Finding The Right Chicago Workers Comp Attorney

A Chicago workers comp attorney could assist you if you have been injured on duty. Chicago, the house of the Stanley Mug Champion Blackhawks, has nearly 8 thousand individuals in the metro location. In truth, Chicago is the third most populated city in the Usa. You could locate the best workers comp attorney amongst so several people, but you need the best suggestions.

Chicago workers comp attorney – what you have to understand

Employees are safeguarded by a series of laws that regulate what occurs if they are included in a work environment collision. They will get taken care of monetary awards if they are injured or turned off while doing their work; lawsuits is not required in these cases. Relative are typically covered by workers comp laws in instance an injury leaves the single employed household participant hurt. Fellow workers and companies are also safeguarded because several of these laws restrict the quantity of compensation a worker can obtain from companies, and they also restrict the liability of their fellow workers, in a lot of instances. Work laws establish this structure in state laws. Federal workers in the non-military field are shielded by the FECA (Federal Employment Compensation Act), and most of its guidelines are typical of the compensation laws of a lot of workers. Seamen get defense from the Jones Act (Merchant Marine Act).

Where to seek the best attorney

A workers comp attorney has to be spoken to if your insurance firm is refuting your case, or you are not obtaining the clinical therapy that you have to receive, or your licensed snacking physician has purchased surgery or examinations yet you are not getting them. You additionally need the help of a workers comp attorney if you could not work and your employer is not paying you. It is an excellent concept to contact a Chicago workers comp attorney promptly, despite exactly how well your company is snacking you.

There are a lot of issues that turn up when someone is injured on duty. It is a good idea to select an attorney that has a tested performance history of successfully getting compensation for various other damaged workers. Co-workers, family members and good friends will aid you get the best lawyers for these scenarios. They will tell you regarding the lawyers they enjoy with and considerably more. Effort unions will certainly make workers as well. A Chicago workers comp attorney will certainly supply you an initial appointment free. They will also take your instance in a “backup fee” basis, meanings that they will obtain their cash as a percentage of a winning case. Simply puts, they just earn if you do.

Workers compensation commission

You should submit a claim to the workers compensation commission of your state if your company does not want to sue to his/her insurance firm. You likewise should employ a Chicago workers comp attorney to deal with this challenging process. The workers compensation payment of your state has the power to award negotiations for these types of circumstances. You will certainly not need to shell out a great deal of money to your attorney due to the fact that state laws limit the quantity of cash they can ask for in these situations. Most of the times, lawyers rise to 33 % of an ultimate award as their fee in the United States, however this portion differs from area to area. State statutes are produced to manage exactly what an attorney might charge in these cases, yet government approval may be required too. In your scenario, a workers comp attorney will take into account aspects such as loss of wages, health care expenses, and others to obtain you the most cash for your case.

A Chicago workers comp attorney is essential, and you should know a bit concerning the policies in your state for these situations. The workers ‘compensation commission of your state is the most vital government workplace you should visit, and they award negotiations in these compensation situations.

Medicare and California Sales Tax An Analysis

Theres a rumor going around that a 3.8 percent sales tax will be applied to home sales in order to fund Medicare under the Affordable Care Act. Although that rumor is patently false, there has always been sales tax associated with certain Medicare-covered transactions.

Specifically, if your firm sells medical supplies and has been treating sales under Medicare Part B (Medicare B) as exempt from California sales tax, it is sitting on a fiscal time bomb. Since the program began, the California State Board of Equalization (Board) has been regularly assessing sales tax on Medicare B transactions in its audits.

Even businesses reporting correctly are generally confused about why sales under Medicare B are treated differently from sales under Part A. This article will discuss the different treatments and explain how sales tax applies to Medicare receipts in general.

Some sales under Medicare are always exempt, simply because the products involved fall under the general California exemption for prescription medicines. However, such transactions are outside the scope of this article, which solely addresses products ordinarily considered taxable when sold to patients. (Medical services are exempt from sales taxes in general, in California and nearly everywhere else.)

In order for an otherwise taxable product to be exempted from sales tax under Medicare, the product must be considered sold to the United States government rather than to the patient. Sales to the U.S. government are exempt from sales tax for Constitutional reasons. This exemption has been codified in California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 6381 and is further delineated by Sales and Use Tax Regulation 1614.

