1
1

Immigration

Adjustment of Status
Adjustment of status is a process, under Section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, that allows those eligible to obtain permanent residency status (green card) while being physically present in the United States. A key requirement to qualify for adjustment of status is that the applicant must have entered the United States legally. He or she must have been “inspected and admitted” into the U.S., at a port of entry. The second key requisite is that the applicant must be eligible to receive an immigrant visa, which must be current. The best example of immigrant visas are those that a person obtains through an immediate relative petition—the petition of a U.S citizen spouse, adult son or daughter, or parent. We have many years of experience helping immigrants adjust status. Talk to an experienced lawyer at Ayala about your adjustment case.
Green Card Through Family Petition
When a family member makes an application for an immigrant visa for you, the application is approved, and the visa is available, then you could immigrate to the United States through a procedure called Consular Processing. USCIS the entity in the U.S. that approved your visa, will forward the approved petition to the consulate where the applicant is located. Once the consulate receives it, you will be notified to complete some other applications that can be complex and for which the assistant of an experienced lawyer is highly recommended. Moreover, a lawyer can guide you through the process in your home country, which requires medical examinations, interviews, documents gathering, and financial affidavits, among others. We have helped immigrants all over the world with their consular process. Talk to an experienced lawyer at Ayala.
Fiancé/Fiancée Visas
If you want to get married to your foreign fiancé/fiancée, you could bring her/him to the United States with a fiancé visa. Once in the United States, you have 90 days to marry your fiancé/fiancée and after that she/he can file for adjustment of status.
Business Visas (E, L, H)
Doing business in or with the United States? Download our list of cross-border services.
  • E-1
    • The E-1 “Treaty Trader” visa is designed for business owners, business managers, and employees who have to stay in the U.S. for prolonged periods of time to oversee or work for an enterprise that is engaged in trade between the U.S. and the treaty country which qualified the treaty trader for the E-1 designation. For a list of eligible countries see: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/fees/treaty.html
  • E-2
    • The E-2 nonimmigrant visa allows a person of a country that has a treaty of navigation or commerce with the U.S. to be admitted to the U.S. when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. Certain employees of the E-2 Investor or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for an E-2 visa. To obtain the visa, at least 50 percent of the business must be owned by the national of the treaty country. The foreign national must be seeking temporary entry. An E-2 treaty investor may be admitted solely to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which he has invested, or of an enterprise in which he is actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital. What is “substantial” depends on the type of business. We generally recommend an investment of over $100k. E-2 investment of less than 100k are difficult because it is hard to show the reviewer that that investment will support the salary of the investor and then other employees. The US enterprise must be bona fide which means not for the purpose of just bringing the investor. At Ayala, we are very experienced with investment visas, calls us to help you with your case. We help investor from any place in the world.
  • L1A
    • The L-1A nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.  This classification also enables a foreign company, which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States with the purpose of establishing one.
Green Card Through Investment
A person can also obtain a green card through a monetary investment. The most popular is the known EB-5 immigrant visa. The EB-5, is a visa that allows a foreign investor to obtain a green card if he or she invests $1,000,000 in a business in the United States that will employ at least 10 American workers or, if the business will be created in a “targeted employment area” (TEA), (areas with high unemployment), then the investment can be $500,000. On this latter smaller investment, there are two options. One where the investor invests in its own business and he or she creates the 10 employment positions or, the second where he or she can delegate this task to a “Regional Center.” A Regional Center is essentially a business, approved by the government that, with the investor’s capital, will create 10 American jobs. If you are interested in obtaining a green card through investment, contact and experienced immigration lawyer at Ayala.
Green Card Through Employment
There are a few ways you can obtain a green card through employment in the United States. The options are closely linked to the applicant’s abilities, education, and knowledge. For example, under the first option (EB1-A Visa), you must be able to show extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. Similarly, if you are an outstanding professor or researcher in an academic field you may be able to obtain an EB1-B visa. The third one, the EB1-C is a visa, available for outstanding managers and executives of multinational corporations. This last one requires that the executive have been employed outside the United States in the 3 preceding years prior to the petition for at least 1 year by a firm or corporation, and that the executive is coming to the U.S. counterpart of that corporation in the same capacity. For more information on how to obtain a green card through employment contact an experienced immigration lawyer at Ayala.
