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Divorce Archives

Alimony Lump Sum v. Fixed Amount

Alimony is a frequently litigated issue due primarily to the fact that Kentucky does not have a fixed formula for determining alimony.  Alimony is based on a number of actors, but primarily is the disparity of income or earning ability and the length of the marriage.

What If My Ex Knows the Judge?

I'm often asked about conflict of interest; most often when a client is in fear that the other party has an "IN" with the judge. This may be a friend, friend of a  friend, or relative of the judge or the judge's family.  In Family Court, the judge is the sole decider of your case.  As such, if there is a conflict of interest or inherent bias for or against one party, it should be brought to the attention of the court. Many times the claimed conflict is nothing more than excitement and fear of the unknowing. Even more often, there is boasting between the parties about how one will easily win in court: whether because they are smarter, their attorney is better or they have a claimed inside track with the judge.  While often claimed, it is actually seldom the case.  That said, if you know the judge has a conflict, it is appropriate to ask the judge to recuse from hearing your case. If someone is claiming that their attorney is going to wipe the floor with your attorney, often it is as easy as asking about past experiences.  Does your attorney have history with opposing counsel?  Does your attorney have history with the judge?  This is often boasting without any real basis for the statement. While there certainly are some circumstances that there is a conflict, it is often easily rectified by simply asking the judge.  Most judges do not want to even give an appearance of impropriety.  If they are cousins, they will likely recuse (withdraw) without even asking.  A judge, who is an elected official, doesn't want to have a decision overturned (and a likely judicial complaint) by making a determination about a case where one party is a social friend. If you have a question about whether a judge should be deciding your case, discuss it with your attorney. For a consultation regarding divorce or custody in Northern Kentucky, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email mike@bouldinlawfirm.com.

Sex Offender Registration & FaceBook

The United States Supreme Court struck down a North Carolina law that criminalizes use of social media by registered sex offenders in Packingham v. North Carolina on June 19, 2017.  A link to that Supreme Court decision is attached. This was a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruling, essentially stating that even a registered sex offender has first amendment rights regarding freedom of speech.  Kentucky, like many states, restricts convicted sex offenders from using social media.  This is expanded after the parole or probation period ends and is included with sex-offender registration which can include a 10 year, 20 year, or lifetime registration requirement. Kentucky law also criminalizes registrants from "knowingly or intentionally use a social networking Web site or an instant messaging or chat room program if that Web site or program allows a person who is less than eighteen (18) years of age to access or use the Web site or program." Of course, this includes Instagram, Twitter, FaceBook, SnapChat and many other social media websites. The supreme Court stated: A fundamental First Amendment principle is that all persons have access to places where they can speak and listen, and then, after reflection,s peak and listen once more.  Today, one of the most important places to exchange views is cyberspace, particularly social media, which offers "relatively unlimited, lo-cost capacity for communication of all kinds. It is unclear whether this change will also apply to persons who are on probation or parole, where the use of certain media may be limited as a condition of probation/parole.  There are other crimes in Kentucky regarding registration which may be impacted, but not directly addressed by this Court ruling. Those include registration of your email addresses, FaceBook and other social media accounts. Best legal advice is to report all accounts until/unless the law changes. Time and case law will ferret out whether failure to report your account remains a criminal act. If you have questions or concerns, contact a criminal defense attorney. For consultation in Kentucky, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email mike@bouldinlawfirm.com

