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The Pros and Cons of Having a Will

last will and testament - estate planningA last will and testament, or “will,” is one of the most popular options Texans use to plan their estate. When you write a will, you appoint a personal representative (“executor”) to oversee your estate and provide them with specific directions to distribute your property after you pass away. While a will can be a powerful tool if properly produced, another option may be better for you in some circumstances. Today, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of using a will to plan your estate.

The Cons of Having a Will

Wills Aren’t Private

When someone passes away with a will, probate proceedings begin. A judge will first determine if the will follows the law. If it does, the executor must identify the decedent’s heirs, pay final expenses, settle claims, hear challenges, and distribute the remaining property as the decedent directed.

Once probate proceedings conclude, the decedent’s will becomes a part of the public record. Anyone can access it from the appropriate county’s court clerk by providing the decedent’s name and paying a fee.

If you would rather keep proceedings private, you may want to consider creating a trust instead of writing a will.

Wills Don’t Have Tax Benefits

So long as a will is written correctly, tax proceedings can be straightforward. However, a will does not share the same tax incentives as certain types of trusts.

For example, you set up an irrevocable trust and transfer a vintage car into it. The trust now owns the vehicle, meaning it is not a part of your estate and, therefore, not taxable income. However, the drawback of this option is that you would not be able to take the car out of the trust.

Other trusts, such as charitable lead or remainder trusts, might be eligible for partial tax deductions, including estate and gift tax incentives.

Wills Can Be Challenged

Since probate proceedings are public, anyone can file a lawsuit to challenge your will’s validity so long as they have the proper reason. Some potential challenges include:

  • Someone coerced the testator into writing or making significant alterations to the will.
  • The testator wasn’t of sound mind or didn’t understand what they were signing.
  • The will is missing a required element, such as a signature or a witness.

Texas law gives interested parties two years to file their challenge from the time the court admits the will into probate.

The Pros of Having a Will

Wills Get You Out of Intestacy

“Intestacy” is when someone passes away without a will, trust, or another plan for their estate.

After someone dies intestate, a judge will appoint an executor (usually a surviving spouse or child) to distribute the decedent’s property according to Texas law. It’s common for the entire estate to go to the decedent’s spouse or get split evenly among all surviving heirs.

Intestate proceedings can be lengthy, and the court will not necessarily award your property to the people you’d like to receive it. While a will doesn’t avoid court proceedings for your heirs, you will still make your voice heard.

Wills Can Include Funeral Preferences

Many of our clients will choose to plan their final wishes alongside planning their estate. With the flexibility of a will, you can outline both of these preferences in a single place. This can include information such as:

  • Whether you desire a burial or cremation
  • The space you own at a cemetery or columbarium
  • A plan you’ve already purchased from a funeral director
  • Your preferences for a memorial or funeral service, if desired

You can list your final wishes with as much detail as you desire. For example, some testators list the title of a favorite hymn they want to be played or sung at a service.

Wills Can Provide for Your Children

make a will to take care of your childrenThe last thing we want to think about is leaving our children behind. However, if you choose a will to plan your estate, you can establish a clear plan to provide for them in a way trusts cannot.

If you have children, your estate lawyer will advise you to include a guardianship clause in your will. You can designate a person you’d like to take care of your children and establish a “testamentary trust” to reserve assets for their care. Similarly, you can add a guardianship clause and testamentary trust for your pets’ care.

Contact a Wills and Estate Lawyer in Austin

If you’re thinking about making a will as a part of your estate plan, contact the wills and estates lawyers at the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC in Austin.

We’re ready to answer your questions, discuss personalized estate planning strategies, and assist you in drafting, reviewing, or amending your will. Make your final wishes heard.

Call our office at (512) 323-2333 for an introductory consultation.

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What Rights Do Creditors Have Against My Estate?

debt and estate planningDeciding how your assets should be distributed after you pass can help to reduce the risk of unnecessary stress for the loved ones you leave behind. However, as you work to protect the best interests of your heirs, it is important to remember that any debts you have upon your death will need to be settled before the remainder of your estate can go to the beneficiaries of your will. Understanding the rights that creditors will have against your estate can help you know what actions to take in your planning process.

The Probate Process

Probate is a legal process used to identify a decedent’s assets, pay their debts, and distribute any remaining assets to their beneficiaries.

In Texas, this process is necessary any time a person dies with assets solely in their name, whether or not they have left a will. If the estate’s assets are worth more than $75,000, Texas requires a “full probate” process, which will be court-supervised.

In Texas, a personal representative (or executor) of an estate is required to be represented by a licensed lawyer. This is because the executor represents the interests of both the heirs and creditors of the estate.