Whether a Medicare transaction is considered an exempt sale to the U.S. government or a taxable sale to an individual patient depends on whether the sale falls under Medicare Part A or Part B. All sales under Part A are regarded as exempt sales to the U.S. government. Sales under Part B are considered made directly to the patient, and they are taxable unless some other exemption applies (such as the exemption for sales for resale or sales in interstate commerce). Differences between Parts A and B that give rise to this distinction are discussed below.

Financing and Participation:

Medicare A is financed through payroll withholding and self-employment taxes. Participation is mandatory for anyone within the Social Security system. Most people who pay the taxes that fund Medicare A are under retirement age and not yet eligible for Medicare coverage.

Medicare B is financed partly through monthly premiums paid by those covered under the program. The rest of the financing comes from general funds of the federal government. Anyone covered by Part A is eligible for Part B, but participation in Part B is optional. Once participants enroll in the Medicare B program, they are required to pay the monthly premiums, generally through withholding from their Social Security checks.

Cost to Participants:

Medicare A is funded entirely through self-employment taxes and the Medicare percentage withheld from employee paychecks and matched by employers. There are no costs specific to participants.

Medicare B is charged directly to each participant, generally by a monthly deduction from the participants Social Security check. The monthly costs are considered medical insurance premiums and may be claimed as an itemized deduction on the participants income tax return.

Payment of Claims:

Medicare A payments are made directly to providers of medical products or services under a procedure mandated by federal law. Since the law requires direct payment by the U.S. government to providers, medical supplies sold by providers under Medicare A are considered sold to the U.S. Government.

Medicare B payments may be made either to providers or patients. If a provider has agreed to accept assignment of Medicare benefits (which essentially constitutes agreement to accept Medicares version of “reasonable charges”), the provider prepares and submits a claim form and is reimbursed directly by the insurer acting on behalf of the U.S. government. The patient pays only the deductible, co-insurance or non-allowable costs.

If the patient uses a provider who has not agreed to accept assignment of benefits, the patient pays the entire charge and then files a claim for reimbursement. Any such reimbursement goes directly to the patient. Under Medicare B, payments are considered reimbursements of charges to the patient, whether the payments go directly to the patient or to the provider on the patients behalf.

The U.S. Governments Position:

Medicare A does not allow reimbursement for sales taxes charged on medical supplies, based on the theory that providers are selling to the U.S. government and the sales are therefore exempt.

Medicare B has built sales taxes into its calculations of “reasonable charges,” as stated inMedicare Carriers Manualsection 5213. In accepting sales taxes as allowable charges under Medicare B, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has taken the position that sales under the program are not sales to the U.S. government.

Sales Tax Effect:

Medicare A payments are made directly by the U.S. government to providers under federal law, which theoretically results in sales to the United States as discussed above.

Medicare B payments may be made either directly to patients or to providers for the benefit of patients, depending on each patients choice of provider. The patients ability to make this choice has been interpreted to mean that payments under Medicare B are simply reimbursements to patients. Under this “patient reimbursement” theory, any sale by the provider under Medicare B is made to the patient rather than the United States, regardless of which party prepares the claim form or receives the reimbursement check.

Both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the State Board of Equalization have accepted these legal interpretations, and it appears unlikely that an effort to re-characterize sales under Medicare B as sales to the U.S. government would prevail. If the law is ever changed to make direct payments to providers mandatory under Part B, the application of sales tax could well change with it.

Although subject to tax, amounts claimed for 80 percent reimbursement under Medicare B are considered to include applicable sales taxes, because the Medicare Carriers Manual defines “reasonable charges” as including such taxes. Accordingly, when providers report their taxable sales to the Board, they are entitled to claim a deduction for sales taxes included in Medicare B reimbursements.

Conclusion:

The theoretical justification for distinguishing sales under Medicare A from sales under Medicare B may not be entirely logical, but compliance with the Board of Equalizations interpretation is the only prudent approach. If you have been treating all sales under Medicare B as exempt, you should now begin reporting those sales as you would report sales to any private party.

But what about earlier periods? If your firm is selected for a Board audit, you undoubtedly will be billed for additional taxes for those periods. However, the amount of additional taxes may be subject to adjustment. This is true not only for Medicare sales but for any area where tax changes are recommended by Board auditors. Audits incorporate assumptions and tests that often can be modified and occasionally can be overcome.

Always remember that you have the right to review any tax auditors working papers or have a sales tax expert review the audit on your behalf. Exercising that right will at least bring you peace of mind. It might also result in significant tax savings.