Asylum
If you have a reasonable fear that your life or freedom will be threatened in your country because of something you cannot change in your life, then you might be able to apply for asylum. It is important that, if you are in the United States already, you apply within one year from entering the country. We can help you with the entire process from beginning to end.
Deportation Defense
Deportation is the process in which the U.S. government wants to send you out of the U.S. It is also known as “removal proceedings” because that’s how the process is labeled in the Immigration code or Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The process is administrative in nature and involves three parties: the immigrant, a government lawyer part of the Department of Homeland Security, and an immigration judge who is part of the Department of Justice. There are different types of deportation processes, but the most common one is the one when the government has given you an NTA—Notice to Appear. An NTA is like the charging document which states the basis as to why you are not legally in this country, or if you are why you are removable. If you are given an NTA, it is important that you call an experienced immigration attorney right away. There are due process rights you have during removal proceedings and that you need to protect. In other situations you may be removable but because of your circumstances there are reliefs available to you. Call a lawyer at Ayala for help.
Naturalization
Naturalization legal services involve a wide variety of cases. The simplest of cases (with which we’ll be happy to assist you too) involve the long time legal permanent resident who has rarely left the United States, has a spotless criminal history and is fluent in the English language. Then, it starts to get more complicated. Add a misdemeanor in your teen years, an arrest for which you were not charged, an actual criminal conviction where you served jail time, and you have a more complex case for which you need a good naturalization lawyer to tell you if you should even apply. Non criminal issues like unpaid taxes, or failure to pay child support can also prevent you from showing the required “good moral character.”  In another set of cases, you may be already a citizen though you didn’t know you were. For example, if you were not born in the U.S., but your father was a U.S. Citizen at the time you were born, then you may be a U.S. citizen at birth and what you need is not to “naturalize” but to request a Certificate of Citizenship. At Ayala we have handled the most complex naturalization cases and we’ll be happy to help you obtain the ultimate immigration goal—Citizenship. 
Other Visas
  • U Visa
    • The U visa was designed for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. This is a powerful visa. If you were helpful to an investigation and the crime you were victim of qualifies, you might be eligible. Unless you have certain crime of your own for which there is no waiver, you could qualify for a waiver, which is filed simultaneously with the U visa application.
  • O Visa
    • The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.

Real Estate

Residential Closings
The purchase of a home or condo involves a substantial amount of money. The transaction can be burdensome. The amount of paperwork, monumental. We want to make sure we can (1) ease for you the per se complications of a real estate purchase deal and (2) appropriately protect you by carefully drafting or editing the paper work that effects the transfer of the real estate from you or to you. At Ayala, in partnership with Attorneys Title Insurance Fund and Old Republic National Insurance Company, we can help you be sure you are getting the cleanest, most protective title policy for the title of your home, and appropriately drafted transfer documents.
Commercial Closings
Commercial Closings are unique. Whether your business is purchasing or selling a warehouse, an empty land, or an entire new building, the transaction involves a lot of money, and needs to be carefully reviewed at every step. Ayala has handled purchase and sale of warehouses, large acres of empty land and entire apartment buildings. We have experience in commercial closings and can guide you through the process. We can draft your purchase and sale contract, issue your title commitment, act as your escrow agent and issue a comprehensive title policy that will protect your purchase.
Refinances
Refinances are, for title purposes, like the purchase and sale of a property. Your new lender will want to make sure your title is clean, free of legal claims. Having a good real estate lawyer and title agent can make the difference when dealing with difficult lenders. Many times, lenders not experienced in real estate title work take issue on things in title that are fixable, but that can jeopardize your re-finance transaction. Negotiating skills from your lawyer are also important when dealing with complicated banks. There are skilled ways to get better terms in your deal without jeopardizing your loan. We have experience dealing with the largest banks. For example, we were recently retained to represent a South American investor in a refinance transaction involving a 3.8-Million-dollar loan with one of the largest banks in the world.
Quiet Title Actions
Normally properties obtained through a tax deed go through a quiet title (“cleaning title”) before they can be sold. The goal is to wipe out prior liens so the property goes clean to the new buyer. Other circumstances, like two owners claiming title to the same property can also give rise to quiet title and it may be a useful legal tool for your if you have a title subject to claims of others. At Ayala, we have experience in quiet title actions. We have litigated quiet title actions at the trial level and defended them for our clients through appeals. Our experience in real estate transactions combined with our commercial litigation practice makes us uniquely qualified to successfully represent our clients in complex title matters.