Rights of Creditors in Probate

creditors and debt collection on your estateIf probate procedures are correctly followed, the process is a thorough means of paying the decedent’s debts in a timely and orderly fashion. The first step is notifying the creditors of the decedent’s death. This is required by law, and it allows any creditors an opportunity to file a claim against the estate.

The executor’s or personal representative’s attorney can take care of sending notices to any known or reasonably ascertainable creditors directly. A notice posted in a local newspaper can fulfill the notification obligation for all other creditors.

A creditor then has a time limit within which they may file a claim against the estate. They must do so within the later of:

  • Six months from when the probate process officially begins (i.e., the date letters testamentary or of administration are granted), or
  • Four months after the date the mandatory notice is received

It is the creditor’s responsibility to file their claim with the court before these deadlines. If they do not do so on time, their claims will be barred forever except in rare circumstances.

Must the Estate Pay Every Claim Presented?

An estate’s personal representative can decide within 30 days whether to allow or reject a creditor’s claim. The claim is deemed rejected if the personal representative does not allow or rejects it within that time. If the claim is rejected in whole or in part, the creditor must file a suit on the claim within 90 days, or the claim will be barred.

Priority of Paying Creditor Claims

According to Texas law, there is no time limit by which a creditor’s valid claim should be paid, but the personal representative should aim to do so as speedily as possible.

However, there is a specified order in which claims are to be paid, particularly when there are debts in excess of the estate assets available to pay the claims:

  1. Federal tax liabilities
  2. Funeral and last expenses
  3. Family allowance
  4. Administration expenses
  5. Matured secured claims
  6. Child support
  7. State taxes
  8. Incarceration costs
  9. Medical assistance payments
  10. Other claims

If the estate does not have assets that can satisfy certain claims, those claims may ultimately be rejected. The probate process will provide finality for such insolvent estates.

Contact an Austin Wills and Estates Attorney

Contrary to what many people believe, your debt will not die with you. The debt you have at the time of your death will have significant implications for the distribution of your assets to your heirs. This is why understanding what happens to the debt you leave behind is such an important aspect of estate planning.

If you are concerned about how your debts might affect your loved ones after you are gone, contact an experienced Austin wills and estates attorney from The Law Office of William Jang, PLLC today.

We can help you assess and update your current plans so that you are able to ensure that your last wishes can be carried out in the manner you desire.

Call us today at (512) 323-2333 or contact us online for a consultation with a member of our legal team.

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Everything You Need to Know About Your Assault Charge

arrested for assaultAssault is a serious criminal offense in Texas. You could face significant penalties, such as imprisonment and fines. Even if the case gets dismissed or the jury acquits you of the charges, the arrest alone is enough to affect your life negatively. The stigma could follow you and interfere with your ability to find employment or a place to live.

You should contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately following an arrest. With adequate legal representation, you could get the charges dropped or sentencing reduced.

What Is Assault Under Texas Law?

According to Texas Penal Code § 22.01, assault occurs when someone:

  • Intentionally or knowingly threatens another person with bodily injury, including their spouse;
  • Recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally causes someone bodily injury, including their spouse; or
  • Knowingly or intentionally engages in physical contact with another person even though the offender knew or should have known that the victim would consider it offensive or provocative.

Depending on the circumstances, you could face various assault charges, such as:

  • Simple assault
  • Aggravated assault
  • Aggravated assault with a weapon
  • Domestic violence
  • Harassment of a public servant
  • Discharging a firearm
  • Sexual assault
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Terroristic threats

Penalties for an Assault Conviction in Texas

The courts use sentencing guidelines to determine the appropriate penalty for assault. Multiple factors could affect the severity of the sentence, including:

  • Type and severity of the crime
  • Whether the offense caused someone’s bodily injury or death
  • Defendant’s criminal history
  • Whether there was a weapon used to commit the crime

Assault charges can be either a misdemeanor or felony. Misdemeanors are less serious than felonies. Sentencing depends on the level of the misdemeanor or felony offense.

Misdemeanor Assault

A misdemeanor assault consists of three classes with these penalties:

  • Class C misdemeanor – Up to a $500 fine
  • Class B misdemeanor – A maximum of a $2,000 fine, no more than 180 days in jail, or both
  • Class A misdemeanor – No more than a $4,000 fine, up to one-year imprisonment, or both

Felony Assault

A felony assault is more serious than a misdemeanor assault and comes with severe penalties. Sentencing depends on the degree of the felony:

  • State jail felony – Up to a $10,000 fine, 180 days to two years in state jail, or both
  • Third-degree felony – A maximum of a $10,000 fine and between two and ten years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice
  • Second-degree felony – Up to a $10,000 fine and two to twenty years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice
  • First-degree felony – No more than a $10,000 fine and five to 99 years or life imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice

charged with assault jail timeEnhanced sentencing is available for repeat and habitual offenders facing a first, second, or third-degree felony charge. That means the court can increase the prison term based on the defendant’s prior convictions and the timeframe between the current conviction and previous convictions.

