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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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WELCOME 2017!!! Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you all had a fun and safe new year's celebration. I wish you all much peace, love and happiness in 2017. As good as 2016 was, let's make 2017 even better! For those that can, let's strive to not only do more and make more, but to give more. This year I intend to expand on what I successfully did last year; that is, to continue to present new, informative content here in my Sereechai Newspaper articles, as well as on my website, WWW.JC4LAW.COM. Although some of the topics I have covered and will cover may be somewhat controversial, I only present them to inform, warn and hopefully provoke you to think about, and openly discuss these topics with others. If an issue effects your life, your future, your family or others that you love, I'm here to talk about them. I may present inside information and advice that may be contrary to popular view, or even taboo, but I don't care if it is the right thing to do. By doing so, I hope it helps those facing the same problems now, as well as help those to avoid these problems later.

TOP 7 MISCONCEPTIONS OF 2016
It is common for people to create resolutions for the new year, hence the term "New Year's Resolution". People do this because they want to change something that they are not fully happy or content with. For example, someone who feels out of shape makes a New Year's resolution to workout more, eat better and to lose weight. Another person may feel like they are lonely, so they their resolution is to be more socially active, join some clubs and meet people. However, before every new resolution, the person must reflect on the current state of their discontent or unhappiness. They have to determine where they can improve. They have to determine where they made mistakes. Therefore, before we can make our New Year's Resolutions for 2017, let's take a look at last year's top 7 misconceptions so that hopefully, we don't repeat them in 2017.
1. Immigration
Misconception: People with "conditional" 2 year lawful permanent residency status (Green card) cannot get divorced before they renew and recieve their 10 year Green card.
Truth: There is no law that restricts a person's freedom to get divorced. Just as you are, for the most part, allowed to marry anyone you wish to, there is no law against getting a divorce. It is not true that you must stay married to your spouse in order to remove conditions on your green card - If you feel that you and your spouse, from whom you recieved your green card, no longer can live together in happy matrimony and wish to get divorced, you are free to dissolve this marriage (i.e., divorce).
2. Immigration
Misconception: After getting a divorce you have to wait for a certain period before you get remarried.
Truth: Once a divorce is finalized, you have the right to remarry as soon as you wish. There is no 'waiting period' to get remarried. Of course, you do have to obtain a marriage license and have the ceremony and do all the other requirements to have a legally-recognized marriage, but there is no actual 'waiting period'.
3. Immigration
Misconception: All immigration cases are the same. All lawyers are the same.
Truth: For both instances, this is definitely not true. Every immigration case is not the same. If it were, you would have every case being approved, or every case being denied. An immigration case where the sought-after-benefit might be the same (i.e., Person A and Person B both applying for a green card), may have diabolically opposing results because the fact scenerios are different (i.e, Person A has no criminal record or visa overstay, while Person B has one DUI and has overstayed their B-2 visitor's visa). And in regards to all lawyers being the same; this too, is false. How many lawyers do you know would advise you to do something that doesn't make them money? At my office, we only advise you to do what's in your best interest, regardless of whether or not we can bill for it. That means, between Choice A and Choice B, where if you pick Choice A, we charge you $50, and Choice B where we don't charge you anything, we would recommend Choice A if it was actually in your best interest. If you're a first time reader of my articles and know nothing of me, you would probably find this hard to believe and I wouldn't blame you. After all, it seems like everyone is out there to make a quick buck. But for those that are reading this and actually know me on a personal level, I think you would agree that I am different. I didn't become a lawyer to get rich. I became one in order to help others.
4. Business/Property
Misconception: You have to accept every term a Landlord provides you in order to secure your lease.

Truth: The key to securing a lease is compromise during the negotiating phase. That is, during the period you and the landlord are negotiating, both sides must agree to terms that both parties are comfortable with. When a landlord provides you with a lease, you are not bound by every provision, clause, requirement, etc, that is included. You are not forced to sign this contract. In fact, because you are "negotiating", you are allowed to counter-offer and/or strike out certain provisions, clauses, requirements, etc, that you don't agree with or feel comfortable with. Depending on business factors such as the market, your leverage, your creditworthiness, etc, the landlord may or may not choose to budge. That is his right. He can stick to his terms without any compromise...but so too, it is your right to not sign and look elsewhere. Besides, why would you want to enter into a long term business relationship with a landlord who is not willing to comprosmise? To me, a landlord that is not willing to compromise on any term of a lease, is a hardhead and should be avoided. 

5. Business

Misconception: Forming an LLC or Corporation will protect me against personal liability.
Truth: For the most part, yes. Limited Liability Companies (LLC) and Corporations are established in order to limit the personal liability of owners and shareholders. This means that if the business itself can't pay a creditor -- such as a supplier, a lender, or a landlord -- the creditor cannot legally come after an LLC or corporate member's house, car, or other personal possessions. However, there are instances where the owners and shareholders may not be protected. These instances allow the creditors to "pierce the corporate veil" of protection and find an LLC or Corporation owner personally liable if he or she:
· Personally guarantees a bank loan or a business debt on which the LLC defaults
· Intentionally does something fraudulent, illegal, or reckless that causes harm to the company or to someone else, or
· Treats the LLC as an extension of his or her personal affairs, rather than as a separate legal entity.
Therefore, just because you form a corporation or and LLC, does not mean you are absolutely protected against personal liability. Even after the formation, you must be sure to adhere to any requirements to maintain the protections aforded under the business entity.
6. Immigration
Misconception: If you have a 2 year "conditional" green card and are petitioning for your 10 year green card, you must have life insurance in order to show immigration that you have a real marriage.
Truth: Having life insurance is great, but you should not go out and get it just for immigration purposes. Not only is this fraudulent, it isn't necessary. There are countless married couples where both husbands and wives are U.S. citizens, have been married 10-20-30 years, yet do not have life insurance! Life insurance is just one example of evidence tending to show a bona fide marital relationship, but it is not the only one. Question why these people tell you that you need life insurance. It’s either because they are (1) misinformed themselves and honestly don't know the truth, or (2) get a “commission” for the referral!  I know this because in the past I've been approached by an insurance agent who offered me a "commission" for my referrals. Be reassured that I've never referred a client to anyone in exchange for any "commission". If and whenever I recommend or refer someone, it is because I truly believe they are competent and trustworthy. I don't seek anything in return for my referrals.
7. Immigration
Misconception: Having a baby (aka "Anchor Baby") in the United States will confer legal immigration status to the parents.
Truth: Illegal parent(s) who have children here in the United States are still "illegal". Having a child here in the United States does not automatically confer immigration benefits for the parent(s). However, having a baby born in the United States may possibly help his or her parents if the US-born child is aged 21 or over and then applies to adjust his or her parents' immigration status, or in the case of a removal proceeding where the removal of the illegal parent(s) would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to the U.S. citizen child.

So there you are - 7 of the top misconceptions of 2016. Now that we know the truth, let's make 2017 a better, more knowledgeable year. Stay tuned for future articles: I've only just begun! And as always, I am here for you. If you have any questions you would like to be answered in future articles or would just like to give me a comment or message, please feel free to email me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. And for more information about Immigration, Business, Family Law, Property, or others areas of the law, visit my website at: WWW.JC4LAW.COM. To contact me for a consultation, please call my office at (818) 846-5639, or my Thai-speaking assistant, Pat at (818) 505-4921.

Disclaimer: The information contained herein have been prepared for informational purposes only and are not to be considered legal advice unless otherwise specified. If you have a specific question regarding your personal case, please contact us directly at the Law Offices of Joseph Chitmongran for a full consultation.