Evictions
Evictions can be a simple or an extremely complicated process. An eviction for lack of payment can swiftly proceed to judgment in two weeks, or turn into a months-long dispute depending on the tenant. At Ayala we have even had evictions turn into challenges to the validity of the landlord’s title. In situations like this, it is important that your lawyer is experienced in real estate law to handle any challenges to your action for possession or damages. Our eviction services are backed by our extensive experience in real estate litigation and transactions. We put this combination of expertise to work for our clients to assure that, at the end of the process, they get their property back in the most efficient way possible.
Broker Representation
If you are a real estate sales agent or broker, you are the procuring cause of a sale and the seller does not want to pay your hard-earned commission you have some remedies under contract or common law. At Ayala can help you recover that hard-earned commission. We can also help you prevent a situation like this by reviewing and negotiating your commission terms and real estate purchase-sale agreements. Our familiarity with real estate transactions, contract law, and real estate litigation puts us in unique position to help you obtain your payment.

Business Services

Business Purchase and Sale
Buying or selling a business can be tricky. Buyers and sellers usually agree on the purchase price, and not much else. Without delineating the contours of what’s included in the agreement, it becomes the lawyer’s task to clarify to both parties the details of what the business (or assets) include. A detailed, comprehensive purchase-sale agreement is crucial to avoid future disputes. The agreement should address things like escrows, account receivables, liabilities, pending claims, potential claims, accounts payable, brand names, trademarks, patents, copyrights, licenses, warranties, insurance, client’s lists, directories, phone numbers, fax numbers, websites, email accounts, and employees’ contracts, among others. At the end of the day, purchase and sale of a business is mostly a matter of contract law and it is important to have a lawyer who understands contract law, and the potential consequences of a poorly written agreement: lawsuits. Our experience in litigation and business transactions puts us in a great position to help you in the purchase or sale of your business.
Shareholder and Operating Agreements
Shareholder agreements are agreements between all or some of the shareholders in a corporation. It regulates the relationship between the shareholders, the management of the company, the ownership of the shares or stocks and protects the shareholders. They also govern the way in which the company is run. Operating Agreements are virtually the same thing but for limited liabilities companies. More often than not businesses start with ideas, passion, work, capital, teams, sales and plans, but the agreement regulating the relationship of the owners of the business if left for last—if at all. It is important that you hire a knowledgeable business attorney that writes a good, comprehensive agreement for your business. At Ayala, we have many years of experience working with owners of businesses. We teach and guide owners through the process and help them understand that, to have a regulating agreement is not a sign of distrust between the partners, but of maturity. A good shareholder agreement will give the business stability in the future and avoid disputes.
Commercial Lease Drafting and Review
Commercial leases can be structured in many different ways. Many times, commercial landlords are not very flexible to alter their pre-written leases. When this happens, it is important that you understand the contents of your lease, the type of lease, and what kind of impact it will have in your business. It is also important that you have a knowledgeable business attorney that can negotiate with landlord’s counsel the terms of the lease without risking obtaining that commercial real estate you desperately want, and that took you so long to find. Whether it is a gross lease, full service lease, net lease, or triple net, we can help you structure the lease that best suits your type of business and maneuver intelligently landlords’ sometimes unreasonable requirements
Contract Drafting
Contracts are legally enforceable agreements between two or more parties. They can be express, when they clearly describe the terms, or implied, when the terms are inferred based on the circumstances. More often than not, relationships in business are born when the parties are getting along incredibly well, and rarely think of the need for a well written, detailed contract. At Ayala, we have helped many of small and medium businesses in drafting contracts to adequately protect them when their business relationships go south. Our experience in contract litigation also gives us a unique insight into contract drafting that pure transactional firms may not be able to provide you.
Asset Protection and Restructuring
If you are a small business owner, that came from humble beginnings, but now enjoys substantial amounts of assets it is important that you protect these hard-earned assets from unscrupulous creditors. With prosperity come other problems, and sometimes assets become a magnet for lawsuits. It is important to have a good plan to protect yours or your family’s assets. The plan should be established before there is a lawsuit or a creditor trying to go after them. The law makes it harder to protect your assets by current creditors, or once lawsuits have been filed. The legal systems give you numerous resources to legally protect your hard-earned assets. Sometimes things as simple as a general liability policy can protect a particular asset. Other methods include asset protection trusts, off shores, retirement plans, or insurance policies.
