Kentucky Law Blog

Understanding burden of proof

Those who have been charged with crimes in Fort Mitchell could be in for a harrowing experience if and when their cases go to trial. Their fears may be founded in the presumption that if one is arrested and charged with a crime, he or she most likely did what authorities are accusing him or her of. Most people have likely heard the term "innocent until proven guilty," yet few may understand what it truly means in a legal context. Its application is related to the concept of burden of proof

Burden of proof describes the responsibility one side in a dispute has of proving a point. For example, some may believe that all that a prosecuting attorney must do is make the jury hearing a criminal case believe that a defendant may have committed a crime based off evidential elements. Information shared by the Cornell Law School defines such scenarios as a "preponderance of evidence." In civil cases, one side need only meet this mark in order secure a favorable ruling. Criminal cases, however, are held to a higher standard. 

What can be done to improve eyewitness identification?

Eyewitness have long been relied upon to identify perpetrators. However, they have also been under scrutiny for being unreliable. In Kentucky, you may find yourself accused of a crime simply because someone else said they saw you do it. If you even look similar to the actual person who committed the crime, you could be in trouble. However, there have been studies recently to suggest there are things that can be done by law enforcement to minimize the risk of erroneous eyewitness identification.

The National Center for State Courts outlines what law enforcement should do to avoid issues that could lead to your misidentification by an eyewitness as someone who committed a crime. This starts at the crime scene. If law enforcement on the scene suspects you of committing the crime, they may put you in handcuffs and even sit you in the back of a cruiser. Then, they may bring over witnesses and ask if you are indeed the perpetrator. This has a psychological effect on these witnesses because seeing you in handcuffs and essentially under arrest may lead them to believe you did it.

Can polygraph test results be used in your favor?

Most readers would agree that family life, in general, can get very messy at times. In fact, the face of family life in America has vastly changed through recent decades. It's no longer a given that households contain married mothers and fathers, with a mother staying home to raise children and a father going out to work every day. You might live in a single-parent home or one you share with your child's other parent while unmarried.

What poses a problem for your family may be completely irrelevant to another. For most families, however, unresolved problems can turn into a disaster, especially if those involved happen to be navigating child custody or some other type of family law proceedings. If you're preparing to face off in court regarding a child custody situation, or your child's other parent has accused you of domestic violence, there may come a time when you are asked to take a test to see if you're telling the truth.

Making the most of your divorce mediation?

If you and your spouse have decided that divorce is the best option to solve relationship conflict, you may have already considered mediation. With an objective point-of-view intervening in important decisions and offering a neutral perspective, you and your spouse may experience less conflict and a more effective outcome when important choices need to be made. At Gatlin Voelker, PLLC, we have helped many Kentucky couples work through the intricacies of divorce.

Your approach to mediation and the attitude you have can significantly affect how much you get out of deliberations. According to the Huffington Post, there are steps you can take to get the best results from divorce mediation. These include the following:

What is drug court?

In Kentucky, if you are charged with a drug-related crime, you may have the option to attend Drug Court. At Gatlin Voelker PLLC, we often work with people who are going through Drug Court. Not everyone will get this option, but if you do, it is something to take seriously because of the many benefits it can offer you.

According to the Kentucky Court of Justice, Drug Court is set up as an alternative option to going to jail for drug charges. The Department of Specialty Courts at the Administrative Office of the Courts runs this program.​​ Those chosen are seen as people who are capable and willing to commit to rehabilitation. The judge oversees you as you go through a set substance abuse program and process.

Making your divorce as amicable as possible

If you and your spouse have decided to divorce, you may have started to think about what can be done to keep the process drama-free and efficient. One of the many things you and your spouse can do is to maintain an objective attitude and take proactive steps to keep relationships amicable. At Gatlin Voelker, PLLC, we have helped many Kentucky couples through divorce proceedings.   

The Huffington Post suggests multiple ways in which you and your spouse can avoid the often-toxic contention in many divorces that leads to extensive legal battles. Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Be realistic: Often, it can be easy to get caught up in the small everyday hurdles that occur during divorce. However, do your best to remain realistic and to envision the big picture. Keeping things in perspective and staying focused on your desired end-result can allow you to keep your efforts streamlined.
  • Be wise: Divorce is undoubtfully stressful and you may find yourself wanting to fight your spouse on everything. However, be careful about choosing your battles and do not allow the little things to become bigger problems than they have to be.
  • Ask for help: There is nothing wrong with seeking the support and strength of people in your life. Family, friends and even coworkers can provide support and encouragement that may give you the inspiration and strength you need to maintain a positive attitude.
  • Consider mediation: Mediation is a valuable resource to use to maintain an amicable relationship with your spouse. Professional intervention can help both you and your spouse to see things from the other person’s view and to reach solutions that benefit both parties.

Business as your most valuable marital asset?

Building up a successful business is a difficult task. If you are married, it can put a lot of strain on your relationship, as the hours and money involved are often substantial. However, when things are going well, it can grant financial freedom and a sense of accomplishment. If your spouse took any part in the building up of your company, your business may be the most valuable marital asset you share and could be subject to division if you end up getting a divorce.

Equitable distribution law may require a significant change in the structure of a business following divorce. This uncomfortable truth is one that some business owners may not consider when their full focus is on getting their businesses up and running. 

What mistakes should I avoid with co-parenting?

Many separating couples who have children together in Kentucky believe the hardest part of their separations is moving on. Even though their relationships with each other did not work out, they still have a commitment to their kids. Co-parenting is not always the easiest thing for many parents to do. But it is necessary for their kids to have the parental structure and support they need. 

For many parents, it is a learn-as-you-go process. You may initially experience a bit of trial and error with your former spouse. However, you can improve your chances of success by considering the following common co-parenting mistakes. 

What you should know when preparing to adopt a child

There is little else you can do that is as selfless as choosing to adopt a child. Preparing for an adoption requires significant time and thought to determine a timeline and approach that will be beneficial for yourself and the child. At Gatlin Voelker, PLLC, we have helped many families navigate the complicated process of adopting a child.

In an article published by parents.com, you can learn about several things you should know as you begin the adoption process. These include the following:

  • Celebrations will be different: While you may have an idea of typical holiday celebrations, it is important to recognize that certain festivities may be different with an adopted child. For example, you may wish to celebrate your child’s birthday as well as the day he or she was adopted.
  • Parenting classes are helpful: Do not be deterred by the thought of attending a parenting class. These types of instructional settings can help you prepare to raise a child and provide for him or her in an effective manner. With some education, you may feel more confident as you enter this exciting new phase of parenthood.
  • Your child is part of the family: Once you bring your child home for the first time, you may quickly forget what it was like to live without him or her. Accepting your child as part of your family and acknowledging his or her growth is easily the most rewarding part of your adoption journey.
  • Questions will be constant: It is important to remember that people often ask a lot of questions about adoption. Sometimes, these questions may seem inconsiderate or insensitive. In these situations, try to remain objective and understand that many people may not fully understand your situation and do not mean to hurt you or your child’s feelings.

Property division and bank accounts

During a Kentucky divorce, one of the main points of contention is finances. If the courts must step in to allocate assets, bank accounts will be taken into consideration. The court, according to Zacks, will look at when the account originated and the details of the account to determine if it will become marital property to be split between both people.

In general, if the account was opened after the marriage, if both parties contributed to it or if deposits were made during the marriage by either person, it is considered marital property and will be treated as other assets that are being divided up between the couple. Definitely, any account in both names will be split.

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