Investing In China Proposed Labor Contract Law

If you are considering setting up a company in the People’s Republic of China (the PRC) you should be aware that Chinese law is more protective of employees than the laws of many western nations, particularly the United States. The current PRC Labor Law was enacted in 1994; however, a new PRC Labor Contract Law, intended to supplement the Labor Law, is expected to come into force at the end of 2006. This new law contains both bad news and good news from the point of view of the foreign investor; however, in general it further strengthens the protection of employees.

The Bad News:

Severance Pay

Because it is difficult under the PRC Labor Law to terminate open-term labor contracts, employers usually prefer fixed terms. The Labor Contract Law will address this issue by requiring employers to pay severance compensation to employees on fixed term labor contracts if these contracts are not renewed at the end of the contract term. The proposed compensation is at least one month’s salary for each year of service.

Company Rules/Employee Handbooks

No provision in the employee handbook or other rules affecting the employee’s “personal interest” may be put into force absent consultation with the labor union or other employee representative body (under Chinese law, virtually all employees are required to be unionized).

A Shorter Probationary Period

Currently, the probationary period may be agreed between the employer and employee in the labor contract, but the maximum probation may not exceed 6 months. The Labor Contract Law shortens this period to one month for non-technical work and two months for most technical work (the six-month maximum is still retained for senior technical work, probably because these highly skilled employees are seen as less vulnerable in the employment market. This is significant because it easier to fire an employee during the probationary period than afterwards.

Non-Competition Clauses

Foreign invested companies in particular have tended to insert post-employment non-competition clauses into labor contracts in order to protect their intellectual property rights in China’s wild west business atmosphere. Although the Labor Contract Law allows post-employment non-competition restrictions, it will limit their enforceability to two years and restrict the geographical area of applicability to areas where actual competition is likely to occur. In this respect the reform will render Chinese law more similar to US law, since the current Labor Law does not impose any geographic restrictions at all (but does permits a maximum duration of up to three years). The Labor Contract Law goes even further, however, by requiring the employer buy a non-competition clause by paying a minimum compensation equal to the employee’s annual salary upon termination of the labor contract. It is still unclear what, if any compensation will be due the employee if the period of restriction is less than a year.

Contract Interpretation

Any ambiguous term in a labor contract will be construed in favor of the employee. This rule does little more that codify what has long been the prevailing practice in PRC courts.

Representative Offices

The current Labor Law requires Representative Offices to go through designated agencies such as FESCO (similar to Manpower in the United States) in order to hire employees. The new Labor Contract Law offers Representative Offices greater flexibility by allowing them to directly contract with employees for their first year of employment.

In summary, the new Labor Law will restrict foreign investor’s flexibility and make it more expensive for them to operate. The only good news is that Representative Offices will find it somewhat easier to operate. Typically, the new Labor Contract Law does not bother to define terms like technical, senior technical; and personal interest However, foreign investors have long been used to waiting months and even years for ambiguous terms in Chinese law to be defined through the further issuance of implementing regulations to supplement the main law; meanwhile the government’s actual implementation of the law in particular cases will be closely watched.

Kratom Basics

Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a tropical tree native to the jungles of Southeast Asia. It has been used by people in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia for centuries mostly to increase endurance for manual labor. Unlike many herbal remedies, the active constituents of Kratom, mitragynine and 7-OH-mitragynine have been identified and characterized. Both compounds are chemically related to yohimbine, but bind to mu, delta and kappa opiate receptors in the body and brain (mu opiate receptors underlie the pleasant and addictive effects of opiates like morphine and heroin).

Previously unknown in the west, it is becoming increasingly popular due to the activities of internet retailers, many of whom advertise it as a “legal high”. While this is true, Kratom has many legitimate uses aside from intoxication and has enormous potential as an alternative medicine for treating some very difficult to manage conditions.

Effects: In low doses, Kratom appears to be stimulant-like, providing extra energy and endurance. It is in higher doses that Kratom’s opiate-like effects become clear and users experience sedation, nausea and euphoria. Due to binding affinities for opiate receptors throughout the body, including the brain, Kratom’s effects are similar to many opiate analgesics including codeine and morphine. It produces states of intoxication that are similar to Opium and can be habit forming, albeit in a less intense way. Side effects of opiates can also be also present including itchiness and constipation.

