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The FALDP Docket -- Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers Monthly Newsletter
November 17, 2014
Members & Friends:

Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers

The FALDP Docket

Volume 04; Issue 11
November 2014


Members and Friends


This free newsletter is published every month for the benefit of FALDP members, legal document preparers, and friends.


Announcements


New Courses Coming Soon.


Family Adoptions - How to prepare documents for Florida family adoptions, including stepparent adoptions, grandparent adoptions, and other relative adoptions. By definition, a Florida family adoption is an adoption by a relative within three steps of consanguinity - blood relation. This course will include:

  • Necessary forms, with line by line explanation.
  • E-book download, Florida Family Adoptions
  • Step by step instructions as to procedure
  • Information about second parent adoptions in Florida (gay adoption)

    • Tuition - $345.

      Notary Signing Agent - There is more to it than you might realize. Notary signing agents meet with consumers who are refinancing a mortgage to notarize the documents and return them to the title company. Becoming a Florida notary is the first step. This course will include:

    • Sample forms with instructions
    • Information about state and federal compliance rules and laws
    • One on one mentoring as an add-on to the course

      Tuition - $129; Mentoring - $150
      Mentoring will help you discover what to do with your newly learned information; and how to earn money.

      Ready for Enrollment

      RELEASED - READY FOR ENROLLMENT

      Summary Administration of Estate - Probate for small estates. By definition a small estate in Florida is valued at less than $75,000. excluding homesteaded property. These are virtual Rubik's Cubes that require logic and persistence to work through. This course includes:

    • Necessary forms with line by line explanations
    • Step by step instructions as to procedure
    • Information about Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration


      • 299.00


        FALDP Ambassadors


        If you volunteered to be an FALDP Ambassador please send in the information we need to create your brochure. We're sending out Ambassador Kits as we receive your information. So far, Debra Fairchild-Turner, Ken Rodman, and Brandi McKenzie have received their Ambassador Kits. Christine Marinkovich's is almost ready to go out. Once we reach a critical mass, and send out a few more kits, we'll schedule a conference call so that we can compare notes.

        Meantime, lay the groundwork for your future success. I have sent a letter about our Ambassador Program, offering our services, to Jacksonville Area Legal Aid Association (JALA). James Kowalski, Jr., the Executive Director sent FALDP a letter of thanks for our contribution to their association after the conference. Judge Alexander declined to accept his honorarium, and instructed us to donate it to JALA, and we matched it. If you're interested please submit your application so that we can include you. The FALDP Ambassador Program is a community outreach in which members reach out through their contacts to promote FALDP alongside their business.


        Tis the Season!

        Family law document preparers -- get ready. This time of year has its unique flavor for our business. Expect divorce filings to fall, but disputes over time-sharing and child support may increase. People traditionally don't rock the boat during the holidays as far as initiating divorce, they wait until the holidays are over - and they have their income tax refunds - to make a move. However, the disputes over who had the kids or who gets the kids over the holidays starts right around Thanksgiving.

        For bankruptcy petition preparers if 2013 was any indication, filings will fall in December and pick up in January. Last January there were 8259 Chapter 7 personal bankruptcies filed throughout the state; and in December 7125.

        UPL and Indirect Contempt

        Allegations of unauthorized practice of law are often the basis for a charge of indirect contempt of court. If you've ever wondered exactly what that means, the following statutes and case law may help.

        Indirect contempt occurs “not in the presence of a court or of a judge acting judicially, but at a distance under circumstances that reasonably tend to degrade the court or the judge as a judicial officer, or to obstruct, interrupt, prevent, or embarrass the administration of justice by the court or judge.”  Forbes v. State, 933 So. 2d 706, 711 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006). Thus, where the offending conduct takes place outside the presence of the court, any contempt at issue would be indirect. Indirect criminal contempt furthermore requires a judgment of guilt that recites the facts constituting the contempt. Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.840(f); See also Hagerman v. Hagerman, 751 So. 2d 152 (Fla. 2d DCA 2000) (reversing order that failed to recite factual basis for contempt); See also Price v. Hannahs, 954 So. 2d 97, 100 (Fla. 2d DCA 2007).

        Contempt, whether direct or indirect can be civil or criminal. Incarceration for civil contempt is meant to be coercive; while incarceration for criminal contempt is meant to be punitive. Incarceration for willfully failing to pay child support is a civil sanction, so coercive. The court is attempting to coerce the payor into paying his or her child support, not necessarily punish. In that circumstance, the contemnor has the key to the jail, all he has to do is pay.

        Criminal contempt is punitive. Direct criminal contempt occurs when someone defies the court in the presence of the judge. Cases like that of a clueless inmate in Ft. Lauderdale in June, where he cursed at the judge 20 times in a matter of minutes, and won himself 364 days in county. A 364 day sentence is known to inmates as 11/29, because it is just one day short of a year sentence and so must be served in county jail not in a state prison. Conditions in county are usually worse.