Divorce with Class & Dignity

There are many emotions that clients go through when contemplating, beginning, processing or concluding a divorce. The idea for this article comes from Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce coach who wrote an article here. Following are 12 ways to help you through this tough time with dignity: 1. Drink water instead of wine, do yoga instead of binge eating. Drowning your sorrows in ice cream, chips, alcohol or any comfort food may assist temporarily, but it won't help you long-term. In fact, "eating your emotions" may make maintaining your dignity more difficult. Head to the gym, take a yoga class, or head out on a long walk. The exercise and fresh air will help you find peace instead of guilt. 2. Don't look for cheap sex. Engaging in casual sex is just a Band-Aid for your very valid need to feel, lovable, and connected to someone who actually meets your sexual needs. But those encounters come with their own baggage. Instead of bringing someone else (and all that drama) into the picture, spend some time pleasuring yourself until you're truly ready to date like an adult, instead of a horny teenager. 3. Be a problem solver. Everyone who wants to divorce with dignity must become part of the solution. Don't rely on your spouse (ex) to come up with the game plan. Discuss with your lawyer how to get through this time and how to finalize the terms of the dirove. Rather than getting side-tracked with overly emotional reactions, feeling like a victim, playing the blame game, and taking a vengeful or defensive stance, look for actual positive solutions to the immediate problem. Of course, you don't have to solve every issue or challenge on your own. Do your research. Ask for help from those more knowledgeable than yourself, and stay open to examining their suggestions so you can take their input and choose how you want to solve whatever problem you're facing. 4. Act as an equal to your ex. For you to maintain your dignity, you must accept that you're just as 100 percent human as the next person. Which means you're neither superior nor inferior to your ex or anyone else You need to treat others with the same respect and courtesy that you want to receive. If others don't treat you with equal civility, make it clear you expect that behavior to change. 5. Let your legal team know you want to stand your ground without getting ugly. Attorneys learn to litigate and fight for what they believe is in the best interest of their clients. Set some ground rules with your legal representative so you're better able to stick to the highroad. Your time is too precious to waste it on unnecessary and lengthy legal battles. 6. Don't sweat small stuff. The most important thing is your kids and their welfare. Important is an equitable (notice I did not say 'fair') division of the assets and debts. Unimportant is anything that is replaceable -- like the iTunes library or Netflix membership or the end table that you found at that one garage sale in 1989. 7. Don't journal your divorce woes on social media. Airing dirty laundry about your divorce on Facebook (etc.) just isn't productive. And for goodness sakes, don't go changing your relationship status until your divorce if final. If you are compelled to write, keep a private journal. If you are find yourself discussing on social media or in chats, shut down your account until the divorce is over. 8. Wait to find your next relationship until after your divorce. Yes, I know divorces take a long time. But so does fully recovering from one emotionally. Finish up the legal and emotional work of ending your marriage before bringing anyone else into the picture. But, if your new relationship is the reason for your divorce, then the least you can do is avoid flaunting it. 9. Speak up for your needs. It's imperative that you take care of your kids ... but also that you look out for yourself. There's no guarantee that your ex will honor anything he's promised to do. You may not get everything you want, but be sure to get what you need. Remember: being a doormat is neither classy nor dignified, so speak up! 10. Be fair. Don't hide or dispose of assets to prevent your soon-to-be-ex from receiving them. Do your part to move the divorce forward by providing requested information in a timely manner or by taking the actions you're required to take (i.e., getting the house ready to put on the market) as quickly as possible. Don't be so generous that you suffer. Being fair is about both of you. 11. Don't drag your kids into the drama. No matter their age, spare your your kids exposure to your divorce drama. They're facing their own challenges as a result of your divorce. Venting to a friend on the phone within earshot of your children still counts as dragging them into the drama. 12. Express your emotions constructively. It's normal to feel extreme emotions during divorce. But, feeling them and expressing them are two different things. No temper tantrums, ultimatums, pity parties, stuffing (a.k.a. ignoring) your feelings, or displaying your emotions to manipulate your spouse or anyone else (including your kids). Your emotions are normal and valid. It's good to honor them, but don't let extreme feelings dictate your actions. If you need to schedule time to get them out in a healthy way, then schedule the time. Divorce isn't easy. It's one of the most difficult life changes you'll ever experience. For more information, see my divorce blog. For a consultation in Northern Kentucky call Michael Bouldin at Bouldin Law Firm 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE) or email mike@bouldinlawfirm.com.