Doses: The strength of Kratom is highly variable depending on the strain, supplier and time of year. A low dose varies from 2-4 grams and a high dose ranges from 5-10 grams. Doses higher than 10 grams, especially of high grade Kratom invariably cause unpleasant side effects including nausea, vomiting and motor agitation. Overdose and death has not been recorded with Kratom alone though it was detected in the blood of at least at least one polydrug death in Asia involving a whole cocktail of more harmful substances.

Method of consumption: There are various methods of consuming or extracting Kratom which can be acquired in various forms including whole leaf, crushed leaf and as a powder. The powdered form is easiest to deal with and will produce the greatest effect for the least amount of effort.

The simplest method of consuming kratom is to simply swallow the dry powder. This can be done relatively painlessly by pouring a little bit of water in the mouth, tilting one’s head back so that the water covers the throat, dumping in a pre-measured amount of Kratom from a piece of paper folded in half and swallowing. If done right the Kratom eater may not even taste the Kratom.
Eating Kratom dry delays the onset of effects and prolongs their duration. For a more rapid onset, Kratom can be simmered briefly in boiling water and then consumed as a tea. Due to the low solubility of active alkaloids in water, it is recommended that the plant material be consumed with the tea rather than filtered out.

Extracts: Alkaloids in Kratom, including mitragynine and 7-OH-mitragynine cannot readily be dissolved in water but can be extracted with other solvents. However, the effects of Kratom appear to be mediated by a wide range of different alkaloids and it is for this reason that extracts, sometimes labelled 10x, 30X or even 100X are often less potent than unaltered 1X plain leaf although one reported case of a a deadly overdose in Thailand involved Kratom extract in combination with other very strong drugs.
Medicinal Benefits and Heath Effects: Kratom has been used in Thailand traditionally to treat diarrhea and studies in rats have shown it to be as effective as Loperimide (Immodium AD) especially for the treatment of severe diarrhea (Chittrakarn, 2007).

Recently, chronic opiate users have begun to use Kratom for the treatment of opiate withdrawal (Vicknasingam, 2010). In most cases, Kratom can completely replace the opiate of abuse and relieves withdrawal symptoms even in very severe opiate users such as IV heroin addicts. Kratom itself can cause a physical dependance but its withdrawal symptoms are no where near as severe as that of illegal or prescription opiates and many addicts have found it useful to convert their addiction to Kratom first before quitting completely.

Because of its biological similarity to opiate analgesics, Kratom can successfully be used as an alternative for moderate to severe pain. It is less habit-forming than drugs such as oxycodone, morphine or hydrocodone that are traditionally used to treat conditions such as chronic back pain and may be just as effective.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that Kratom may be useful in alleviating symptoms of restles leg syndrome (RLS) although once habituated, withdrawal symptoms may make the condition temporarily worse.
Some of the compounds found in Kratom have been shown to have antioxidant properties and therefore are considered to be of significant health benefit. Additionally, consumption of Kratom can help add fiber to the digestive tract.

Legality: Kratom is completely legal in much of the west, including the United States and Canada. It is illegal to possess or sell in Thailand, Malaysia or Australia but is legal in Indonesia where much of the Kratom in western markets originate. It is not approved for human consumption by the FDA in the U.S. or relevant agencies in Canada and for this reason is not widely marketed at a large scale.

Sources: Kratom can be purchased in large quantities directly from growers but most customers in the United States and Canada prefer to order personal use quantities from reputable Kratom vendors in their own countries. Discretion is advisable when purchasing Kratom due to the large number of unscrupulous online retailers selling sub-par or even fake Kratom that is dangerous to consume.

Most Canadian customers buy from American sites but more Kratom stores from Canada, such as madamkratom.ca, have been appearing and offer lower shipping costs, faster delivery, and competitive prices. Nonetheless, many customers continue to order from American sources due to a lack of information or a perceived better value from U.S. sites.

Conclusion: Far from being just a “legal high” like Salvia, Kratom offers many health benefits for those interested in alternative medicines and may be a major godsend for those battling opiate addiction. While it is still largely unknown in the west, it is slowly becoming more popular and is readily acquired online.

References: Chittrakarn S, Sawangjaroen K, Prasettho S, Janchawee B, Keawpradub N. Inhibitory effects of kratom leaf extract (Mitragyna speciosa Korth.) on the rat gastrointestinal tract. J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Feb 28;116(1):173-8. Epub 2007 Nov 28.

