Gabriela reminded me of a good friend who was tough as nails when she needed to be.
Gabriela is a very kind and compassionate person. I met her when I was scared and fragile; she helped me become less fragile and afraid. She’s a very competent and professional lawyer and I’m grateful to have had her for my lawyer.
Thank you for the superb service that you provided in regards to my case. I was extremely pleased with the detail and attention your office provided, and the cases final result. The way your office explained the process and procedures of the case, and the path in which it would be taking and ensuring I understood gave me a great piece of mind. I can't thank you enough!
I absolutely LOVE Gabriela and her team! They've done such an awesome job on my case and have always been there when I needed them. It has been a true blessing to have Gabriela as my attorney!
Gabriela was my divorce attorney. She ensured I understood all aspects of my divorce and child support as each step proceeded. Gabriela was very compassionate during one of the most difficult times of my life. She encouraged and supported me to push harder for what I deserved. She always returns my phone calls and/or emails promptly. I would recommend Gabriela to anyone who is needing an attorney.
You have been so kind and empathetic and professional. Words cannot express my gratitude.
Family Law Cases
Case Summary #1: Separate Maintenance, subsequent divorce, one minor child, 16-year marriage.
Issues: Custody and safe residency for parties’ minor child during deployment of career officer; continuation of medical care and counseling for substance-abusing spouse; financial issues.
Client’s goals: As a career officer, client had an impending deployment to a combat zone. Unfortunately, personal issues in the household created challenges. Our client filed a Petition for Legal Separation and wanted to attempt to stabilize spouse’s substance abuse so that the parties’ minor child could have a safe home during deployment. Create a safety net for their minor daughter in case that spouse was not successful in her goals.
Court’s orders: Court issued a Decree of separate maintenance, which incorporated a lengthy settlement agreement between the parties. The agreement provided for continued medical care for the non-military spouse, an elaborate counseling requirement for both non-military spouse and daughter, and a “safety net” for the daughter during our client’s absence, financial support for the non-military spouse and daughter, and stated conditions upon which the decree of separate maintenance could be converted to a Decree of Divorce.
Subsequent Court’s Orders: The minor daughter’s safety was ensured during the deployment. The non-military spouse’s substance abuse and absence of successful completion of treatment triggered a conversion from separate maintenance to a Decree of Divorce upon terms earlier agreed to between the parties. Our client was satisfied with the results in the case.
Case Summary #2: Divorce, no children, 15-year marriage.
Issues: Division of our client's military retirement (we represented the Petitioner), request of significant maintenance and division of assets by Respondent.
Client's goals: We filed a Petition for Divorce citing incompatibility and failure to perform a material marital duty due to dissipation of marital assets by Respondent. Our client objected to the Respondent's requests, which included an award of maintenance of $33,000 over a period of five (5) years, 50% of our client's military retirement, attorney's fees and an equitable division of assets.
Court's orders: After a long trial, the Court rejected the Respondent's request for maintenance, ordered the Respondent to pay her own debts and pay $750.00 in attorney's fees to our client. The Court awarded Respondent a smaller portion of our client's military retirement based on the dissipation of marital assets that we proved.
Case Summary #3: Divorce, no children, 20-year marriage.
Issues: Division of our client's military retirement (we represented the Petitioner), division of real and personal property, request by the Respondent (non-military spouse) for maintenance. Parties had ceased living together 4 years prior but had remained married to ensure that non-military spouse would be eligible for continuing lifetime coverage by medical insurance (Tricare.) At the time that the parties had separated, Respondent had orally agreed that if the parties remained married until such time as Respondent would be eligible for lifetime health insurance and would not pursue maintenance (Respondent did not require maintenance as the Respondent’s had consistently earned more than the military spouse.)
Client's goals: We filed a Petition for Divorce citing incompatibility, believing the Respondent was still willing to enter into an uncontested divorce on the basis of the parties’ prior oral agreement, which the military member had honored. Respondent did not honor the parties’ prior oral agreement and sought attorney’s fees and maintenance in addition to the division of military retirement and continued medical coverage. Petitioner was in agreement to equitably dividing the military retirement, allowing Respondent to keep all non-military retirement accounts (which were solely in the Respondent’s name) and designating the marital home to the Respondent. Respondent was unwilling to settle and sought a trial at which all issues were contested.
