Help! My Attorney is on Vacation.

As a busy attorney for many years, I realize the necessity of going on vacation and getting away from the grind. I firmly believe that this time away allows me to rejuvenate and recommit to the practice and makes me a better attorney.

Unfortunately, this is little solace to those clients that need answers NOW. Having practiced for over 25 years, I have taken many steps to assure that the clients’ needs are being met and that the wheels of justice continue to turn.

Planning for a vacation, here are steps I’ve taken:

  1. Advise clients. I do not keep it a secret that I’m going out of town. This allows most clients, judges and opposing counsel to set realistic expectations.
  2. Have office staff available. My paralegal, Emily, does most of my scheduling anyway and has a general knowledge of most of my cases. As such, she is more often available during my trips.
  3. Have other attorneys available for emergencies. I have spoken to my partner, Kris Nevels, as well as a few other local attorneys who can cover in case of emergencies. For example, no one plans to get arrested for DUI and have court in 2 days. If that happens, plead NOT GUILTY and wait for return. Alternatively, call the office and we will do our best to have someone present for your arraignment.
  4. Plan down time both before and after vacation. This allows for clients in crisis or with emergencies to schedule in a timely manner.
  5. Allow minimal communication. Even when leaving the country, I schedule 15-30 minutes 2-3x/week to communicate with the office. While this is not ideal, it is similar to times when I am in the middle of trial. It allows my paralegal to prioritize and get answers to crises.

Another key to getting away is getting another professional do handle all of the planning and preparations. Julie@islandgirlvacations is exceptional at travel planning and finding the best deals. Full disclosure: she’s also my wife.

If you have questions or concerns or need legal assistance, contact Michael Bouldin by filling out the contact information, call 859-581-6456 (581-MIKE) or email mike@bouldinlawfirm.com. Of course, you can also contact Emily@bouldinlawfirm.com for scheduling.

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What To Do If You Cannot Get Ahold of Your Attorney

Attorneys are notoriously difficult to get in touch with and the successful and busy ones even more so. So here is a list of dos and don’ts if you are having difficulty.

Do:

1. Be patient. This sounds simple but calling 3-5 times does not make the return call any quicker. From the attorney point of view, if everyone called 5 times, it would take five times as long to return everyone’s call.

2. Schedule. It may be difficult to get a hold of the attorney, but generally you can speak with a secretary, receptionist or paralegal. Tell that person that you are having difficulty and need to schedule a meeting or phone consultation. Once you are on the book, your chances are probably near 100% that the conversation can occur.

3. Ask the Paralegal. Similar to #2, the paralegal for the attorney often has great insight into your case and can answer most questions. Sure, some are better saved for the attorney, but others can be answered, handled and even resolved by the paralegal and often at a greatly reduced fee.

4. Discuss with the attorney their caseload and how they prioritize. If I explain that I’ll get to your post decree issue later, that a client is facing 20 years in prison this week, most clients can and do understand.

Don’ts:

A. Do not call repeatedly and leave multiple messages. This ties up the time available to return calls.

B. Do not call another attorney seeking free advice. The attorney handling your case knows about your case. If you seek free advice, you often get what you pay for.

C. Do not immediately change attorneys and give up. You chose this attorney because of their skill, experience among other things. If you want a new attorney who will text you back and immediately take all calls, then hire that attorney from the onset. If you want an attorney with a track record and busy clientele, you may have to occasionally wait.

If problems persist, discuss your concerns and set out expectations of both the attorney and the client. Most often, a compromise can be reached where the client knows that their problems are being addressed and concerns are handled in a timely and efficient manner.

If you are a client, call Emily at 859-581-6453 to schedule. If you need legal advice and do not have an attorney, contact Mike@bouldinlawfirm.com.

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Estate Planning & Wills

When people think of estate planning they often think that is only for rich people that need an elaborate plan. While there are those people that need financial, tax planning, succession as well as legal advice, many need simple documents such as a will, power of attorney, health care POA and possible a trust.

Most also incorrectly believe that the state will handle things the way you envision. The laws of probate when a person dies without a will vary widely from state to state and often are not what most people think will happen. For example, in Kentucky, if a person dies without a will, the order of heirs is as follows: (1) their children; (2) their parents; (3) their siblings; then (4) spouse.

While there are certain allowances for spouses, often the bulk of an estate will pass to children in favor of a spouse. This can lead to financially devastating and unintended consequences. Additionally, the estate plan should include discussion of beneficiaries of life insurance and retirement assets as well as documents for living will/health care and power of attorney (POA).

If you need a simple will or complex estate plan, contact a legal professional. We will begin with a questionnaire to get started. In Northern Kentucky, contact Michael Bouldin at mike@bouldinlawfirm.com or call 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE).

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Divorce and Collaborative Law

Having practiced divorce law for 25 years, there is a better way to divorce. The Collaborative Process has assisted thousands of parties throughout the nation in settling their cases with class and dignity through cooperative decision making and in confidential setting.