Balasingam Vicknasingama,, Suresh Narayananb, Goh Teik Benga, Sharif Mahsufi Mansora The informal use of ketum (Mitragyna speciosa) for opioid withdrawal in the northern states of peninsular Malaysia and implications for drug substitution therapy. International Journal of Drug Policy 21 (2010) 283288

Wichian Tungtananuwat and Somsong Lawanprasert. Fatal 4×100; Home-made Kratom Juice Cocktail. J Health Res 2010, 24(1): 43-47

Family Lawyer in Houston

In this economy, we find ourselves immersed in a world of issues both professional and personal. It seems that with larger cities, the problems can be larger as well. Houston is the fourth largest city in United States, with a population of about 2.2 million. Couples are getting divorced here every day for a wide range of reasons. To resolve your family related disputes, there are many Law firms available in the greater Houston area. Divorce is a common issue in Houston and across the US. The Houston government has passed laws regarding child custody. Child Custody Lawyers in Houston are used to fighting child custody cases for their clients. Divorce is the final and legal termination of the marriage. The Divorce Lawyers in Houston and the Divorce Attorneys in Houston are able to fight all kinds of divorce cases like flat divorces, collaboration divorce, non-settlement divorces etc. The other major family related problems are composed of the marriage, adoption, death, child custody and estate planning. These problems can be quite complex. Family law firms in Houston are capable of providing justice to their clients. Family lawyers in Houston generally help their clients in understanding their rights and help to solve the case of child custody, child support, adoption, divorce estate matters and marriage of the same sex etc. If two parties are involved in an agreement and get into any dispute then they might need a mediator to resolve their dispute. Generally these disputes can be legally resolved by the Mediation attorneys in Houston or the Mediation lawyers. The Mediation lawyers in Houston are capable of handling settlements and satisfying both the parties involved in the dispute. There are many lawyers in the Houston area who have their own firms and handle all kinds of cases on an individual basis. The firm that you choose to work with should be comprised of the best family lawyers and divorce attorneys in the Houston. Most of the Houston baes Lawyers are reputable. Some of the Divorce lawyers in Houston are also Mediation lawyers in Houston. They can resolve the cases where the parties are not interested in fighting. Child custody cases are the strong point for the Child custody lawyers in Houston as they only focus on same type of cases. And they also explain what will happen to child after the separation of the parents. The Family lawyers in Houston or the Family law firms in Houston describe all the rights and procedures to their clients in a very friendly way. The Mediation attorneys in Houston use to meet some cases in which strong legal approach is required, at such point of time they utilize the mediation methodology. Many of the attorneys in the Houston area give experienced and up to date advice regarding family law in a free initial consultation. For more information about the procedures of filing for divorce and / or child custody, contact the legal professionals at The Collings Law Firm, PLLC. They have proven success over many years in handling complex family law cases including divorce, child custody, child support, and more.

Legal Copyright Eligibility For Copyright Protection

There are many laws that protect people in the world. Some of these laws are meant to protect rights covered under the Bill of Rights, and other rights are meant to protect the things we create. The eligibility for copyright protection is extended to anyone who is able to create something that is tangible.

There are international laws that provide copyright protection, and the laws for people living in the United States are covered under the doctrine of 17 USCA Section 102(a). The eligibility for copyright protection is clearly outlined in this document and business owners would fare well to spend a little bit of time reading through this doctrine because it may keep someone else from stealing the royalties of your work.

The eligibility for copyright protection extends to any tangible thought that is applied to paper. If it is still in your mind or in the development process where the idea has not been put down on paper or some other solid form, then the eligibility for copyright protection will not apply to it. Some people expect this to apply and are sorely disappointed when they are turned down at the copyright registration office.

If you want to create a novel or other literary work, then it would qualify for eligibility for copyright protection. Perhaps you are a photographer or a tourist who captured an exquisite photo of an event that is a once-in-a-life time experience. Since you placed yourself at great risk taking the photograph, you want to register the photo and copyright it so that other people can not make money from it without your approval. That photograph falls under the eligibility for copyright protection.

If you wanted to create a description of the photograph, then that description would qualify for eligibility for copyright protection as long as it is written down. The information can be stored on any means that you like such as compact disk, a computer or included as a caption underneath the picture and framed. All methods used to create the description fall under the eligibility for copyright protection.

Although a sculpture would not be considered a written work, it is still a method of expression that has a solid and tangible form to it. The sculpture falls under the auspices of eligibility for copyright protection. No further documentation is really necessary. It is real and can be held. Therefore, it is protected by copyright from the second it is created. That fact should spur the creative juices in many people who were unaware of what is covered under copyright protection.

