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May 2015 Archives

Professional Divorce

Medical doctors and other professionals get divorced just like any other people.  Unfortunately, the demands on time, financial reliance and relatively high incomes make divorce for doctors and other professionals more intricate and complex than many normal, nine-to-five, w2 paycheck employees. What time demands are unique to doctors?  Doctors often work varying hours, shifts, on-call or have other demands that a 9-5 employee does not incur.  For example, if you and your spouse work "regular" first shift hours, it is easy to alternate weekends and each to parent children 2 weeknights each week.  However, if you are on call this becomes  a difficult prospect, especially if the children are younger and need a parent always available.  This may require an irregular schedule or alternate caregivers to provide for children when duty calls. What does financial reliance mean in a divorce?  Financial reliance occurs when one party is the sole or primary financial provider for a family.  This often occurs when a doctor or other professional has a high income.  This may mean that the other party can discontinue working to raise children, care for the home or even if their income is relatively insignificant.  Financial reliance for an extended period of time will likely give rise to a claim, and possibly a court order, of spousal maintenance (often referred to as spousal support or alimony). Why does a high income case differ from any other divorce?  High income cases are often different for a variety of reasons.  Investments may vary and be uniquely complex in a high income case.  For example, how do you value a medical practice of a doctor who has recently bought into partnership?  Moreover, there are the practical aspects of child and spousal support.  The child support guidelines in Kentucky only go up to $15,000/month of combined income.  Special care and knowledge of the law is essential when the parties earn over this amount.  additionally, many issues of spousal maintenance arise in cases where there is one or more high income. If you have questions about divorce, contact an attorney who regularly handles like type of cases.  Having practiced divorce law for over 20 years I have a unique perspective on such cases.  For a consultation in Northern Kentucky, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email at [email protected]

What Are Felony Sentencing Guidelines?

Criminal sentences are supposed to be proportionate to the crime. That is, they should "fit the crime." Therefore, felonies carry harsher sentences than misdemeanors do. To ensure defendants with similar criminal histories who commit similar crimes get similar punishments, both the federal government and the many states have sentencing guidelines for judges to consult.

What To Ask Your Divorce Attorney?

Having practiced divorce and family law in Northern Kentucky for over 20 years, I have come up with a number of questions that should be asked of your prospective divorce attorney during your initial interview. Hopefully, these questions (and answers) may help you determine whether this lawyer is right for your case. 1. Do you specialize in divorces, or are divorces just a part of your practice? How long have you been practicing family law? How many family law cases have you handled? 2. What is your strategy for my case? How long will it take to resolve my case? 3. How long do you take to return phone calls? How do I get a hold of you if there is an emergency? What do you consider to be an emergency? 4. Will anyone else in your office be working on my case? What experience do they have? Can I meet them? 5. How will you charge me? What is your hourly rate? Do you charge for the time I spend with other lawyers, with paralegals, and/or with secretaries? If so, at what rate? What is your retainer up front? 6. What costs (other than your own) do you expect will be involved (for example, for private investigators, forensic accountants, physicians, and/or psychologists), and how will you charge me for them?  What other professionals do you expect may be necessary (guardian ad litem, mediator) and what is their cost? 7. What's your estimate of the total cost of this divorce? (Do not be alarmed that most divorce attorneys will resist answering this question as the cost of the divorce depends greatly upon the level of conflict in your case. However, the way attorneys answer this question may help you size them up. An honest attorney will often answer that it is difficult to estimate the costs in advance. An attorney that gives you an unrealistically low amount may just be trying to get your business). 8. Do you allow me to negotiate directly with my spouse? How can I keep the cost of my divorce down? Are there tasks that I can do myself to cut down on the amount you will charge me? 9. Based on what you know about my case, how would you predict a judge would rule on it? 10. What can you do to help me understand the tax effect of the decisions I will have to make? If you are expecting a divorce, speak to a professional.  For a consultation in Northern Kentucky, contact Michael Bouldin at [email protected] or call 859-581-6453.

Am I Ready for Divorce?

As a practicing divorce attorney in Northern Kentucky for over 20 years, I have seen a number of people facing the decision of whether to divorce, file or seek other alternatives.  If you are unsure, there is an increase likelihood of either a protracted divorce or a divorce in which one party bows out of the process and simply gives in.  Couples facing the possibility of a divorce often face one of these three dilemmas:

Should I Take a Plea Deal?

Should I take a plea deal?  This is probably the most commonly asked question by a criminal defense client to their attorney.  The attorney generally can bring the deal but is seldom in a position to advise whether or not to take a deal. When should i take a plea deal?  You should accept a plea deal when you are guilty and the likelihood of a sentence following a conviction will be greater than the bargained for deal.  For example: if you were weaving on the road, ran a red light, were pulled over after drinking a 12 pack of beer; then failed all field sobriety tests and then blew a .149 on the breathalyzer, the likelihood of a conviction for DUI is very high.  If the offer on a plea is the state minimums for license suspension, no jail time, minimum fine and other expenses, it may be a good deal.  If you also had an accident, the likelihood of jail time or extended suspension increases if the case proceeds to trial. What if I have probated time in addition to the new crime?  The prosecution holds a number of cards when you also have probated time hanging over your head.  If they revoke the probated time, any new charge is likely going to run consecutive to the probated time.  That means, if you have 3 years of probated time and you have a new crime where the time will be 5 years, consecutive time means a total of 8.  A plea deal that involves concurrent time (5+3=5) would be hard to pass up in such a case. What if I am not guilty?  If you are not guilty and continue with your innocence, you still need to understand the likelihood of conviction.  If the facts stack up against you, the likelihood of conviction must be taken into account.  For example, if the plea deal is for probation and you are looking at a 10 year sentence if convicted, you must balance that with the likelihood of a conviction.  Alternatively stated, you must balance the probation (bird in the hand) with the possibility that you will still be convicted and sentence to a lengthy prison sentence. This is why it is important to choose an attorney you trust.  An attorney can give you an accurate assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your case and will generally give you a range of odds of winning, losing or something in between.  For example, there is a chance that you are still convicted of a lesser charge. For a consultation in Norther Kentucky, contact Michael Bouldin at [email protected] or call 581-MIKE, 859-581-6453.