For example, a third-degree felony assault charge could increase to a second-degree felony sentence if the defendant has two prior state jail felony convictions on their record.

Common Defenses Against Assault Charges

The prosecutor’s job is to prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That means your criminal defense lawyer must find a way to instill doubt in the juror’s minds with witnesses, expert testimony, evidence, and other means.

The most common defenses used in assault cases include:

  • The defendant didn’t know the victim would find the actions offensive or provocative
  • The alleged offense didn’t injure anyone
  • The defendant committed the crime in self-defense or defense of others
  • Law enforcement performed an illegal search and seizure
  • An alibi places the defendant elsewhere during the crime
  • An eyewitness wrongly identified the defendant
  • The offense occurred because of duress or coercion by another person
  • The victim consented, or the defendant had a reasonable belief of the victim’s consent
  • The arresting officer didn’t read the offender their Miranda rights
  • The victim lied about who attacked them

Contact an Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

The Law Office of William Jang, PLLC has decades of experience defending clients against assault charges. We understand how scary an arrest can be and the consequences it causes in your life. You could face jail time, fines, and other serious consequences.

Our legal team will review your case and create a strategy to defend you during the trial. We always use a personalized approach to tailor a defense that meets the unique needs of the case. We will fight hard to try to get the charges dropped and secure your freedom and future.

If you face assault charges in Texas, call the Austin criminal defense attorneys of the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC at (512) 323-2333 today for a confidential consultation about your defense.

What Not to Say to an Insurance Adjuster

insurance adjuster

Since someone else caused your injuries in a car crash, you can pursue compensation to cover your losses. It’s your right to do so. In the meantime, you want to be sure that you don’t do anything to hurt your potential personal injury claim.

Being injured in an accident isn’t something anyone is prepared for. So, after an accident, it’s understandable that you likely don’t know what to do. After all, you’re dealing with pain and emotional trauma from the injuries you sustained in the accident. You’re worried about your well-being and how your injuries could impact you for the rest of your life. Your focus should be on recovering from your injuries as best you can.

While you’re focused on your recovery, the at-fault party’s insurance company may already be trying to contact you. You must be careful about communicating with the insurance company. There are certain statements that you might make or phrases that you might inadvertently say to an insurance company representative that could end up hurting your claim.

What is an insurance adjuster?

Insurance adjusters work for the insurance company and investigate and process personal injury claims that are filed by injured parties against their policyholders. An important fact to remember is that the insurance adjuster isn’t there to help you with your claim. It’s not their job to ensure that you’re fairly compensated for your injuries. The insurance adjuster’s job is to benefit their employer, the insurance company, by saving the company money. To do this, an insurance adjuster will try to offer you the least amount of compensation possible to resolve your claim.

The insurance adjuster could use your words to reduce the amount of money they would have to pay you to settle your claim. You might be wondering, “how could something I say lead to my compensation being reduced or my claim being denied outright?” In Texas, there’s a law called proportionate responsibility. This law states that if you were more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, you can’t obtain compensation for your injuries. Furthermore, if you were less than 50 percent at fault for the accident, your compensation is reduced by the same percentage as your fault. That means that if you’re entitled to $100,000 and were 25 percent at fault for the accident, your maximum compensation would be $75,000.

If you were involved in a car accident, the Austin Auto Accident Attorneys at Law Office of William Jang, PLLC can help you properly prepare for your case. Fill out the online form to contact us immediately for an initial consultation.

Why You Have to Be Careful What You Say

talking to insurance adjuster

If you bump into someone in the store, you might apologize to them while they’re simultaneously apologizing to you. It’s likely an automatic response when something happens by accident. So when you’re injured in an accident, you may not think twice about voicing your regret that it happened. Of course, you wish the accident never happened because it resulted in you being seriously injured.

Some phrases that you, as an injured party, might use when contacted by an insurance adjuster could be music to their ears. If you speak to an insurance adjuster, you should refrain from making any of the following statements:

“I’m Sorry.”