If you have only an idea to reflect on, then that idea does not fall under the auspices of eligibility for copyright protection. The idea might be covered under a confidentiality agreement if you hire someone to take your idea and develop a product description from it, or content for your business website. When the idea becomes a mode for expression, then it maintains eligibility for copyright protection.

Potential Immigration Problems after Japan Tsunami Tragedy

As we all are well known about this thing that at that time Japan has suffered with terrible tragedy. It has profoundly affected all of us and made us reflect on the truly important things in life. While dwarfed by other problems that some people may have difficulties in immigration if they does not pay attention.

People those came into U. S. by using the VWP (Visa Waiver Program) are the most vulnerable, because if 90 days of those people are expires while they are in the U.S., they have violated their immigration status, and just because of this they can face problems in the future. If appropriate measures are taken then they may avoid this problem.

The simplest way, in terms of immigration, is to leave the U.S. before the expiry of 90 days, even if they go elsewhere than Japan.

If this is impossible, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that the Japanese tourists and other foreigners to stay in the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the United States, may be allowed up to an additional 30 days to go . Travelers are currently in the United States under the VWP (Visa Waiver Program), or the possession of a nonimmigrant visa may apply for benefits through the local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office. Persons with a nonimmigrant visa which did not use the VWP may also file an extension by mail by sending the Form I-539 and other documents including an application fee of $ 290. People on the VWP cannot make an extension of the mission and must go to the local immigration office for additional 30 days.

You can request an extension of 30 days of the local immigration is a book much better than going to the office. Making a nomination is a very simple process.

Click on top left of English (unless you prefer one of the other languages there) Click on “Create an info pass appointment Enter your zip code and click “Continue” If you applied for more than one role then please select the most appropriate Select “You need the information services or other” Click to continue File and get your appointment day

Go to the interview, Service Request ID questions relating to the appointment, which you received when you made the appointment online, and stamp your passport and ask you to extend the legal status. For further knowledge on this topic please visit on Global Visas Fraud Department .

Nitin Sharma works as Online Marketer at a British Company. He loves to write articles about Global Visas Fraud and in this way he has submitted many articles over internet. He aware people about the increased fraud cases now days.

What Is The Role Of The Federal Government In Criminal Law

Criminal law is an area of law that is normally reserved to the states. The federal government pursues its own investigations in cases that are primarily interstate criminal operations and often work with the specific states in large investigations, but the federal government prosecution always reigns supreme in any criminal charge. If the federal government deems that a legal issue is solely a jurisdictional responsibility for the state, then the state case normally is allowed to proceed.

If an investigation is extensive across a significant number of state boundaries the charges are then filed in federal district court in the federal judicial offices nearest to the illegal activity. Federal charges are adjudicated by different sentencing and conviction guidelines and the dispensation of punishment is different in terms of probation and parole. Federal sentencing guidelines normally require at least some level of incarcerated punishment, but this is not always the case. In the event that the defendant has had convictions in the past, the eligibility for probation is significantly compromised. There are situations where judges can exercise judicial latitude when the threat to public safety is low. Rarely are cases totally dismissed.

The majority of all criminal convictions are delivered in state courts, primarily because no one lives “federally.” Though the perpetrators are in the United States, everyone has a local state residence also and the prosecuting police agency determines the court of jurisdiction by location of the criminal incident. There are some situations where actions in a state are deemed legal by state statute, but unlawful by federal law. The most common example of this occurrence is the medical marijuana movement across the nation. The Department of Justice is currently initiating a program of prosecuting medical marijuana dispensaries in states that have decriminalized marijuana possession based on medical need, claiming sovereignty over state statute by virtue of the federal contraband status of marijuana possession and sale.

Additionally, prosecution conflicts can occur when federal authorities enter into plea agreements with defendants that preclude any state prosecutions at the lower court level. This can be highly problematic for state judicial systems because these cases often include white-collar corporate crimes where the states would also have the standing to sue the defendant in civil court on behalf of victims in their states who were involved, often unbeknownst to the victim until it is too late.

A primary example of this situation is the current plea arrangement being sought in federal court by a number of banks under prosecution by the Securities Exchange Commission. The agreement being sought by the defendants and the SEC would suppress any consequent inferior state prosecutions and eliminate the civil tort standing of the actual victims of the crime. Federal law is sovereign to state law because of state incorporation to the non-governmental guarantees provided in the U. S. Constitution.

