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Michael Jason Lawrence
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Michael Lawrence’s Answers

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  • Is it wrongful termination if i was fired for flying a confederate flag on my personal vehicle?

    was not asked to take it down, never had write ups. have recording admitting i was fired because of the flag. the company also denied my unemployment. i had worked for this company for a year.

    Michael’s Answer

    Kentucky is an employment at will state. Generally that means that an employer can fire an employee for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all. There are some exceptions. An employer cannot fire an employee for being a member of a protected class (race, religion, age, etc.). An employer cannot fire an employee for "whistle blowing" if the employee followed certain protocols and reported the issue to certain governmental agencies. An employer cannot fire an employee in violation of the Americans with disabilities act or other Federal acts. There are other exceptions but those are the most common.

    The first amendment right of free speech prevents the government from limiting a persons speech. It does not apply to private persons or companies. For example, a person or private company can generally tell guests on their property that if they say or do certain things, they will have to leave (i.e. most stores/ restaurants will kick a person out for being dressed inappropriately or yelling obscenities and that is legal). So, a Kentucky private employer is generally free to fire an employee over their speech or actions.

    All that being said, if an employer fires an employee for a reason other than "misconduct" the employee is entitled to receive unemployment benefits. "Misconduct" for the purpose of unemployment benefits has been defined by Kentucky case law. If you google 290 SW3d 81, you should find the case of Holbrook v Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Commission. This case has a good discussion of what actions do and do not qualify as "misconduct". Many employers will deny the benefits and the employee will have to file an appeal of the denial. There is only a short time to file the appeal so do not delay. Once a denial is appealed a hearing will be scheduled. If you lose the hearing it is more expensive and difficult to appeal the hearing result. For this reason I suggest you consult with an attorney and find someone you are comfortable with to file your initial appeal and represent you at the hearing.

    Best of luck.

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  • Is this legal ?? I thought not ?

    I applied for this job I found on indeed.com, now I know we ex felons barely have a chance beside flipping burgers or minimum wage type warehouse work, etc.. But even if we apply for jobs tell them we have a felony then they run a background check...

    Michael’s Answer

    I was recently at a seminar where this was a topic. The presenter was another attorney out of Louisville, Kentucky. His name is Joseph Bilby and he is with the firm of Stoll Kennon and Ogden. I had never met him before the seminar and I have not spoke with him since but he seemed extremely knowledgeable and was was updating all the attorneys in attendance on the recent changes and trends in the law. I could give you an answer but he could probably give you a better answer. My advice is to look him up and give him a call. Best of luck.

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  • Am I able to get an increase in child support if I'm going back to school?

    I am not longer employed but am starting nursing school July 6th. Will I be able to ask for an increase in child support while I'm in school?

    Michael’s Answer

    Generally in Kentucky when a parent goes back to school, the fact that they are going back to school does not warrant a modification of child support. In Kentucky child support is computed using a formula. That formula takes into account four numbers; both parents monthly income, the child care costs, and the child's health insurance costs. The Kentucky child support formula does not consider the parents bills or expenses.

    If a parent is capable of making more income than they currently make, the Court may use the amount they are capable of making when computing the formula. This often occurs where a person leaves there job or takes a lower paying job. In the case of a parent going back to school, the formula does not consider school costs (expenses) and if a parent works less because they are in school the Court often uses the income they could be making if they were working full time. For this reason, there is often no change in the child support amount. I have heard a Judge explain this as, "the other parent is supposed to be providing support for the child, and nothing has changed for the child. The other parent is not supposed to be paying for [in that case the father] to go back to school."

    One way this situation does effect child support is when the child care changes. If going back to school causes the child to need additional child care, and that child care comes at an additional cost, it likely will effect the child support (because child care costs is one of the numbers in the formula. If the child care costs increase because you are in school the child support payments would generally increase as well. You would need to run the child support calculation to see how much the payments would increase. It is usually close to the percentage of the other parents income. For example if the parents have equal monthly income, the other parents child support would usually increase by about 50% of the additional cost of child care; but if the other parents income was 75% of the parents combined income, the other parents child support would generally increase by 75% of the additional cost of child care. That is only an estimate and you should run the formula to be sure.

    The last thing to remember about child support is when it can be modified. If the current child support order has been in effect for more than 2 years either party can seek to modify the order, up or down. If the current child support order has been in effect less than 2 years the party seeking the modification will generally have to show that there should be at least a 15% change in the child support amount. This is to prevent people from running back to court every paycheck when they got more or less overtime than the week before. You should run a child support calculation and than based on the numbers decide if it is worth seeking a modification. Best of luck.

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  • Are there exceptions to being required to attend Family In Transition classes when in the best interest of the child to not go?

    My estranged wife and I are getting divorced after not seeing each other for years and I have been told it is required for us and our daughter to attend Family in Transition classes to get divorced. However, my daughter knows my wife's boyfriend a...

    Michael’s Answer

    Yes, it is possible. In my experience most judges are reluctant to deviate from their standard orders so I strongly recommend you retain an attorney to assist you. Any time you request the Court to deviate from its standard practice you are best served to have an attorney that regularly practices in that courtroom and is familiar with the Judge. Each Judge has different tendencies and an attorney that is familiar with your Judge may be in a better position to draft your motion and present it to the Court. While that may be the only part of the divorce proceeding that you need assistance with you will almost certainly need an attorney for your part in the termination / adoption proceeding. There are many family law attorneys that have experience in both types of cases. Many attorneys do not charge for initial consultations so it is to your benefit to call two or three and find someone that you feel comfortable with. Best of luck.