        Indirect criminal contempt occurs outside of the courtroom and is open defiance and refusal to obey a court order or makes out-of-court statements and does acts related to the refusal to obey the court's order that insult the court's authority over that person. The judge can order that person jailed or fined or both for this kind of contempt of court.

        Letters to document preparers alleging the unauthorized practice of law, always begin "you may be engaging in the unauthorized practice of law." If you receive such a letter, please contact us. We are collecting them. You have the right to see and answer any UPL complaint against you. Frequently, there is not a complaint from a consumer at all, the UPL committee has found something in your advertising or on your site that they think may mean that you may be engaging in UPL.

        This information is meant to educate and inform and not in any way to intimidate. The rules surrounding the unauthorized practice of law are murky at best. I consider unfounded allegations of the unauthorized practice of law an occupational hazard. If you are a roofer -- don't fall off the roof. Since you're a document preparer - be aware of the murky netherworld of unauthorized practice of law. After all, if there is no definition for the practice of law, how then, can anyone define the unauthorized?


        Two New FALDP Pages

        We've created two new pages on our site. One is "Compliance"; the other is "Recognition". The Compliance page is in no way meant to invite harassment to our members. Rather it is to show, that FALDP is able and willing to monitor our own. Recognition is for you to receive the kudos you deserve. Feel free to ask your satisfied customers to fill out the recognition form or post a comment in your behalf.

        Weddings!

        Our own Judith Hinkle of Highlands County is going to be married on November 22. Judith has been an FALDP member since 2011. And, Gigi King of Hillsborough County married her fiance and business partner, Wilder Beaucejour on October 3. There must be something in the water! Congratulations!

        Reminders ...




        Google Map - We have rebuilt the Google Map on the Member's Directory. The information for the Google Map should include your business name, phone, and email; a scan of your business card (if available), your logo, and a link to your website.

        Please check your balloon and make sure all the information is correct. Julian, our own Gorilla Marketer, is the map builder. Please contact him via phone or email for corrections. Please take special note of the balloon for DivorceDocs.com - we added Divorce Docs video to show you what we can do. Soon, we will be offering this to other members as an added advertising feature on our site. We can include YouTube Video and slide shows on our google map. There will be a small set up fee to embed your code if you have already created your own video or slide show. We can also create a slide show for you with the photos you provide. Members Photo Gallery is a work in progress on the Membership Directory. If your picture isn't there or if you have an updated photo, please send it. A passport style portrait is best, but we can crop if you need us to. Member's photos will be linked to the member's mini-page on our site.

        Favorite Quote - Do you have a favorite quote that sums up you or your philosophy? Or a quote that you like for its humor, wisdom, or insight? Send us your favorite quote and we'll add it under your picture on our site in the Member's Photo Gallery. And remember ...


        Turn Key Business Bundles


        Can't find a job? Create one. America was founded by small business owners. Small businesses continue to dominate.

        We now offer three different Turn Key Business bundles. Any of them is still only $499. And each of them offers slightly different business tools.

        Turn Key Classic
        The Turn Key Class is our tried and true bundle of business services and products to help you get started in your own document preparation business. This business bundle is a great fit for document preparers with limited experience who need help with business basics, training, and a professional website.
        Turn Key Basic

        The Turn Key Basic Bundle is geared towards document preparers who have some document preparation experience as a paralegal or academic training. The Basic Bundle focuses on the business side of document preparation.
        Turn Key Pro

        The Turn Key Pro Business bundle helps you take your business to the next level. We include two courses so that document preparers can expand services and create new income streams.

        staff@faldp.org or 800-515-0496


        Ask the Members


        We invite members, document preparers, and friends to answer the questions posted on our "Ask the Members" page. Please answer the question in a way that might provide valuable information to whomever is looking for similar information. Include a source for your information, such as a case or statute. Make sure that your answers are more than one line. A paragraph of at least three sentences is good. And, members are invited to include their contact information and website. If you have answered questions that were never posted, it may be because your answer was too short or did not include a source for your information.

        Asked and Answered


        We created a series of Asked and Answered pages which organize the consumer questions and answers by topic. There are hundreds of questions which have been asked and answered in the past four years, and this is our attempt to make the information more accessible for consumers. Too much information or disorganized information is almost as bad as no information.

        Member's Announcements & Contributions


        We accept member's announcements and appreciate your contributions. If you have an announcement about your business, an expansion of services, moving your offices, or winning awards, please send us the information and we'll include it in our newsletter. Your announcement needs to be pertinent to your business, we are unable to include announcements about other trade associations, clubs or groups.

        If you would like to write an article, editorial, opinion piece, or web page please let us know. We are always in need of fresh information and insights.


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        FALDP Contact Information:
        Main number – (941)237-0951
        Toll free - (800)515-0496
        Email – staff@faldp.org

        PLEASE LINK YOUR SITE TO WWW.FALDP.ORG
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