I have been a member of the Collaborative Law group in Northern Kentucky for over 10 years and have participated in many cases as counselor in both Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati. Collaborative training teaches problem solving techniques and methods to resolve differences, in both straightforward and difficult cases.

Collaborative dissolution allows the parties to set their own schedules, set their own goals and objectives and to try to achieve those goals through discussion, negotiation and the use of other professionals.

For more information regarding collaborative law, see our group’s website at this LINK. for consultation regarding divorce/dissolution, call a collaborative attorney and schedule today. For consultation, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email info@bouldinlawfirm.com or follow this link for information.

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JUUL Litigation Attorney

If you have been injured by the use of JUUL vaping products, you need to hire an attorney. In Kentucky and Ohio, contact Michael W. Bouldin and get yourself included in the federal class action litigation.

Injuries may include medical visits, asthma, problems breathing, hospitalization or death. If you have a child who has problems relating to vaping JUUL, you can file on their behalf.

If a settlement is reached or if litigation results in a plaintiff verdict, the class members will be compensated. Compensation will likely be based on the severity of the injury, but damages have yet to be determined.

There are currently lawsuits pending in both Ohio and Kentucky and they have been combined with federal class action in California. IT IS NOT TOO LATE! Call or email or fill out the contact information below. An attorney will be in touch with you very soon!

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Prosecutor Bullying in Lori Loughlin Case

Having practiced criminal defense for 25 years, I am often asked about high profile cases. While they are often treated differently than more average cases, the general public can learn a lot from these types of cases. The current federal case of the United States v. Lori Loughlin is one such example.

The case pending involves allegedly paying bribes in order to obtain admission for the children into various universities. My initial take is that there is a great amount of pressure to plead guilty, which is generally the case with all criminal charges. I believe that Lori Loughlin and most of the others DO have a valid defense. The federal bribery statute prohibits corruptly giving, offering, or promising anything of value to a federal public official or appointee with the intent of influencing him or her to perform an official act or to commit fraud. . It seems to be a stretch that these universities qualify as a federal agency or official. Moreover, the bribes were not paid to the university but to an agent which the stars hired to assist with admission. It may also be interesting defense tactic to determine what is a legitimate gift to the university v. bribe, and can your child receive preferential treatment because of a gift?

The most current development regards the additional charges which the government has brought since they refused to plead guilty. THIS IS A COMMON TACTIC utilized by many prosecutors to force a plea and to punish those who wish to exercise their constitutional rights. Prosecutors ARE bullies. If they are out to protect the public, and they believe that this is a valid additional charge, then all of the defendants should have faced the same charges. The reality is that they are trying to unduly punish those that exercise their right to trial.

If you are a defendant in a criminal case, hire an experienced defense attorney who can advise you throughout the process. Do not assume that the prosecutor is purely interested in justice – they want a guilty verdict. If you are not guilty, the trial tactics are just that and stand up for your rights! For consultation and representation in Kentucky and Ohio, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-MIKE, that is 859-581-6453 or email mike@bouldinlawfirm.com.

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NKy Divorce

Being a divorce attorney in Northern Kentucky for 25 years I am often asked about what is unique and what to expect in a divorce. One rather unique aspect of divorce/dissolution in Northern Kentucky is the relatively small legal community which serves the area. With the size of the legal community, most divorce lawyers have had some experience with most other attorneys and significant experience with many of the local attorneys.

The first question I often ask prospective clients is “Has your spouse hired an attorney?” and, if YES, “Who?” I can often predict how difficult your case may be, what the other attorney may be looking for and even how much the divorce may cost based solely on past experiences with opposing counsel.

Many of the regularly practicing family law attorneys in N.Ky. are part of the Academy of Northern Kentucky Collaborative Professionals, LLC. (ANKCP). These are attorneys who have been trained in collaborative law and concentrate much of their practice to divorce and dissolution.

Collaborative divorce is an offshoot of family/divorce law in which the parties sign a collaborative contract which eliminates courts and contested hearings. The parties employ collaborative professionals which generally starts with attorneys, but often develop into financial specialists and/or family specialists.

If you choose to participate in collaborative process, you should consult with a collaboratively trained attorney. Also read on the ANKCP website for more information and benefits about the collaborative law process. For consultation and information in Northern Kentucky or Cincinnati, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email mike@bouldinlawfirm.com.

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Is Marijuana Illegal?

Possession of marijuana is still illegal in Kentucky, even though many other states have legalized possession and authorized it as having medicinal value. Possession of under 8 ounces is a misdemeanor and over that amount may bring felony charges. Also, possession of any amount together with a handgun will likely bring felony charges.

One interesting area will be when a person is prosecuted in Kentucky while holding a valid prescription from another state. I believe the full faith and credit argument would apply. I do not believe, however, that you can possess in Kentucky simply because you can possess in Ohio legally; but that a prescription should hinder the prosecution.