Court's orders: After a long trial, the Court rejected the Respondent's request for maintenance, ordered the Respondent to pay own debts and attorney's fees. The Court divided all other real and personal property as Petitioner had requested and even awarded Petitioner a percentage of Respondent’s retirement accounts.
Case Summary #4: Petition to Terminate Guardianship
Issues: Our client, a single mother who had agreed to a guardianship for her three-year-old child was requesting to terminate the guardianship. Despite having a guardianship, she had continued to serve as the minor child’s primary caretaker (she lived with the guardian.) Mother was ready to move her life forward but wanted to continue to serve as her child’s caretaker and de facto guardian. The guardian, a paternal relative of the minor child, kicked the mother out of the home and was refusing her right to see the minor child.
Client's goals: Terminate guardianship and regain custody of her minor child. Opposing party argued that guardianship could not terminate until the guardian decided to terminate it or the child no longer needed a guardian (age 18.)
Court's orders: After a long trial, the Court found in favor of mother affirming our position that a parent’s right to have custody of their minor child is protected by the U.S. constitution and that absent a finding terminating the mother’s parental rights, her desire to terminate the guardianship superseded the guardian’s rights.
Case Summary #5: Divorce, minor child, 33-year marriage
Issues: Division of military retirement, division of marital property and debts, providing adequate support & safety for minor child and wasting of marital assets.
Client's goals: After an attempted suicide by our client’s troubled veteran/spouse, our client’s goals were to respond to the veteran’s Petition for Divorce and obtain orders which insured the safety of the minor child and provided for their temporary support that would ensure that our client and the minor child could continue to reside in the marital home.
Court's orders: After an exhaustive trial, the Court found that the veteran had wasted marital assets and issued orders granting our client child support, spousal support, and an adequate division of assets in such a manner that the veteran would still be eligible and protected with VA disability and social security disability. After an extensive custody evaluation by a clinical psychologist, the Court fashioned a parenting plan that allowed the continued involvement of the minor child with the veteran yet ensured the child’s safety.
Immigration Law Cases
Case Summary #6: Family-based adjustment of status (green card) with open deportation case
Issues: Our client entered the U.S. without inspection. His wife, a U.S. citizen and active-duty servicemember (Army), wanted to petition for him. However, our client had an open removal (deportation) case due to an incident of driving without a license (no other criminal history.)
Client's goals: Request closure of deportation case, apply for lawful permanent residence and remain in the U.S. throughout the process.
Final Resolution: We filed a motion and successfully obtained the administrative closure of the deportation case. Next, we requested Parole in Place for our client on the basis of his wife's military career. Once Parole in Place was approved, we applied for our client's lawful permanent residence. Our client received a green card without conditions due to the parties’ marriage being longer than two years.
Case Summary #7: Self-petitioned green card through VAWA.
Issues: Our client entered the U.S. without inspection because her US citizen husband did not want to petition for her to obtain lawful permanent residence. He had always refused to assist her with the process due to concerns that she would divorce him or become “Americanized.”
Client's goals: After years of physical, mental, emotional and sexual abuse, our client decided to divorce her U.S. citizen spouse. She had two children from the marriage and was ready to get out from the shadows of undocumented status.
Final resolution: We assisted our client with the divorce and assisted her with a self-petition pursuant to VAWA. We secured a green card for our client and her oldest son.
Case Summary #8: Fiancé Visa and Adjustment of Status
Issues: Our clients, a same-gender couple, wanted to obtain a fiancé visa for the intending immigrant so that they could marry in the U.S. We prepared our request for the Fiancé visa citing the Court's decision in U.S. v. Windsor.
Clients' goals: To obtain legal entry into the U.S. for his intending immigrant fiancé so that the marriage could occur in the U.S. and to pursue adjustment of status after the marriage was completed.
Final resolution: Fiancé visa was granted to the intending immigrant. Within 90 days of entering the U.S., the parties married in Oklahoma (Kansas was still refusing marriage licenses to same-gender couples) and we applied for a conditional green card. Our clients were advised that their case did not require a marriage interview and the intending immigrant's green card was approved.