But if you tell the adjuster you’re “sorry,” it could hurt your ability to recover compensation for your injuries. The word “sorry” or a similar statement could be interpreted by the insurance adjuster as if you accept accountability for the accident. Accountability can be the same as fault in a personal injury case. If the insurance adjuster can argue that you accepted some level of fault for the accident, they can use that as evidence to reduce or eliminate the compensation you may be owed.

“I Don’t Know What Happened.”

Saying that you don’t know what happened leading up to the accident and your injuries could be viewed by the insurance adjuster as you being inattentive when the accident happened. Distraction or inattentiveness, particularly in car accidents, is a form of negligence. The insurance adjuster could claim that this admission by you is evidence of your negligence or fault in causing the accident.

“Yes, You Can Record My Statement.”

One way to prevent an insurance adjuster from using your words against you is to not allow them to record your conversation with them. When an insurance adjuster contacts you after an accident, they’ll typically ask if they can record your statement and any answers to their questions on a recorded line. It is 100 percent your choice to deny them permission to record your statement. Just tell the adjuster politely that you can’t talk to them without your attorney present, and then call us.

Contact the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC

Never speak to an insurance adjuster after a car or motorcycle accident without first speaking to an attorney.

The Austin auto accident attorneys of the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC can help you with your personal injury case. Our passionate attorneys are dedicated to helping you pursue fair compensation for your injuries. Call us at (512) 323-2333 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

Five Reasons Why You Need an LLC

limited liability business lawyer

There is a range of benefits to forming an LLC, whether you’re starting a new business or restructuring an established company. An Austin Business Formation Lawyer at the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC can help you understand how this type of entity works and why it is vital to create your LLC the right way to protect yourself, your business, and your interests.

A limited liability company (LLC) is a legal entity used to own and operate a business. Structuring a new or existing business this way can protect the owner from becoming personally responsible for liabilities and debts. An LLC combines various characteristics of a sole proprietorship or partnership with some elements of a corporation.

Send us a message right away to set up an initial consultation if you would like advice on how to set up your business as an LLC.

Below are five primary reasons you should consider forming a limited liability company.

Avoid Double Taxation

A C-corporation or S-corporation are subject to double taxation. That means business owners must report all profits and losses separately on their business tax returns and individual tax return. Any profit received by a corporation must be taxed before distributing to the owners. Then the owner reports their share of profits on their personal tax return, which is also subject to being taxed.

However, as an LLC, you are subject to pass-through taxation. With pass-through taxation, you don’t have to pay corporate taxes. Instead, profits from an LLC can pass to its members for reporting on personal tax returns. Profits are subject to taxation only once a year at the member’s individual income tax rate.

Protect Personal Assets

LLC lawyer

When you structure your business as an LLC, you protect your personal assets from being used in any lawsuit against your company. For example, if a creditor sues your business, your house, car, bank accounts, and other personal property remain protected from being used to pay back the debt you owe. The only assets at risk are the money in your business bank account and business property.

Startup companies often form as LLCs to protect personal assets. This can be especially important when someone is just starting out in a new business venture and doesn’t have the money to pay off debts or settle a lawsuit.

If you own your own business, an Austin Business Formation Lawyer at the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC can help you understand how to pay less tax and protect your assets. Fill out this online form to set up an initial consultation.

Better Credibility

You add credibility to your business when you structure it as an LLC. It’s a more formal business structure than a partnership or sole proprietorship. Other people will recognize that your business is credible and might place more trust in you as an owner.

Additionally, an LLC appearing in the name of a company makes it more attractive to customers. When they know it’s a legitimate business, they might feel more comfortable buying your product or service. You show you took the time, energy, and money to create a formal entity instead of slapping together an unincorporated business.

Flexibility in Ownership

You have minimal restrictions on how to structure owning and managing an LLC. Other entities, such as S-corporations, limit the number of owners they can have to 100 or fewer. Additionally, owners of an S-corp can’t be non-U.S. citizens or another company.

An LLC allows the ownership structure to be any of the following:

  • Multi-member business managed by the members
  • Single-member LLC
  • Multi-member structure with management by a manager appointed by other members

Easier to Form than Other Business Structures

Establishing a business as a corporation or another legal entity can be complicated. Corporations often require holding annual meetings, assigning formal officer roles, recording company minutes, and creating bylaws.

When you structure your business as an LLC, the process is much simpler. All you need to do is follow these easy steps:

  • Choose a name for your business
  • Appoint a registered agent
  • File a Certificate of Formation

State law doesn’t require creating an operating agreement. However, you might choose to file one anyway. It outlines how an LLC plans to conduct business. You also have to obtain an Employer Identification Number from the IRS if your LLC has more than one member.