Interestingly, marijuana remains on the books as a federal crime as well. While federal prosecutors have not chosen to prosecute sale or possession, it remains as a crime. I would be very interested in the first prosecution of a state or state-run entity by a federal prosecutor.

Recently, Cincinnati has voted to decriminalize possession of under 100 grams (about 4 ounces) of marijuana. The law remains on the books for the state of Ohio. If you intend to smoke, you would be much safer with a prescription. Additionally, it remains illegal to smoke and drive under Ohio OVI laws.

If you have been charged with possession of any drug, even marijuana, you should hire an attorney. If you pay the fine, you have pled guilty and it will remain on your criminal record. Call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email mike@bouldinlawfirm.com for more information or consultation.

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Is Spousal Support Affected by Fault in Kentucky?

Kentucky statutes do not provide fault as a basis to award or modify spousal maintenance, commonly referred to as spousal support, in Kentucky. That said, appeals decisions do allow for use of fault to be considered by the trial courts.

Statutory Concerns: An affair may be considered by a court to be a “fault” in a divorce proceeding. Kentucky is notoriously considered as a no-fault divorce state, hence why all divorces are legally termed DISSOLUTION. KRS 403.200,. the statute that governs spousal maintenance, does not provide for fault to be considered by a trial court in establishing maintenance. (Maintenance is also commonly referred to as spousal support or alimony.) KRS 403.200 states: Maintenance — Court may grant order for either spouse. (1) In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, or a proceeding for maintenance following dissolution of a marriage by a court which lacked personal jurisdiction over the absent spouse, the court may grant a maintenance order for either spouse only if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance: (a) Lacks sufficient property, including marital property apportioned to him, to provide for his reasonable needs; and (b) Is unable to support himself through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home. (2) The maintenance order shall be in such amounts and for such periods of time as the court deems just, and after considering all relevant factors including: (a) The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to him, and his ability to meet his needs independently, including the extent to which a provision for support of a child living with the party includes a sum for that party as custodian; (b) The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment; (c) The standard of living established during the marriage; (d) The duration of the marriage; (e) The age, and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance; and (f) The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet his needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance. As you can see, nowhere in the statutes does FAULT to be considered.

Case Law: According to a landmark case, Chapman v. Chapman, 498 S.W.2d 134 (Ky. 1973), the judge can only consider adultery when deciding how much alimony to award. The judge can’t, however, prevent a guilty spouse from receiving alimony just because that spouse committed adultery. The only effect of fault (like adultery) on alimony in the Kentucky courts is on the amount awarded. Moreover, Chapman made a finding based on the lack of some suggested language instead of what was actually included in the statutes. As a practical matter, Chapman is an older decision, and the practice of Kentucky’s courts and lawyers has generally been not to raise the issue of fault at all, even in alimony cases. The majority of legal experts agree that “fault, insofar as who caused the breakup of the marriage, has virtually been eliminated in Kentucky.” A more recent decision in Plat v. Platt, 728 S.W.2d 542 (1987) states, “While we accept the holding of Chapman, noting our prior criticism, here is where we draw the line limiting when fault may be considered to the disregard of KRS 403.200. We believe if considering fault in determining the amount of maintenance has any redeeming quality, it is that it may prevent a windfall to the faulty party seeking maintenance.”

For more information or to consult a divorce attorney with 25 years of experience in Northern Kentucky, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email mike@bouldinlawfirm.com.

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Expungement – ReStart Your Life

Your criminal record may be holding you back. Expungement may be the answer to restart your life! Many people do not know how easy it is for a potential employer to look into your criminal background. This may include traffic offenses, misdemeanors, domestic violence and felonies. Fortunately, many of these cases can now be expunged from your record.

Expungement varies from state to state. In Kentucky, any case which is dismissed may be expunged 60 days following the dismissal. This includes EPO, domestic violence allegations, misdemeanors, traffic and felony offenses.

If you have had a felon case proceed through diversion: such as a child support or first time drug possession, you can likely have that expunged after you complete the diversion.

If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor, you will like have to wait 5-7 years before you can have it expunged. The variance is that the 5 year wait only begins after you have completed probation or CD time. Other requirements may include no future offenses and no other offenses within 5 years. DUI cases require a 10 year wait because of the look back period under current DUI laws which enhance penalties.

Only certain felonies are eligible for expungement. Those are typically lower (class D) felonies, all of which are non-violent in nature. Eligible felonies include: child support, PCS and many other drug charges, theft, bad checks, forgery, fraud, and numerous other class D felonies. The process typically takes 30-60 days and is not time intensive for the client.

There is a $40 criminal background check which is required prior to actual filing. The court charges $100 for misdemeanor convictions, $500 for felony convictions and there is no court fee for dismissals and acquittals. Attorney fees typically are $500-1000, depending on the charge. For consultation and representation, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email info@bouldinlawfirm.com.

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