Case Summary #9: Appeal to Notice of Intent to Deny Adjustment of Status
Issues: Our clients, a couple who had self-petitioned for the intending immigrant spouse’s lawful permanent residence, were informed by the Kansas City USCIS field office that the U.S. citizen’s Petition for Alien Relative was being denied (subsequently denying the intending immigrant spouse’s right to apply for lawful permanent residence) because the parties had married within 30 days of the U.S. citizen divorcing his first spouse.
Clients' goals: Assistance with appeal arguing that the reason which USCIS was basing it’s denial was erroneous. Intending immigrant spouse wanted to be granted her LPR so that she could continue to live with her U.S. citizen husband and work in the U.S.
Final resolution: Appealed USCIS’s ruling that the marriage, which had issues of being a “voidable” (not void) marriage. Argued that although U.S. Citizen spouse had married prior to the completion of the 30-day appeal, that action did not invalidate the marriage. Because the marriage was “VOIDABLE” rather than “VOID,” the Petitioner’s I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, should be approved. USCIS agreed with our legal analysis and granted the Petition for Alien Relative (and as a result) the application for lawful permanent residence for the intending immigrant.
Case Summary #10: 245i Adjustment of Status appeal after denial
Issues: Our client, a person who had entered without inspection in the early 90s. In 1997, her brother had filed a Petition for Alien Relative on our client’s behalf. Eighteen (18) years later the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin showed that the case was ready to be processed and client filed an application for lawful permanent residence. She handled her entire case pro se (self-represented) with assistance from a family member. She was denied on the basis that she had failed to pay the $1,000.00 fine required pursuant to 245i. Client had failed to make payment because she misunderstood that it was an additional payment to filing fee payments that she had already made.
Clients' goals: Hire counsel for the purpose of overturning denial and requesting an opportunity to pay the fee so that she could be granted a green card.
Final resolution: Firm filed appeal on client’s behalf requesting that she be given a second opportunity to pay the fine and obtain lawful permanent residence. Case approved and client was permitted to pay fine and received lawful permanent residence.
Bankruptcy Law Cases
Case Summary #11: Chapter 7 Bankruptcy for a family with 3 children.
Issues: Family needing to file joint bankruptcy for husband and wife after medical issues impacted Husband’s continuing employability. Wife worked 2-3 jobs trying to keep family afloat before deciding to file bankruptcy. Husband worked only odd jobs from time to time.
Client's goals: Client desired to reduce indebtedness that had accrued due to husband’s lack of employability and wife’s limited income. In order to be able to survive paycheck-to-paycheck the family significantly relied on food stamps and annual tax refunds, in addition to the income brought in by wife and husband. Attorney believed that the federal bankruptcy law supported family’s position to file for bankruptcy and still retain part of that year’s tax refund and the whole of their Earned Income Credit for the year that the attorney believed was exempt. The court and trustee disagreed.
Court's orders: After receiving a favorable result from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Kansas, the Court Trustee appealed case to the 10th Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (BAP.) After extensive briefs and oral arguments, the 10th Circuit BAP agreed with our attorney and family was allowed to keep the Earned Income Credit portion of their tax refund. The 10th Circuit Appellate Court has cited this case, confirming a Kansas Debtor’s right to exempt and retain the EIC when filing bankruptcy cited this case.
Case Summary#12: Bankruptcy, married couple with children.
Issues: Bankruptcy filed claiming as exempt any earned income credit that clients had for specific year in which bankruptcy was filed. Trustee's office was objecting to the claimed exemption.
Client's goals: Pursue bankruptcy, apply exemption and successfully complete bankruptcy process and period.
District Court's Order: Kansas District Court (federal) agreed with Trustee's office as that had been a rule specifically created for the district.
Final Court Order: Knowing that federal law was on his side, attorney Bruce Barry pursued case and appealed to the 10th District Court of Appeals when the District Court orders denied his request. Several other cases with similar issues were also being appealed, district court judge selected Mr. Barry specific case to serve as the lead case and Mr. Barry presented written and oral arguments before the 10th District. The case proved successful and Mr. Barry thus helped change the law in the District and helped every future bankruptcy case filed within the District Court of Kansas.