Islamic Divorce in New York State

Muslims residing in the State of New York are in a dual situation when it comes to the implementation of family law. On one hand, they are governed by the religious law of Islam, known as Islamic sharia, and on the other hand, the secular family law of the state of New York. To Muslims, the family law of Islam mandates that marriage and divorce among Muslims should be done in accordance with the Islamic sharia, regardless of whether they live in an Islamic or secular country. Civil divorce decrees obtained by secular courts are not recognized by Islamic sharia.

Under Islamic law, a Muslim man may marry a non-Muslim woman, whereas a Muslim woman is prohibited from marrying non-Muslim man. Under these rules, a non-Muslim woman marrying a Muslim man in compliance with Islamic sharia is subject to the rules of Islam in the areas of divorce, child custody and inheritance. In other words, a non-Muslim woman who gets married to a Muslim man in accordance with Islamic sharia, loses custody of her children in case of divorce, or in case the husband dies. Consequently, a non-Muslim woman marrying to a Muslim man is forced, under the rules of Islamic sharia, to surrender custody of her son when he reaches the age of seven, and her daughter at the age of nine. She also prohibited from inheritance. These rules are applied throughout Muslim countries with a system of sharia-based family law in place.

Marriage Contracts in Islamic Sharia
Under the rules of Islamic sharia, the marriage contract should include: (1) names and addresses of the couple; (2) name of the guardian of the bride; (3) names and addresses of two male witnesses; and (4) the amount of mahr, or a promise of money or its equivalent to be given by the husband to the bride. Like any other civil contracts, Islamic marriage contract should be in the form of offer and acceptance by the parties.

Contrary to the popular notion that mahr is dowry; it is not. A dowry is what the wife contributes to her marriage while mahr is an obligation on the husband to pay his future bride. Others call it a gift; it is not a gift either, because mahr is an obligation on the husband and is mandated by the Quran. The Quran calls it sadaq (Quran 4:4). If no stipulation of mahr is provided in the marriage contract, the marriage remains legal and in effect; in such a situation, the “qadi” (judge) will determine the amount of mahr, which remains a property of the wife alone. The amount of mahr can be paid partially: up-front (Arabic, muqaddam), and deferred until divorce or death of the husband (Arabic, muakhar), or it may be prepaid in full before the consummation of the marriage.

Legal Status of the Mahr Provision in Islamic Law
The most important feature of the mahr provision is that one party makes an offer and the other can accept or refuse to accept. It is a financial settlement between the couple in case a divorce occurs or the husband dies. Although, Muslim women do not personally bargain for the mahr agreements, and, in almost all of the divorce cases that I have seen so far, in the Middle East, Europe and the United States, Islamic marriage agreements involving mahr are negotiated by the representative (Arabic Wali) of the bride.

In the State of New York, an Islamic marriage contract involving mahr may be considered premarital agreement for a divorce settlement. In legal terms, this is called a concurrence of wills or meeting of the minds of the future husband and his future wife. This also means that each party from an objective perspective engaged in conduct manifesting their acceptance, and a contract was formed when both parties met such a requirement.

The basic rule is that a premarital contract will be interpreted and enforced in accordance with the law of the state in which it was entered into. Thus an Islamic marriage contract signed in Egypt according to the Egyptian law for example, must be interpreted according to the law of Egypt. The Restatement of the Law Second Conflict of Laws 3d, Chapter 8, Contracts, is clear about the law for the state chosen by the parties to a contract. The text of the Restatement reads: “(1) The law of the state chosen by the parties to govern their contractual rights and duties will be applied if the particular issues is one which the parties could have resolved by an explicit provision in their agreement directed to that issue.”

Looking at both academic and case studies in this area of law, this article points the reader in the direction of the current trends in the treatment of mahr in New York State and to address Islamic family law issues relevant to New York State law and the working of its legal system. The mahr provision in an Islamic marriage contract has been interpreted differently in other states. For more information on treatment of mahr in other states, the individual should seek legal advice.

Interpretation of the Mahr in New York State
Muslim men and women assert their Islamic legal rights in American family courts; as a result, Islamic sharia governing their marriages and divorces becomes an important and complicated part of the American legal landscape. This leads to a discussion of court cases involving Muslim marriage and divorce litigations in the State of New York, as well as whether New York courts will enforce the terms of Muslim marriage contracts, mainly the mahr provision.