Customer and Business Screening
In today’s globalized, digital world it is important not only that your business complies with laws and regulations, but that those that do business with you also do. At the top of the compliance list, especially if you have a large cash flow, is compliance with Money Laundering laws. The U.S. passed legislation like the Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 or the Patriot Act of 2011 (after 9/11 attacks) that require strong, comprehensive record keeping requirements for certain businesses. Without you knowing you may be doing business with an entity who also without knowledge donated money to a blacklisted entity. That alone could potentially stain the reputation of your business. At Ayala, we are members of ACAMS, the Association of Certified Anti-Money laundering specialist. We have the expertise to help you screen your business and clients so you are not blindsided. We have access to the largest data bases like Lexis Due Diligence or Thomson Reuters’ World Check, used by the largest banks in the world to screen its customers.

Litigation

Commercial Disputes
Small and Medium businesses face, just like consumers, abuse or unfair treatment from bigger, unscrupulous businesses. When this happens, it is important to take swift action first, to reduce damages, and second to put the other party on notice; to send a strong message. It is important that as a business you are protected from abuse by other businesses by a competent lawyer. We have represented dozens of small businesses in commercial disputes in mediation, arbitration or when necessary, litigation. It is important that you rely in an experienced attorney that can navigate the ever-difficult legal world for your business. At Ayala, we not only have the expertise and team to take your case all the way through trial, but we are passionate about small businesses and that passion inevitably energizes the service we give you, making us more active, efficient, and resilient lawyers for you. Contact us if you have a business dispute.
Contractual Disputes
Contractual disputes are time-consuming, expensive and unpleasant. They can destroy a prior long-term excellent relationship with a supplier, client, or related business. Sometimes however, there is no other option but to pursue legally the rights for you bargained for in your contract. We have many years representing small business owners and private individuals in contractual disputes. A few important things to review in your contract if you are thinking of legal action are: (1) arbitration clauses, (2) forum clauses, (3) choice of law (what law applies to your contract), (4) damages provisions, (5) non-competes, and (6) conditions precedent. At Ayala, we can help you evaluate your potential breach of contract case, or if someone has sued you, defend you.
Shareholders Disputes
Shareholders owe a duty of care and loyalty to one another and to the company. When one shareholder acts in his own interest to the detriment of the company, disputes arise that can be highly sensitive and complex. In the context of the sale of a business sometimes reaching an agreement between the parties regarding valuation and other financial issues can be particularly challenging and can also create frictions. Allegations of fraud or breach of fiduciary duties are often raised, which require an experienced business lawyer. The lawyers at Ayala have the expertise to help when, god forbid, you are in a dispute with your partner or former partner. Typical legal actions or problems include: misappropriation or theft of assets, breach of fiduciary duties, fraudulent transactions, diversion of income or profits and funding personal expenditures through corporate accounts. At Ayala, we can help you evaluate whether or not you have a cause of action against your partner or defend you if your partner is claiming something against you.
Shareholder Derivative Actions
Sometimes, shareholders on behalf of a company (as opposed to management) can bring a suit to protect the interest of the company against a third party. That third party oftentimes is an executive of the company or someone in management who has not acted in the best interest of the company thereby hurting it. If management is not willing to suit that third party, a shareholder may sometimes bring the suit herself on behalf of the company. At Ayala, we have extensive experience in business litigation and can help you in a situation like this, where you may otherwise feel powerless against the power of management.
Real Estate and Title Disputes
Sometimes, it is not a clear who is the lawful owner of real estate. Sometimes there are multiple owners of one single, indivisible property, and each of these owners’ rights are subject to conditions or things that need to occur before their rights on the property are valid. In the process, the answer to who is or are the rightful owners of a unit, can be obscured and with that, disputes arise. We have experience litigating complicated title disputes in court. Our real estate transaction practice coupled with our experience in litigation, makes us uniquely positioned to deal with situations in which someone else is making a claim of something you thought it was yours, or vice-versa.
Illegal Towing
Anyone towing a vehicle in Florida without the consent of the owner must comply with the requirements of Florida Statutes Section 715.07. If you park and your car was towed when you came back, contact the local police department to report the vehicle as missing. Local law enforcement will be able to tell you whether your vehicle has been towed and, if so, which towing company towed the vehicle and where your vehicle is stored. If your vehicle was damaged in the towing process, you may recover the costs to repair your vehicle. The Statutes also require that the towing company store your vehicle within 10 miles of the towing site. If your vehicle was taken to a storage location more than 10 miles from the location of the tow, your rights may have been violated. If you believe you were not parked illegally, contact our office.