It’s also easier to maintain an LLC than other legal entities. All you have to do is file an annual report. Filing a report is necessary to maintain your business’s status as an LLC. You can also include changes you made during the year, such as your business’s address and phone number. An annual report keeps your LLC in good standing and compliant with state laws.

Contact Us

At The Law Office of William Jang, PLLC, our lawyers have decades of combined legal experience. We can assist you with the process of starting your new company or establishing an LLC for your existing business. Our legal team can handle the paperwork, filing, and other requirements of creating your new legal entity so you can focus on day-to-day operations.

If you want to discuss how to create or restructure your business as a limited liability company, contact The Law Office of William Jang, PLLC immediately. We can meet you for a confidential consultation to explore your options and advise what you can do to protect yourself and your business. Call us at (512) 323-2333, send us a message to chat live, or fill out this online form to schedule a consultation. We’re available 24/7 to speak with you.

What You Need to Know About a DWI

lawyer for DUI/DWI

Driving while under the influence is a serious charge and being convicted of the crime comes with significant consequences. A DWI conviction can impact your ability to drive, your employment opportunities, your housing options, and more. Additionally, a DWI conviction could threaten your liberty, given the possible penalty of jail time.

If you’re charged with a DWI, you should obtain adequate legal representation to defend you in court. You have inalienable rights that need to be protected and you don’t want to do say or do anything that could compromise your ability to mount as strong a defense as possible.

Penalties for Driving While Under the Influence

The penalties for a DWI conviction vary based on whether the current DWI conviction is your first one or you’ve had several DWI convictions prior.

If this is your first DWI conviction, you could be fined up to $2,000 and sentenced to jail for up to 180 days. If this is your second DWI conviction, you could be sentenced to jail for up to one year and fined up to $4,000. If you have committed your third DWI offense and been convicted, you face a $10,000 fine and a maximum ten-year prison sentence for a 3rd-degree felony.

Beyond the legal consequences of being convicted of driving while under the influence, there are long-term and potentially life-long effects of having a misdemeanor or felony conviction on your record.

One consequence that can have a widespread negative impact on multiple parts of your life is the suspension of your driver’s license. For first-time convictions, you could lose your driver’s license for up to one year. For second and third-time DWI convictions, you face having your driver’s license suspended for up to two years. This can be a major hurdle for you and could hinder your ability to travel to work, to doctor appointments, to participate in hobbies, and get to do other activities on which your livelihood depends.

Speaking of employment, because many employers perform background checks, your DWI conviction could reflect negatively on you as a prospective employee. Some employers won’t hire people who have been convicted of crimes. Depending on your occupation, such as one that requires a high-level security clearance or one in which driving is a primary duty, your DWI conviction could severely compromise your ability to keep your current job.

Similarly, certain housing options (particularly apartments and some government housing) require background checks, and a felony conviction could cause you to be denied a lease.

Defenses for Driving While Under the Influence Charges

DUI/DWI drunk driving

One is to question how your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level was tested. Typically, when a driver is pulled over by law enforcement and is suspected of being under the influence, the law enforcement officer will conduct a field sobriety test. Depending on how the driver responds, the law enforcement officer will administer a breathalyzer test to determine your blood alcohol concentration.

If you’re charged with driving while under the influence, you’ll want to hire a defense attorney with experience handling DWI cases right away. Your best chance of beating a DWI charge is to provide a compelling defense that casts doubt on the evidence against you. There are several defense strategies that an experienced defense attorney may consider.

An experienced defense attorney may review the police record on how the breathalyzer test was administered to determine whether the test was administered properly. If it wasn’t, your attorney can raise serious questions about the test being used as evidence based on the possibility that it’s invalid and could potentially have the evidence thrown out. If this is the primary evidence for your DWI charge, there’s a chance it could lead to a dismissal of the charge or an acquittal.

Similarly, if a BAC blood test was administered, your defense attorney could examine the results to determine if the testing was performed correctly. If there are questions regarding how your blood was tested, your defense attorney could raise an issue as to the reliability of the test results.

While more difficult to support, your defense attorney may determine that it’s warranted for them to raise an issue of the legality of the traffic stop at which the field sobriety and breathalyzer tests were administered.

Contact an Attorney to Help With Your DWI Case

If you’ve been charged with a DWI, hire an experienced defense attorney right away. You need to protect your rights, and a defense attorney can help ensure that your rights aren’t infringed upon. We may be able to help you avoid a conviction or minimize any penalties you may face if convicted.

Call the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC today at (512) 323-2333 to speak with our knowledgeable and dedicated DWI defense attorneys.

