A client called last week and wanted help. The client had filed a Petition for a Name Change due to sex reassignment medical procedures and asked me how to get the sex changed on the birth certificate in addition to the name change. My response was haven’t got the foggiest idea, but I will sort it out. The court date was two days away. This person didn’t want the complications of living as one sex and having a birth certificate specify a different sex. The client wanted my help to make things go smoothly. I said yes I would help and did my research. It turned out to be simpler than I thought.
In Nevada there is a code section which provides for the Department of Vital Statistics changing the sex on a birth certificate if a court orders it. The DMV has a form to change the sex on your driver’s license you need is a letter from the appropriate doctor. The State Department has a form so that the sex on your passport matches your sex, you need a supporting letter from the appropriate doctor.
Long story short, In the process of physically changing your sex you need to get your forms of identification changed also.
I was recently called for jury duty and had mixed emotions. As the judge said it is our civic duty to serve as jurors and he also recognized that it is an inconvenience. Boy is it an inconvenience.
The first day I went down and sat in the big room waiting to be sent to a court room. However, each person in the group I was assigned to was given a questionnaire to fill out and told to return the next week. The group I was in was a pool of jurors intended to hear a murder trial. The questionnaire was designed to elicit our feelings about various actors in the justice system, such as the police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, etc. It also asked about our experiences with drug users and our attitudes about them. When we returned the next week, we were sent to the court room for Voir Dire, where the attorneys ask question of potential jurors to determine who they want on their jury. This is a very interesting process. Attorneys are interested in potential learning jurors’ experiences and attitudes about certain things that are involved in the case. An attorney can educate potential jurors about a case just by what questions are asked and how they are asked. I enjoyed watching the attorneys “educate” the potential jurors in their voir dire. Ultimately I was not selected. I was not told why and I didn’t ask. There is a popular myth that certain professions, including lawyers, are exempt from juror duty. While that may have been true at one point in time it is not longer true. I was talking with court staff and learned that Judge Villani had served on a jury.
During the jury selection process we were repeatedly told not to do any independent investigation about the case. We were given the name of the Defendant and could have googled it. After being cut from the jury, I did do some investigation into the case, read newspaper accounts and the case file that is available to the public. Based on that investigation I formed an opinions about the guilt of the Defendant. I will follow the case in the news to see what the jury decided.
If you get the opportunity to serve on a jury do it. My mother has done so several times and afterwards asked me all sorts of questions.
Many people use Pay on Death or In Trust For designations to pass assets such as bank accounts, money market accounts, etc., to their heirs outside of probate. This is one way to do so, however, like any other strategy you need to know the ins and outs of doing so.
- Tell your heirs about their status on your accounts and what steps they need to take on your death to access the accounts. The institutions will not know that you have passed and will give the money in your accounts to the state after there has been no activity for a period of time. You don’t want that to happen.
- Know how the account will be divided if you have multiple heirs. Some institutions will equally divide the account between the heirs and others follow a first come first served policy. Know what the institution’s policies in this regard are so that your wishes are followed.
- Keep track of your heirs and make the appropriate changes on your accounts if they die before you do. Some institutions have procedures in place so that the account will go to the estate of the heir if the heir dies before the account holder. Others want to avoid the hassle and if the named heir can’t claim the account, the institution will turn the account over to the State after a period of inactivity.
Pay on Death and In Trust For are good tools to pass assets outside of probate. Like any tool, you need to know how to use it properly.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
In the last few days a I have been asked about the legal ramifications of a child conceived during a sexual assault.
Abortion and adoption are legal options that the woman has. If she decides to keep the child the law is on her side. Under Nevada law a person who is convicted of a sexual assault has no visitation rights to the child that was conceived during the sexual assault. He does, however, have the right, rather the obligation, to pay child support. The sticking point here is the need for a conviction. Many times the person who committed the sexual assault is not convicted. However, are ways around the conviction requirement. A man can argue that he was never convicted of sexual assault and therefore it never happened. Nice try no cigar. Anyone who has committed a sexual assault is not a nice person and likely has convictions in their history, such as assault, domestic violence, drug or alcohol use and may not have a stable living situation. All of this can be used against him to prevent visitation. Also, there may be other ways to convince the man to not push for visitation. Remember the man’s goal is not to be a father to the child but rather to exercise control over the woman. Money can motivate these men sometimes. I have seen men agree to or not challenge a Petition to Terminate Parental Rights knowing that they would be off the hook for child support.
Sexual assault or rape is not about sex it is about power. The only way to deal with people like this is from a position of strength and the victims of sexual assault have more strength than they realize. At Harris, Yug & Ohlinger we fight to protect those who need help.
In many families there is a close bond between the step parent and step child. Accepted conventional wisdom has it that once the marriage ends the relationship between the step parent and step child ends automatically. That doesn’t have to be the case. There are laws on the books for people other than parents to have court ordered visitation with children. Generally this is considered for grandparents but these laws can also be used by siblings and former step parents to get visitation with the children. In CPS cases, the adoption orders will often include language to ensure that siblings are able to have visitation until the youngest child becomes an adult.
At Harris, Yug & Ohlinger I have been involved in cases where someone other than the parent wants visitation with children. I have represented the parent who did not want the visitation to occur and the child who wants the visitation to occur.
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