What is Difference in Divorce and Dissolution?

-If you want to know the difference between divorce and dissolution, just ask an experienced family law attorney in the state you wish to file.- In Ohio and Kentucky, you can contact Michael Bouldin at Bouldin Law Firm. In Ohio, a dissolution is filed when the parties agree on all issues. The dissolution filing tells the Court that the parties have agreed on ALL issues, including but not limited to: custody, parenting time, division of assets, division of debts, resolution of real estate and other property, division of retirement and other investment accounts. If you do not agree on ALL issues in Ohio, you must file for a divorce. Divorce in Ohio also involves a reason for the divorce. Most common reasons are: infidelity, willful absence over 1 year, neglect of duties, habitual drunkenness, and incarceration. By far the most common reason for divorce is incompatibility. This is used when there is no claim of fault in divorce. Kentucky law is a no-fault state: that is the only reason for divorce/dissolution in Kentucky is a claim that "the marriage is irretrievably broken without reasonable prospect of reconciliation." Because Kentucky is a no-fault divorce state, ALL filings are that of dissolution. What would be a dissolution in Ohio is typically called an uncontested in Kentucky. A contested dissolution in Kentucky is what is referred to as a divorce in Ohio. So there you go, technically all divorces are really dissolutions in Kentucky. If you have questions or wish to discuss a divorce, contact the Bouldin Law Firm and schedule a consultation. Contact mike@bouldinlawfirm.com or call 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE) to schedule.

New Marital Property Case in KY

The Kentucky Supreme Court issued a decision on a new case regarding determination of non-marital equity claim in real estate wherein money was given by one party's parents to put as down payment on a home. Here is a summary: NON-MARITAL PROPERTY LAW AND NOT TRANSMUTATION: Husband's parents gave him alone money to put down on a house. So far, that sounds like a non-marital claim. But it all went awry for this Husband. The deed to the house was put in both names, and Wife testified that Husband agreed that the house would be "half hers". So the Circuit court (Owensboro, so no family court then; they just finally got family court effective 1-1-2017), and both levels of our appellate courts, held for the Wife. The decision at the Supreme Court was a 4-3 vote, with a dissent by Justice Noble. The Supreme Court continues to hold that Kentucky is still not a "Transmutation" state, and continued its long-standing position that non-marital property cannot be transmuted to marital, like in many other states. Rather they re-emphasized the "Source of Funds Rule" and the law that title of an asset does not determine the marital or non-marital nature of assets. But, similar to the principles of transmutation, the court held "...during marriage either spouse may 'gift' his or her nonmarital funds to the parties' marital estate including by expending those funds, as here, on the marital home with express representations to the other spouse that the home will be their joint, marital property." DIVIDING HOUSEHOLD GOODS BY LOT-HOW NOT TO DO IT: There are many ways to divide household goods. Don't do this: list all of the items out, put each item on a folded-up piece of paper, throw the pieces of paper all in a box, alternate picks from the box, and you get whatever you pull out. This was decided not to be an "equitable division" of these assets, because one party could have bad luck and draw out a lot of lower value items. For more inquiries regarding divorce law in Kentucky, see my BLOG. If you need to speak with an attorney, call the Bouldin Law Firm. For consultation or representation, contact Mike@bouldinlawfirm.com or call 581-MIKE, 859-581-6453.