Can I Text My Child When They Are with My Ex?

child custody lawAs tempting as it is to text your child when they’re spending time with your ex, you should be extremely careful before pushing that “send” button. Anything you send to your child could potentially be read by your former spouse and used against you in a custody dispute. If you repeatedly text your child during visits with your spouse, they could see that as you trying to undermine their relationship with your child.

At the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC, our Austin family law attorneys know how tricky divorce cases and custody orders can be. Our highly experienced lawyers can look at your situation and inform you of what your rights are and what your best course of action is when your child is visiting your ex. We can also work with you to get a custody order modified if you feel like you aren’t being allowed to adequately communicate with your child when they spend time with your former spouse.

For more information on our family law services, visit our contact page or call (512) 323-2333.

Child Custody Basics in Texas

Texas law does not use the terms “custody” or “visitation” when it comes to deciding which parents will raise and spend time with the children following a divorce. Instead, the courts use the terms “conservatorship,” “possession,” and access.”

“Conservatorship” is essentially each parent’s rights and duties when it comes to raising their child. It includes things like making sure the child’s medical needs are provided for, deciding where they’ll go to school, whether the child will receive any religious instruction, and so on. If only one parent is allowed to make these decisions for a child after a divorce, they are said to have Sole Managing Conservatorship. If both parents share in these rights and duties, they have Joint Managing Conservatorship.

“Possession” is physical custody of the child, and “access” is basically what we commonly think of as visitation time. In most divorce cases, the courts will award one parent primary possession, while also creating an access schedule for the child to visit with the other parent. If the parents cannot reach an agreement on visitation time on their own, under Texas law the “Standard Protection Order” gives the non-custodial parent the right to see their child on the first, third, and fifth weekend (if applicable) of each month from 6 p.m. on Friday to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The non-custodial parent also has the right to see the child on Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. each week during the regular school term, unless the courts find this extra visitation time is not in the child’s best interest.

Courts do not necessarily have to abide by the rules of the Standard Protection Order, however. In cases involving family violence or other potential dangers to the child, a judge can severely restrict a non-custodial parent’s visitation rights.

How Custody Orders Affect Communication With Your Child

texting child

If you and your ex-spouse have Joint Managing Conservatorship, or if your spouse has Sole Managing Conservatorship, you need to be watchful about anything you send to your child. Whatever you send, even if you didn’t intend it in a negative light, could be read by your ex. They can use the text message as evidence to have a Custody Order amended and further limit your visitation time. If your ex-spouse is not following the terms of your Custody Order, however, sending your child a text to figure out what’s going on is reasonable and likely will not be seen in a negative light by the courts.

Your post-divorce Custody Order has a significant impact on whether or not it’s a good idea to text your child when they’re with your ex. If you have Sole Managing Conservatorship of your child and the child spends most of their time with you, you have the right to know where they are and what they’re doing when they are spending time with your spouse. That said, spamming your child with texts while they are with your former spouse can make you look intrusive and give your ex ammunition to potentially have a Custody Order amended.

Ultimately, your best bet is to leave your child alone when they’re spending time with your former spouse, regardless of the particulars of your Custody Order. Unless you fear for your child’s safety, your former spouse has the right to spend time with them without interruptions from your text messages.

Contact Us

If you are concerned about what’s happening to your child during their visits with your ex, you can seek to have your custody order amended to include regular check-ins with your child via text messages.

Have more questions about child custody or another family law issue in Texas? Contact the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC by visiting our contact page or calling (512) 323-2333.

Can You Get Married on a Visitor Visa?

getting married in the US

The short answer to this complex question is yes, you can get married to someone who has entered the U.S. on a visitor visa. Generally, anyone from a foreign country enters the U.S. with a visa. The type of visa they are granted is based on the intent of their visit. A non-immigrant visa designates a temporary stay, and an immigrant visa designates an individual who will be applying for permanent residence. Visitor visas fall under non-immigrant visas.

If you or a loved one has questions about immigration status, visas, or how to get married on a visitor visa, call the Austin immigration attorneys at the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC. Whether you have arrived to pursue an education, take a job offer, or get married, you have legal rights as an immigrant. An experienced and qualified immigration attorney can help you meet your goals and obtain citizenship. Call our offices at (512) 323-2333 for a confidential legal consultation.

Are There Different Types of Visitor Visas?

There are two types of visitor visas. An individual who comes to the U.S. for business will have a category B-1 visa, and an individual here for tourism will have a category B-2. People who come to the U.S. for a combination may hold a B-1/B-2 visa.