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  • Can the mother of my child move to another state and take him with her. I play an active role in his life and current on suppor

    She's planning to move to Florida for a boyfriend and job. She has lied to me about the whole thing.

    Michael’s Answer

    Under the Kentucky family court rules of procedure and practice if a parent wishes to relocate with a child and it will effect the other parents visitation schedule, there has to be an agreed order filed with the court OR the moving parent is supposed to file a notice with the court so you have an opportunity to object to the move. However, several people are unaware of this law and/or ignore it. Once a child is moved it is much harder to deal with. The best advice is to file a motion with the court to prevent the relocation before she moves. There are several attorneys in Jefferson County that handle relocation cases regularly and are familiar with the local judges tendencies. Best of luck.

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  • Is there such thing as a divorce through a large period of separation?

    My "wife" and I have been separated by a Temporary Protection Order ordered by the courts from a domestic dispute in which she was the main aggressor; since Jan. 2009. There has been minimal contact between us, and we've each moved on and have bee...

    Michael’s Answer

    Kentucky does not recognize a divorce without a court entered divorce decree. Based on the length of time you have been apart I would assume you could have an uncontested divorce. If you think a divorce is going to take place at some point, my advice is to be proactive. Divorce law is different in each state. It may make a very serious difference if the divorce takes place in Kentucky or Illinois. You should speak with an attorney in each state and decide where it is best to file. Then you file where it is best for you. If the laws are similar, it would probably be more convenient to file in your home state. Best of luck.

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  • Can you petition a court to get an EPO dropped or does the person who filed for the EPO have to petition the court?

    Friend of mine was accused of domestic violence by his ex girlfriend. Charges were dropped for insufficient evidence (had video and audio evidence showing she was the aggressor) so the DA dropped the charges. The EPO still stands regardless of tha...

    Michael’s Answer

    I agree with Mr. George. I would add that either party may make a motion to terminate the domestic violence order early. However, there are only certain circumstances where this motion may be successful. My experience has been that it is often difficult for the party the Order was entered against to have it terminated early if the other party objects. That being said, I have seen and personally filed motions to terminate DVO's early, with success, when the circumstances and facts were favorable. It is worth meeting with an attorney and having the specific facts of your case reviewed. Best of luck.

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  • If I sign a non compete agreement and the company is sold am I still under the same contract with the new company?

    Help!

    Michael’s Answer

    If the company is sold there is a new owner, not a new company. Therefore, your non-compete with the company will generally still be enforceable.

    There are several things that need to be reviewed. First, as the other attorneys have stated, the language of your non-compete may have a provision dealing with changes in ownership. Second, in Kentucky non-compete clauses have to be reasonable. In Kentucky, non-competes are often written so that if a court finds the clause is unreasonable (possibly because the duration is too long or it covers too large of a geographic area) the Court has to modify it, not void it. In my experience it is much more common to have the clause reduced than it is to have it completely voided. This means it is less likely that you will be able to break your non-compete simply because it is unreasonable but it is still worth looking into. Lastly, in Kentucky you have to have consideration for the non-compete. A non-compete in your original employment contract has consideration. A non-compete you had to sign after you were already working with the company may not have consideration. That is a mistake I see many companies making that allows the employees out of the non-competes. We would need to look at the timing and circumstances of when the non-compete was signed.

    There are several other considerations but those are, in my opinion, the three most common. I would advise you to contact an attorney, with experience in business and employment law, to review your contract and discuss your options. Best of luck.

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  • Is there a corporate structure that can receive income & spread the taxation of it over several years (as pass thru to owners)?

    Current entity is a KY LLC. Hoping to liquidate significant business assets from the LLC this year and just hoping to spread out that taxable event over several years. Not trying to evade taxes, just trying to not have to take it all in one year....

    Michael’s Answer

    I agree with the answers above. There is likely a way to accomplish your goal, but the options you have to accomplish it will differ depending on the type of sale you are planning.

    Selling assets is very different than selling an entire company. If you are selling assets and reinvesting the money, you may not need to restructure your company at all. You should contact a CPA and they can likely help you. It will save you time and money. If you are selling assets and wanting to pay the owners you may have to retain an attorney.

    If you are selling the company you should definitely retain an attorney. They should be able to help you with the contracts, the closing, and structuring the sale. Selling the company name and all of the assets to a Buyer is very different than selling a 100% of the stock to a Buyer. In both cases the Seller sells the entire company and Buyer purchases it. However, the tax implications are NOT the same and structuring the sale appropriately can save business owners substantial money.

    There are several attorneys in town that handle Business and Corporate law. Many offer free consultations. I suggest you sit down with one or two and go over the details of your transaction. This way you can get advice and estimates from one or more attorneys based on your specific situation. Best of luck.

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  • No title search done. Therefore, can I sue a seller who sold land to me and later found a Lien on my land?

    I paid cash for land from a friend/well known contractor, Due to trusting this person, I didn't do a title search. After I started building on the land, my bank found a lien on the land and I couldn't get my construction loan until the lien was c...

    Michael’s Answer

    You need to bring a copy of the written contract and the deed to an attorney to review. You may have recourse, but you may not. If you accept the check you may forfeit your ability to pursue any further claims. The bottom line is without reviewing the documents and the letter from his attorney we are guessing. You should consult with an attorney immediately so you know whether or not you should deposit the check. Many attorney do not charge for initial consultations so you may be able to have the documents reviewed free of charge.

    As a last note, you probably cannot file this in small claims. The limit on small claims is $2,500. The limit on District court is up to $4,999.99. Cases involving $5,000 and above are circuit court cases, which you generally want to retain an attorney to assist you with.

    Best of luck.

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