchase in legal stationery stores or downloadable online. The court does not provide these forms. In order to fill out the papers completely, the debtor must have on hand specific information on the following:
- All his creditors and the amount he owed each of them.
- Source, amount, and frequency of his income.
- Detailed compilation of all expenses.
Filling out the forms and filing the petition is a very tedious process and can get very technical. That is why it is always a good idea to hire a bankruptcy attorney to take care of all the details and make sure all the information furnished to the court is accurate.
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The City of Lakeway is located on the south shore of Lake Travis. This area is beautiful and very popular for its scenery. Lakeway is considered a resort community roughly 25 miles to the west of Austin. It has all the upscale amenities that can be expected in a city of its caliber. Complete with rolling golf courses, active tennis courts, busy marinas, a private airport and many more, the city is considered one of the best small cities in the area.
Lakeway, Texas is rich in history. The land in the surrounding areas are known to offer relics of ancient times. A couple found a curious indentation on their property line that turned out to be a dinosaur print. Among the other things discovered in the area are the remains of a prehistoric woman, a mastodon skeleton, and various forms of ancient marine flora and fauna. This was from a time when the Texas hills were under a shallow ocean millions of years ago.
From more recent history, relics of local Indians who lived in the Lakeway area before colonists came to settle, have been found. Campfire residue, weapons and tools made of flint, and other remnants of daily life can still be found all over. These campsites are called Indian mounds and there are lots of them all over the Lakeway area.
The beautiful and enticing ambiance of the area attracted Indians and settlers alike to this exquisite land teeming with wildlife and freshwater.
Parks & Recreation
Modern day Lakeway City started out as a retirement and vacation home community. However, more and more families have become enamored with the relaxed lake lifestyle. The city has award-winning parks that people wish to be close to.
Lakeway City Park
The Lakeway City Park is located at 502 Hurst Creek Road, Lakeway. It is composed of gorgeous, well-maintained parklands with various activities available. The park itself does not charge for admission however, the upper level pavilion and picnic tables are for rent.
There is a multi-purpose field for public use but may be reserved for sports practices. Sports enthusiasts enjoy playing baseball, basketball, and beach volleyball on the field. Those that prefer peaceful nature walks love to go through the Butterfly Garden and the Wildflower Meadow. There are 2 miles of trails that hikers and rollerbladers enjoy. Water activities like canoeing, kayaking, and swimming are available on Lake Travis. Children enjoy the playscapes while adults grill hotdogs and burgers nearby. The family’s furry members need not be left behind as the dog park is a great place for them to have fun as well.
Breathtaking scenery can be enjoyed from the rim of the canyons or down the canyon trails. People enjoy walking through the trails while others prefer to go on mountain bikes.
Other parks that residents of Lakeway CIty include the following:
- Dragon Park
- Porpoise Park
- Lakeway Boulevard Linear Park
- Lakeway Swim Center Park
- Heritage Center Park
- Skate Park
Lakeway Resort And Spa
Residents looking to get away from the day do day can go visit the Texas Hill Country resort. It provides a full-service spa and three swimming pools. Kids love the waterslide. Enjoy excellent food and cocktails at the restaurant that has a gorgeous view of Lake Travis.
Austin Salt Cave
The area is full of natural caverns and the Austin Salt Cave is filled with pink Himalayan salt where visitors relax, taking in the salt cave vibes.
Lakeway is known for its temperate weather. Proof of this are the outdoor movie places where movie-goers enjoy nice evenings. Movies At The Park and Dive-In Movies are Lakeway’s go-to outdoor movie destinations.
The food scene in Lakeway is jumping. There are tons of places to choose from that offer a wide variety of food. Here are some of the more popular restaurants in Lakeway:
- The Oasis – known as the Sunset Capital of Texas, it is the largest outdoor restaurant in the state. It overlooks Lake Travis and can accommodate parties of up to 2,500. Along with the gorgeous view is fantastic food that diners keep coming back for.
- Emerald Point Bar & Grill – Located at Emerald Point Marina on Lake Travis’ south shore, the restaurant is accessible by car and boat. Imagine being out on the lake, boating and having fun during the day, then come in and dock straight on Emerald Point Bar & Grill’s customer dock. ORder from their delectable menu and enjoy the live band playing on the outdoor stage. Nothing could be more chill than that.
- Steiner Ranch Steakhouse – the restaurant offers authentic rodeo and ranching feels while serving extraordinary food and excellent wine to guests. They have general seating and private areas for those that would like to enjoy their food in privacy.
There are so many other restaurants offering all sorts of food in the Lakeway area with a lot of them offering beautiful lake views.
Lakeway, Texas is a vibrant upscale community brought closer together by the residents’ shared love of the beautiful hillside and lakeside views, near-perfect climate, and rich history and culture of the city.