Activities that fall under a business visa include attending conventions or conferences, settling an estate, negotiating a contract, or consulting with business associates. Activities that qualify for a tourist visa include vacation, medical treatment, participation in social events, participation in amateur events, or enrollment in a short recreational course for credit towards a degree. This might include a two-day cooking class or dance class while on vacation. In some instances, a person may be traveling on business for half of their visit and vacation for the second half. This would qualify them for a B-1/B-2 visa.

If an individual comes to the U.S. on a visitor visa and decides to get married, they may be allowed to apply for a green card under an adjustment of status. This is a process in which the visa status is adjusted from visitor visa to permanent resident.

What Are Your Intentions?

getting married on a visa

There are some types of travel and activities that require a different type of visa, such as employment, study, paid performances, or work as a foreign press, film, or journalist. A U.S. citizen can also apply for a non-immigrant fiancé visa (K-1). This allows the individual from a foreign country to come to the U.S. to get married. It also opens the door for the couple to legally apply for an adjustment of status after the marriage.

In the past, there have been many who have come to the U.S. on a visitor visa with the intent of marrying a U.S. citizen to acquire a green card status. The fiancé visa is slightly more difficult and often takes longer than a visitor visa. Also, there is nothing in the regulations that says you cannot get married on a tourist visa.

However, when an individual has the clear intention of marrying and applying for an adjustment of status to stay permanently in the U.S., it can cause trouble. The government sees this as visa fraud. Individuals who successfully get an adjustment of status have generally been able to prove they came with the honest intentions assigned to the visitor visa. In other words, they had no intention of getting married when they came to the U.S. For a marriage under a visitor visa to work, it must fit several rules. The marriage must be in good faith and not for the purpose of acquiring a green card and permanent residence.

The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) will also look at the timing of your wedding. It can raise a red flag if you are married quickly after getting into the U.S. and then apply for an adjustment of status. If this adjustment is denied, you may be referred for removal or deportation. It is also important to remember that while the application for adjustment to status is underway, you cannot leave the U.S. until you receive your final papers. If you do leave, you may not be allowed to return, and your application will be classified “abandoned” and then denied.

However, foreign nationals can come to the U.S. to get married and then return home. You must be able to prove your intent to return home after the wedding. Documents like lease agreements, a return ticket, and letters from employers show your intention.

Contact the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC with Your Questions Today

The consequences of visa fraud can be significant. Individuals may be deported or may pay a penalty of up to $10,000 and imprisonment of up to five years. In the eyes of the government, the intent to marry a U.S. citizen is the same as an intent to immigrate. This is why proving there was no initial intention to marry under a visitor visa is vital if you choose to apply for an adjustment of status.

The safest way is by filing for a fiancé visa. If you or a loved one has questions about their immigration status or marrying a foreign national, call the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC today. Our experienced and compassionate legal team will seek legal protection for your rights under the law. Call our offices today at (512) 323-2333 for a confidential legal consultation.

How to Prevent Autumn Motorcycle Accidents

Fall is the perfect time of year to take out the motorcycle for a ride along a scenic route. The leaves start to change colors, and temperatures aren’t as scorching as they are during the summer months in Texas.

motorcycle in the fall

Commuting to school, work, or riding out of town can be an enjoyable experience for motorcyclists. However, there are some dangers during autumn you might not have encountered during the previous months. You could face various hazards that increase the risk of an accident.

Fortunately, there are some precautions you can take while preparing to take your motorcycle out on the road for the first time. You should also follow certain safety procedures for the additional rides you take during the fall. The tips below could keep you safe and prevent a traumatic accident resulting in injuries and death.

Maintenance and Repairs

Some areas of Texas are blisteringly hot during the summer. It’s not an ideal time of year to ride your motorcycle. If your bike has been sitting in the garage or driveway for the last couple of months, it might be time for routine maintenance.

Your motorcycle could have some issues that cause it to malfunction while using it. It’s crucial to inspect the vehicle thoroughly to ensure it’s in good working condition. Check the fluid levels, fill the bike with gas, and put more air in the tires if they look deflated. It’s also a good idea to look at all the parts and systems and test them to ensure they’re working correctly.

If a manufacturer recalled one of the parts on your motorcycle, replace it promptly. You should also address any damage you find and repair it immediately. Riding a bike with recalled or defective parts could have disastrous consequences. The engine could stall, the brakes could fail, or another mechanical issue could cause you to lose control.

Check the Weather Forecast

Whenever you plan to spend time outside with friends or family, you probably check the weather first. You want to make sure it’s not going to rain during your pool party or outdoor barbeque. The same preparations should apply whenever you want to ride your motorcycle.