New York courts have jurisdiction over divorce cases within its territory, with specific focus on premarital contract structured in accordance with foreign laws. And, various state courts have found no public policy prohibition in enforcing such agreements. In New York, a mahr agreement may be interpreted within the context of a contractual obligation.

In Aziz v. Aziz, the couple entered into a mahr agreement which required the payment of $5,032, with $32 advanced and $5,000 deferred until divorce. The New York court ruled that the contract conformed to New Yorks contract requirements, and that “its secular terms are enforceable as a contractual obligation, notwithstanding that it was entered into as part of a religious ceremony.” (See Aziz v. Aziz, N.Y.S.2d at 124).

In this case, the husband argued that the mahr agreement provided in the Islamic marriage contract could not be enforced because it was a religious document and was not enforceable as a contract. The wife responded by stating that although the mahr is a religious stipulation; its secular terms can be properly enforced by the court. The court agreed with the wife and ordered the husband to pay the deferred mahr. The court found that the mahr agreement complied with the necessary statutory requirements to be recognized and enforceable as a premarital agreement and held that the secular terms of the mahr agreement were “enforceable as a contractual obligation, notwithstanding that it was entered into as part of a religious ceremony.” The court stated that the mahr agreed to by the couple constituted a secular debt of $5,000 and ordered the husband to fulfill the terms of the agreement.

The case was based entirely on another New York of Appeals case of Avitzur v. Avitzur involving a Jewish Ketubah in which a Jewish woman sued for specific performance to force her ex-husband to appear before a Beth Din (Jewish Court). Under Jewish Law, only a man can grant a divorce, or “Get”. Until he does, the woman cannot remarry within the Jewish faith to anybody. Her children will then be considered illegitimate. In order that a “Get” may be obtained, both husband and wife have to appear before the Beth Din. The husband refused to appear, leaving the woman in a state of marital limbo, making her an “agunah.” The New York Court of Appeals found that the Jewish ketubah constituted a valid premarital agreement that could be enforced despite the religious underpinnings of the agreement.

Conclusion
As the second largest religion, and with the number of Muslims immigrating to the United State on the rise, American courts are more frequently looking into Islamic divorce litigations between Muslim couples. Out of respect to Islamic law and culture, American courts attempt to apply certain provisions from Islamic sharia, such as the mahr contract in divorce cases involving Muslim couples. By doing so, American courts risk involving their arguments with gender and economic inequalities between Muslim men and women, leaving Muslim women destitute. The application of mahr agreements in Islamic divorce in the United States prevents women from exercising their rights to equitable distribution of marital assets upon divorce. If the courts need to extend their respect to Islamic law in divorce situations, they should look into whether the wife had a choice in signing the mahr agreement. Muslim women do not personally bargain for the mahr agreements, and, in almost all of the divorce cases that I have seen so far, in the Middle East, Europe and the United States, the Islamic marriage agreements involving mahr are negotiated by the representative (Arabic Wali) of the bride. Other states do not regard the mahr to be a premarital contract. Individuals seeking information on the treatment of mahr by other states should seek legal advice from a competent attorney.

DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

Republishing of this article is hereby granted by the author.

Citizenship and Immigration

For many Americans, their U.S. citizenship issued at birth is something they dont think twice about. But for applying immigrants, citizenship is a serious goal.

Hopefully most American natural born citizens understand that citizenship is one of the most greatly desired gifts this countrys government can bestow on its citizens. For those of us who have not had to go through the process of becoming a U.S Citizen apart from being naturally born here, there is only one other way to become U.S. citizens and that is by the often times-lengthy process of what is known as “naturalization”.

Naturalization can often times be a complicated process so you should consult with an immigration lawyer rather than attempting this yourself. Even something as simple as travel within the country or state is something that a person needs to know the rules about and this is where an Immigration lawyer is needed so that you have someone to ask questions such as “How long does it take for USCIS to issue work permission and travel permission?” or “When should I renew my work and travel permission?”

Learning about your new country and its rights and the responsibilities that accompany citizenship is an important part of being a good citizen and at the USCIS and the Office of Citizenship they have developed a great amount of resources and a variety of educational materials that allow immigrants to learn more about U.S. history and government as they prepare for the naturalization test.

A final thought on the naturalization process; in addition to finding good counsel and being represented by an immigration lawyer, there are general requirements that the USCIS will look for by those who look to make our great country their home, to name just a few: good moral character, a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government, and favorable disposition toward the United States.