Articles Posted in General Law

Student Visa Blog.jpgIf you are a citizen of a foreign country and wish to study in the United States (“U.S.”), you will need to apply for a U.S. student visa. Below is a basic step-by-step guide to obtaining an F-1 visa, a non-immigrant visa used by international students pursuing an academic degree or a shorter course of study in the U.S.

Step 1: Apply to the U.S. Academic Institution(s)

An international student must first satisfy the academic institution’s admissions criteria. Carefully read the school’s website to learn about admissions requirements for international students. The application process may involve completing standardized tests, writing an admissions essay, and submitting recommendation letters. Upon the student’s acceptance, the institution will issue an I-20 form (titled “Certificate of Eligibility”). The I-20 certifies that the student has been accepted to a full-time academic program and is financially capable of supporting themselves in the U.S. throughout their course of study. The I-20 also permits the student to apply for an F-1 visa.

MLJ WEB.jpgTonight is the 12th annual Stepping Out In Style fundraising event presented by Dress for Success Indianapolis and PNC Bank at the JW Mariott in Indianapolis.

Stepping Out in Style is a fundraising event to raise money to support Dress for Success Indianapolis. Dress for Success Indianapolis provides professional attire and career development services to low income women living in Indianapolis and the surrounding counties who are referred to us by over 90 partnering agencies. In today’s economy, the women we serve face challenges that extend far beyond finding a job. Most have limited resources and face barriers which require long-term support, perseverance and essential career development tools to help them thrive in work and in life. Their mission is “To promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.”

The evening will begin with the Bedel Financial Consulting, Inc. cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner, fashion show and the Citizens Energy Group after party. During the cocktail reception, guests can purchase tickets for the Grand Prize Drawing, bid on fabulous items through the Mainstreet silent auction, and try their hand at the Diamond Dig, sponsored by Aronstam Fine Jewelers! Guests can then join us at the after party to visit with friends and meet our models, artist and sponsors for the evening.

MLJ WEB.jpgCARMEL, IN – April 22, 2014 – Founding Partner and Attorney Michele L. Jackson has been selected to receive the “Young Entrepreneur Award” from the Madame Walker Theatre Center at the 9th Annual Spirit Awards Gala.

“It truly is an honor to receive an award from an organization that celebrates the cultural heritage of diverse ethnicities and symbolizes the spirit of creativity and community pride in Indianapolis,” Jackson said. “It is especially humbling to be honored by an organization founded by such an amazing woman and entrepreneur.”

The Awards Gala will be held at Madame Walker Theatre on April 26, 2014. The evening opens with a cocktail reception and is followed by the awards ceremony where business and civic leaders will be recognized for their contributions to arts and culture.

Here are the photos from Indiana’s celebration of National Adoption Day. It was a day filled with education, personal stories and the celebration of children who have found their forever families.

This is an adoptive parent panel. They shared their personal stories and answered questions about their adoption journeys.

There were also adoptees sharing their stories.

Often times when our clients first come to our office seeking a divorce, they are armed with loads of questions surrounding the divorce process. Child support seems to be a topic in which there is a lot of misinformation out there and even more questions. Since 1989 Indiana courts have followed the Indiana Child Support Guidelines. The court uses a Child Support Worksheet to decide how much child support to order. The purpose of the Worksheet and Guidelines is to establish an appropriate child support amount based on the parent’s ability to pay and allow more efficiency in our courts. Typically, each parent completes a worksheet listing their income and other required information. Each worksheet must be signed by the parent. Income must be verified with documentation of past and current earning.

What factors go in to determining child support?

1. The weekly gross-income of both parents 2. Costs of childcare 3. Costs of healthcare 4. Number of nights the non-custodial parent spends with the child(ren)

The Family Act of 2011, S 965/HR 3522 (See the bill here) is a bill pending in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives that would create a modest tax credit for the out-of-pocket costs incurred for the medical treatment of infertility. The bill is designed to help thousands of couples nationwide bear the cost of medical treatment for infertility, specifically IVF. The financial burden of an infertility diagnosis is significant, and any means to help offset these costs is a positive development for women and men who face IVF treatment.

For many years, families have been created with the help of the Adoption Tax Credit, and we hope this new tax credit will achieve the same level

of success for those trying to cover the costs of medical treatments. The Family Act of 2011 has actually been modeled after the Adoption Tax

Michele Jackson, an attorney at Harden Jackson Law, is presenting a seminar on Adoption Law sponsored by the National Business Institute (“NBI”) on October 3rd, 2012.

Ms. Jackson is a founder of HARDEN JACKSON, LLC where she serves as Chair of the Adoption & Reproductive Law Practice Group and concentrates her law practice in adoption, surrogacy, and international family law. Her practice includes representation for expectant (birth) or adoptive parents, as well as step-parent and second parent adoptions. Additionally, Ms. Jackson represents intended parents or surrogates in gestational surrogacy arrangements and other Assisted Reproductive matters such as egg donor agreements. She is routinely sought for her knowledge and experience regarding issues in international adoptions and international family law and has extensive experience with children in the United States and orphans worldwide. Ms. Jackson has dedicated herself to the adoption of orphans worldwide, while assisting couples and individuals to realize their dreams of becoming parents. Her commitment includes traveling to countries to develop and maintain in-country contacts including agencies, attorneys and foreign authorities.

The seminar titled: Adoption Law: Start to Finish is designed for attorneys who want to learn more about adoption laws and proceedings. The program may also be of value to paralegals, adoption agency employees, social workers and counselors. A description of the seminar is provided below:

Attorney Lanae Harden offers information on what the courts in Indiana look for when determining child custody in a divorce.

The best interests of the child is the standard by which any order of child custody is determined. If the parties agree, the court will order joint custody. Even if only one parent wants joint custody, the court may award it if the court thinks it would be in the child’s best interests.

The court can consider many factors, including:

Technology’s rapid advancement of e-communication continues to improve the speed and variety of ways we can keep connected via telephone and the web. This technology has impacted family law as well, with many parents now utilizing cyber technology to stay more connected with their children, especially in situations where distance is a factor. More states and family courts now acknowledge “virtual visitation” as a means for parents to interact with their children through the use of technology. “Virtual visitation,” (also referred to as “e-visitation”) is the common term to reference various forms of internet technology such as video-enabled phone applications (i.e. Skype) as well as video phones, social media, email and text messaging.

The concepts of virtual visitation have appeared in several family law cases, dating back to 2001. However, Utah was the first state to adopt virtual visitation laws following a court order in a case where a divorced father of a then-four-year-old asked the judge to require his ex-wife to allow him to use Skype to maintain contact with his son.

The Utah legislation prompted a surge in requests for virtual visitation. Non-custodial parents relayed their own experiences that interactions with their children via phone were often limited and short. In contrast, reports have shown that video calls via the internet last as much as 3 times longer than telephone calls. This information has led to advocacy for legislation and permitting virtual visitation is becoming a growing trend. Since 2004, 6 more states have adopted legislation, and while none exists in Indiana, a pre-draft bill has been proposed and is awaiting legislative support.