Get Even in Divorce

Question: Can I get even in divorce? Answer: Hmmmm. This depends greatly upon your definition of getting even. If your definition of getting even means: Getting half of all marital assets. Getting joint legal custody and at least half of the time with your children. Getting return of premarital and non-marital items. If this is getting even, then you should be able to get even through the process of divorce or dissolution. Gone are the days of women "taking their husband to the cleaners" through the divorce process. If your spouse cheated on you, gave you VD and blew all of your money at the casino and getting even is a swift kick to the groin, taking all of his money and getting full custody, you may be in for disappointment. WHY???? First, Kentucky is a no fault divorce state. This means that the reason for the divorce has no impact on division of assets, custody of children, child support or assignment of debt. There are a few exceptions: for example, if your husband didn't have a gambling problem before the divorce but ran up $10,000 of debt in the month preceding the divorce due to gambling, he may be assigned the greater portion or all of that debt. Also, many people believe that they should be entitled to custody of the children if their spouse is caught cheating, or being unfaithful in the marriage. Unless it can be shown as a significant and direct impact on the children (he took the kids to meet his Backpage date), it is likely inadmissible as evidence in the case. If you are in a bad marriage, get out. For consultation and representation, contact Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email mike@bouldinlawfirm.com.

Do I Have to Move Out of My Home?

If you are beginning the divorce, there is generally no requirement that either party vacate the home. The exceptions to this are: (1) if a court orders one party to vacate or (2) if an officer mandates that you leave. The second option may sound very unfair (and it is) but I advise both my domestic and criminal law clients that you will seldom, if ever, win an argument with an officer at the time of an incident. Generally, if there is an incident giving rise to the police being summoned to your house, the officer will often take action. They may suggest that one party leave. If both refuse, then they are in the position to either leave the parties together in a volatile situation or physically remove one party. If there had been violence or threats, often this removal involves one party going to jail for the evening. The other exception, court orders, is unlikely through a family court relating to your divorce but may be much more likely if one party files for an Emergency Order of Protection (EPO). If there is an allegation of domestic violence or threats of domestic violence, the Court has jurisdiction to issue an ex parte Order of protection. Ex Parte is a term that means the court makes a decision after hearing from one of the parties and is often based on a written allegation of only one party. This Order often includes no contact provisions as well as removal of the "offending" party from the marital residence. These EPOs are in place for up to 14 days, during which the parties are required to return to court to determine if a more permanent order will be issued. If you have been served with an EPO, you should hire an experienced family law attorney before your hearing. This hearing will establish the base line for the divorce and may significantly curtail your legal rights. If issued, you will lose the right to own or possession a firearm, likely lose the right to live in or even go to your home and may lose rights relating to having communication with others (wife, children or other family members). Often, this establishes living rights as well as temporary custody and possibly support issues. If you are beginning a divorce, know your rights. If you have been served with papers for EPO, divorce or even been asked to leave by your spouse, contact an experienced domestic/family law attorney who regularly practices in the county you live. For consultation in Northern Kentucky, call Michael Bouldin at 581-MIKE or email at mwbouldin2@gmail.com. You may schedule an appointment by calling 859-581-6453 and speaking with Mike or Emily.

File Divorce January 2017

Did you know that January is the most popular month to file for divorce? Why? My belief is there are a number of reasons that people file in the first month of the year: New Year's Resolution. January is a time to reflect on mistakes of the past year and to make life changes for self improvement. For some, this is joining a gym and losing 10 pounds. For others, it is more wholesale life changes. (often referred to as losing 195 lbs). Long Cold Winters. In the summer months, often warring spouses don't spend significant time together. Wife may do yard work or go for long walks, Husband may play golf or spend time with buddies playing softball. In either case, there is very little opportunity to be outside or otherwise away from the other spouse. This significant time together may point out the fact that the parties do not get along. Crappy Christmas Gift. A terrible gift (or no gift), may be the proverbial straw breaking the marriage. It may show that your spouse no longer "gets" or understands you or that they don't really care. Either way, it may point out the problems with the marriage. In any case, if you are considering a divorce in the new year, consult with a family law attorney. There are many ways to begin the process and make sure you choose the one best suited to your wishes. For more information and to answer questions, check out www.nky-divorce.com for blog posts. For consultation in Northern Kentucky, call Mike at Bouldin Law Firm at 581-MIKE. Call 859-581-6453 or email at mike@bouldinlawfirm.com.

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