How Do I Calculate Income for Business Owner?

When dealing with business owners in a divorce, it is important to understand income, cash flow, salary, taxes and business.  Having practice domestic law for over 20 years, and having a degree in business economics, I have a unique perspective and experience in handling these issues in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati.   Following are a few examples: 1. There are a number of legitimate tax deductions which should be included when calculating total income for spousal or child support purposes.  For example, a business owner can generally deduct all or a portion of the expense for his business vehicle.  This will allow the net income to be less than the gross income.  That vehicle expense, however, is included into the calculation for total gross income when calculating child support. 2. Business amortization.  This is not a real expense.  There is no money/cash paid in order to amortize an asset.  If a business depreciates a building or computer over time, it is a tax savings and devalues the asset, however the business does not have an actual expense to pay.  As such, even though it is deductible from the gross income, it is included when calculating an owner's income for all divorce purposes. 3. Gross sales v. net income.  These can be very confusing and often a spouse of a business owner will become enthralled with the gross sales or gross income.  For a one person company, this may be very relevant, but for a larger company, gross sales or gross income may have no relationship to the owner's actual income.  For example, if a small computer company has 4 employees and has gross sales of $1MM.  This company might have $500,000 in the cost of goods sold, translating to gross income of only $500,000.  If each of the employees makes $100,000, then there is only $100,000 left over for the owner, before expenses.  An owner of this fictional company may make significantly less than his employees after normal operating expenses are deducted. As you can see from these examples, calculating the income for a business owner may be very complicated.  The bigger the company, the more tax deductions, and the more business write-offs all affect how the income is calculated.  Additionally, income may be calculated at one level for tax purposes, a different amount for purposes of calculating child support and another amount for purposes of calculating spousal support.  It is important to understand the difference and how to best represent the client. For a consultation in Northern Kentucky, call Bouldin Law Firm at 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE) or email at [email protected].  

What Is HGN and Is It Admissible?

HGN is for Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, a test which can ostensibly help determine whether a person is impaired or otherwise under the influence of alcohol. When a person is stopped for suspicion of DUI, the officer may use any number of field sobriety tests (FST) to aid in the determination of impairment.  The accused has an absolute right to refuse any or all of the field sobriety tests.  Those tests often include: alphabet, number count (often backwards), finger touch/count, one leg stand, walk and turn. Is HGN admissible?  Great question.  Kentucky law is currently unclear on this issue.  In Kentucky appellate decision, Commonwealth v. Rhodes, 949 S.W.2d 621, 623 (Ky. Ct. App. 1996) the HGN test results were admitted due to Defendant's failure to object. There are numerous counties in Northern Kentucky that do not allow the HGN as a matter of course, those include: Boone, Kenton and Campbell.  Other counties throughout the state vary on the use and admissibility of the HGN test and results in a DUI trial.  This issue has recently been tried with competing experts in Owen County and the two judges (Thomas Funk and Elizabeth Chandler) for Owen, Grant and Carroll counties intend to issue a joint decision.  The decision will likely come out later this month and may be appealed for a more comprehensive appellate court decision which could affect the entire state. This is what a HGN test looks like:

Is Stay At Home Father Entitled to Spousal Support?

Possibly.  In Kentucky, the law on spousal support, referred to as maintenance, is gender neutral. That is, based on the language of the statute either party has an equal right to receive a maintenance award.  Maintenance is codified in KRS 403.200 and is a two part process, first looking at whether a party has the financial means to meet his reasonable needs and living expenses.  If not, then the court will look at a variety of factors to determine if an award is warranted, how much and how long. If the Wife is the primary breadwinner, then the Husband has the same rights as if the roles were reversed.  If the Husband stays home with the children, is unable to work for any other reason, or simply earns less than the Wife, then he is possibly entitled to spousal support.  Support is based primarily on three factors: (1) financial resources and earning ability of the parties; (2) length of marriage; and (3) reasonable expenses of each party.  Other relevant factors include: (4) standard of living during the marriage; (5) the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment; (6) The age, and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance; and (7) The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet his needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance. If you have concerns about paying child support and maintenance to your spouse, contact a divorce attorney prior to doing anything.  Any move, financial or physical, may impact the amount and duration of spousal support as well as have an immediate impact on child support and custody.  Do not go into a divorce without the knowledge you need to provide for the best outcome. For a consultation in Northern Kentucky, call attorney Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email at [email protected].

Spousal Support in Kentucky

The legal name for spousal support in Kentucky is maintenance.  Many attorneys will refer to maintenance as alimony or spousal support.  The idea behind the rename is that it is intended to "maintain" the spouse until they can become self sufficient.  That said, there may also be permanent maintenance, which belies the term itself. Maintenance is a two part test which is codified in the dissolution section of the statutes under KRS 403.200

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