Although you might think a little rain won’t cause any problems, it could create slick roads, causing your bike to slide on the pavement. Thunderstorms can bring strong winds, heavy rainfall, and lightning strikes, placing you at risk of serious harm. Without the same protections afforded to car and truck drivers, you’re at the mercy of the environmental factors you encounter.

Dress Appropriately for the Ride

Traffic-related accidents happen every day. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to avoid ending up on a collision course with a reckless driver. However, you can take the necessary steps to protect yourself from significant physical injuries if you wear the right clothes.

Many motorcyclists have a false sense of safety when traveling around the neighborhood or on a deserted road. You might think you won’t get hurt, but a short trip can become life-threatening if you hit your head on the hard pavement, tumble down an embankment, or end up in a lake.

You should always wear a helmet, even if you’re only riding somewhere a few miles away. Wear comfortable clothing but make sure it’s not too loose. It’s also a good idea to wear comfortable shoes. If you’re trying to ride while wearing flip-flops, your foot could slip, causing you to lose control and crash into a tree or nearby vehicle.

If you plan on riding your motorcycle at night, wear bright colors or reflective tape. Put lights on your bike, so other drivers can see you in the dark. If you wear all black, it will be more challenging for approaching motorists to see and proceed with caution around you.

Be on the Lookout for Hazards

When autumn arrives, that means the leaves start to fall off the trees. Piles of leaves in the middle of the road can create a slippery surface for your motorcycle. They can also hide dangerous debris, such as tree branches, potholes, and additional hazards.

If you’re riding under a tree after significant rainfall, a wet leaf could fall and stick to your visor, impairing your vision of your surroundings.

The fall season also brings an increase in traffic. People return home from vacation, and kids go back to school, meaning more vehicles are around while you ride your motorcycle on the roads. Cars, trucks, and other motorcyclists can become obstacles for you to navigate around, especially if a motorist drifts into your lane, stops without warning, or otherwise behaves recklessly.

Always remain alert when you’re riding near other drivers. If you see someone speeding or weaving in and out of traffic, try to maintain your distance so you can avoid becoming a casualty of their misconduct if they cause an accident.

Contact Us

If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident due to someone else’s negligent actions, do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC. An experienced and dedicated personal injury accident attorney could represent you in your case and help fight for the justice and maximum compensation you deserve. Call us now at (512) 323-2333.

Protests held to advocate for protection of immigrant rights

Immigrant rights advocates scheduled demonstrations all around the country last weekend, January 14 and 15. The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles spokesman Jorge-Mario Cabrera said of the protests, “This is our first salvo to what may be a long, drawn out campaign.”

The demonstrations are the latest movement in the advocacy that has progressed since 2006 when over one million people protested a Republican-backed immigration bill that would have made it possible to criminally prosecute people in the country illegally. Rallies last weekend culminated at a church in Washington, at a teachers’ union hall in Chicago, and in Los Angeles and San Jose.

Demonstrations were sparked by President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric that he would implement tougher immigration policies and penalties. However, some people are hesitant to join the rallies without the action Trump is referencing. University of California, Berkeley professor of ethnic studies Chris Zepeda-Millan said, “Right now, all we have is these vague kinds of promises. Attacks have to occur for people to mobilize.”

We at the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC are committed to providing you with the legal support and representation you need when it comes to processing your immigration into the United States. Speak with a qualified member of our legal team by calling our Austin offices today at (512) 323-2333.

What Our Clients Are Saying

Alejandro Colunga
Alejandro Colunga Dec 27, 2022

He help me out with my TN Visa. The process was very fast and smooth. He is very responsive via email as well as phone calls. He properly advices you accordingly to your immigration status. Totally recommend him.

daniel nam
daniel nam Dec 21, 2022

I'm so happy my wife and I chose to go with the William Jang. We thought immigration process was a long, and frustrating at times process. However, wife and I received our permanent resident card in 2 months. We could not have done it without William Jang. We highly recommend using this team for... Read More

Ming Li
Ming Li Jun 23, 2022

Had my first consultation with Attorney Jang, and it’s so helpful! Mr. Jang is the most professional attorney that I have ever consulted so far.

Andrew Kim
Andrew Kim Mar 26, 2022

I contacted the Law Office of William Jang back in August of 2021 for help filing my N-400, and with Mr. Jang and his assistants' help, I was able to file the application in October and received my citizenship in March of 2022. Mr. Jang was there every step of the way - he helped me gather and... Read More

Andrés Vite
Andrés Vite Mar 06, 2022

Im very Happy with Mr Jang advice, after 4 months my case for a construction business was approved, he told me what things to change in my business plan in order to be approved, his assistant Yaritza was very helpful and kind as well, I will hire him again to renew my visa

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