Landlord-Tenant Disputes
Disputes between landlords and tenants can occur for many reasons. On the tenant side, failure to pay rent is the most typical. On the landlord side, sometimes landlords fail to maintain the rented property appropriately, and in compliance with the rental agreement (whether it is oral or written). When the agreement is written the document generally details who is responsible for which repair, up to what amount, and the timing of the repair. In commercial leases, there can be disputes as to the CAM (Common Area Maintenance) amounts. Commercial Triple Net Leases (lease where then tenant pays taxes, insurance and maintenance) can complicate things even further and create disputes. At Ayala, we are experienced in complex landlord tenant litigation and can guide you and represent you throughout the process.
Construction Litigation
Construction usually involves a lot more than the developer or contractor that is in charge of the main project. It usually involves innumerous parties that need to work in a specific, precise, coordinated fashion for the project to be successfully completed. As one may imagine, the more parties the more susceptible to problems, errors, disputes the construction project is. When a problem arises, and becomes a legal matter, the dispute can be as sophisticated as the nature of the construction, the sophisticated parties involved and the high amounts at stake. At Ayala, we have successfully represented unpaid contractors and owners that suffered substantial damages as a result of defective or incomplete work. Our experience in complex litigation also equips us with the skills and knowledge required to deal with this type of cases.
Consumer Finance Litigation
After the 2007-2008 financial crisis, financial institutions came to the spotlight for their deceptive and abusive practices. The result was an increase in regulations to protect consumers from ever powerful banks and lenders. For example, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, established new disclosures and the now common 3-day-rule before banks can close on a residential loan. The goal of the rule was to give the consumer, after reading the comprehensive disclosures, a chance to change her mind, in case there was a dramatic difference between what was offered and what was being given at the end—when the borrower was at risk of breach on the purchase sale contract. The disclosure has very specific rules and requirements that have to be strictly complied with and that can subject lender to liability. At Ayala, we have experience in both, lending transactions and consumer litigation. This combination puts us in a unique position to understand cases where consumers have been abused by misrepresentations or lack of proper disclosures by powerful financial institutions.
PACA Administrative Actions
The Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) was enacted to promote fair trade in the fruit and vegetable industry. PACA protects businesses dealing in fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables by establishing and enforcing a code of fair business practices and helping companies resolve business disputes. The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is responsible for administering PACA laws and regulations. AMS also offers a forum and procedures to buyers and sellers of produce to resolve their disputes before going to a formal court proceeding. At Ayala we have represented South American sellers of produce in PACA administrative actions in the U.S. Though administrative and expedited in nature, PACA disputes have a lot of similarities to court proceedings and in that sense, it is important to have an experienced litigation firm handling the dispute. Foreign South American companies specially, can benefit from Ayala’s familiarity with the realities of business practices in both: South America and the United States.
Seed and Agriculture Litigation
The federal government in Title 7 of the United States Code regulates the production, purchase and sale of agricultural products. Chapter 37 (the Federal Seed Act or FSA) of Title 7 specifically regulates the purchase and sales of seeds in interstate commerce. The FSA establishes very specific disclosure requirements for seeds sellers such as: the percentage of germination, the percentage of hard seed, the details of the tests performed on the seeds. State rules also impose other duties on seeds sellers. Failure to comply with these requirements may subject the seller to liability for damages. Seed purchasers are in a difficult position to predict the condition of the seeds but only after seeds have been seeded and geminated; when it is actually too late, and crops, lands, and business relations may have been destroyed as a result. At Ayala we have experience representing seed purchasers for damages caused by sellers’ failure to comply with the requirements of the FSA and other seed laws.
Condominium Association Law
In today’s Miami housing market, chances are you live in a building or community where there is either a condominium association or a home owner’s association (HOA). HOA’s and condo associations alike are required to comply with Florida Statutes regulating associations and with the condo documents (aka as the Declaration of condominium). In addition, associations have by-laws and rules and regulations they have to abide by. The condo documents and rules are like contracts that if breached may create some right of action for the condo owner or resident. At Ayala we have successfully represented many condo or HOA owners in legal disputes against their association when their action caused them damages. Our experience in commercial litigation also makes us uniquely positioned to take on condo associations that do not abide by their governing documents.