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June 2015 Archives

Gay Rights Legal Issues

This week the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it was illegal for states to discriminate against gay marriage.  Heterosexuals and homosexuals can now have the same rights.  This will undoubted lead to a number of new marriages throughout Kentucky and the United States. The Bouldin law Firm has been servicing gay clientele since its inception more than 20 years ago.  As a businessman, this will create a new amount of legal work.  Until now, gay couples could not adopt the same child.  As a result, many couples have a child that is either biologically or adopted by one parent and legally unrelated to the other parent.  As a result, estate and financial planning was of utmost importance to these clients. While not particularly addressed in the Supreme Court decision, those couples should and are legally now allowed to take the next step and BOTH adopt their children.  Why is this so important?  I can answer that with one simple question: What about the death of one parent? If that parent died, then the other parent would have to petition the probate, then the juvenile court for custody.  If you have children, take the legal steps necessary to (1) marry, (2) plan your estate, and (3) adopt.  These are important for ALL couples with children and now apply equally to gay and straight couples. The estate planning advice is not limited to gay couples.  I have made it part of my practice to insist on estate planning: Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney, Health Care, Living Will and Trusts where appropriate.  This is important while married and to update following a divorce or dissolution. For more information or to schedule an appointment to begin the adoption process, contact Michael Bouldin at the Bouldin Law Firm by emailing [email protected] or call 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE).  Schedule with Emily, Mike's paralegal.

Does It Matter How My Spouse is Served Papers?

Legal service of a Complaint or Petition in Kentucky  is generally accomplished by one of the following ways: 1) sheriff hand delivery; (2) certified mail which is signed; or (3) entry of an appearance.  There are other ways, via a Warning Order Attorney or by publication, that are much less frequently used and generally cost additional fees and take time. Regardless of the method of service, all will accomplish the same goal of beginning the dissolution process. If two attorneys are involved, many times there is no actual service and the opposing party will simply file an Entry of Appearance or Response to the Petition.  If a case is amicable, often the party will simply accept service by filing one of the foregoing.  Other times, certified mail is preferred. The sheriff can be used to guarantee best service, but may be interpreted as if trying to "send a message" or otherwise intimidate.  This is especially considered if service is at a place of employment.  The person receiving the service should try to not be offended, as it is essential to begin the process.  Nearly every attorney has been involved in a case where a party dodges service, thereby not allowing the divorce to begin, much less end. If you have been served, you are required to file an answer within 20 days.  If you fail to file an answer, the case may proceed without your involvement: this is not good.  The Petitioner can then ask for the court to divide assets, assign debt and award custody, and support.  If you are not involved, it is unlikely that you will be happy with the outcome of such a hearing. If you have been served, tell your attorney when scheduling an appointment. The attorney will assure that your rights are protected and an answer is filed. If you have been served papers and are seeking legal representation, contact the Bouldin Law Firm at [email protected] or call the office at 859-581-6453.

Do I Have to Appeal if Money is Seized?

You do not have to respond, however the government will keep your money if you do not file Petition/Appeal of the ruling.  If your money is seized by TSA or any other agency, you will (should) receive a letter from US Department of Justice in approximately 30 days outlining the amount seized as well as your rights to petition/appeal.  Following is a sample letter from DOJ (redacted): As stated in the letter, you have only 30 days to send letter of petition and timing is crucial. If you want to try to get your money back, you MUST FOLLOW THE PROCEDURE.  If the 30 days is insufficient and you need more time to hire an attorney or to gather evidence, you must still send in a letter of appeal, tell them that you need additional time to gather information/evidence and retain counsel. You are permitted to travel with over $10,000; that is not illegal.  If traveling out of the country, you must declare the amount of cash.  When they seize money, the government presumes that it was obtained illegally.  To get it back, you must prove only that it was legally acquired which is generally done by gathering document gathering.  Common documents are payment records, deposits and withdraws, sale of assets (house, boat, vehicles). If there were no drugs or other illegal contraband was found while you were traveling then the federal agency does not typically conduct further investigation.  If they had found drugs or contraband, you would likely be facing federal felony charges and the seizure would be included in an indictment.  If no charges were made, no charges or other inquiry will typically arise simply because you choose to forfeit your money. Contact me directly if you have further questions or to inquire about representation.  Call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email at [email protected]

Does the Amount Matter for Robbery Charge?

The amount taken in a robbery committed in Kentucky is irrelevant to the charge.  Whether the defendant was attempting to take a cell phone, $5 or $10,000 the amount of the theft is irrelevant to the charge of robbery. If trying to take any money you use physical force, it is a robbery 2nd.  Robbery is a serious felony offense and anyone charged with this crime should be looking for the best possible attorney to represent them throughout the proceedings.  If you have an attorney, please make sure that you have discussed potential resolution and possible plea deals to the case as well as trial strategy and defenses available. Following is the Kentucky Revised Statute (KRS) definition of Robbery 2nd:

How Long Can Grand Jury Consider My Case?

In Kentucky the grand jury generally will consider your case up to 60 days after it has been bound over following a preliminary hearing.  That said, there is no requirement to indict within that time, but there are some safeguards if an indictment is not forthcoming. If the grand jury does not indict within 60 days of the preliminary hearing, the defendant is required to be released without bond.  If the defendant is already out on bond, the bond is required to be returned to the surety. This question becomes more interesting as time progresses and the Commonwealth continues to BUILD their case.  The investigator or Attorney for the Commonwealth may be awaiting blood results before deciding how to indict a vehicular homicide case.  The Commonwealth may seek additional evidence such as a blood sample, DNA or voice or handwriting sample in order to determine if the Defendant is properly charged. There is very little law on the subject and a criminal defendant may await indictment for long period of time.  The range of options varies, but may include request to testify at Grand Jury proceedings or dismissal of the charges.  Due to the fact that Kentucky law does not have a statute of limitations for felony crimes, there is no speedy trial until after an indictment is made. The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to speedy trial. This is reiterated in the Kentucky Constitution under Section 14 of the Preamble.  An interesting case may be made regarding your right, as well as the necessity to file a demand for speedy trial.  If you are awaiting trial, it may be necessary to first demand the trial occur in a speedy manner. If you have questions about criminal law and your rights, contact Michael Bouldin at Bouldin Law Firm.  120 West Fifth Street in Covington, Kentucky.  Email at [email protected]. Call 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE).

How Do I Prepare For Divorce Attorney Interview?

If you are seeking a divorce attorney in Northern Kentucky, do your homework before scheduling a meeting.  Some clients want to shop around or meet with a number of attorneys before choosing their attorney.  This may be OK if you are test driving cars, but it is not the best way to choose an attorney. Ask around.  If you are seeking an attorney, ask those who have been through it.  Don't simply ask, "Who was your attorney?"  First ask:

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