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The FALDP Docket -- Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers Monthly Newsletter
October 16, 2011

Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers

The FALDP Docket

Volume 2; Issue 10
October, 2011


FALDP SECOND ANNUAL CONFERENCE

The Conference was a Success.

The conference, although only three weeks ago, seems like it was last year. Thanks again to all the members who took the time to come out, mix, and mingle. Melisa Thompson of You've Been Served, clarified the procedure surrounding service of process. Julie Jefferson of Freedom Rings told us about her adventures with a Florida Bar UPL investigation. At the end of the day, Ms. Jefferson performed her own parody rendition of Charlie Rich's “No One Knows What Goes On Behind Closed Doors”. The lyrics highlight the Florida Bar's relentless lynching of Florida legal document preparers. The U-Tube version should be ready soon.

New members, Angela Angelovic and Beth Hart, won the “Distance” prize for traveling all the way from Destin; beating out Yamil Fuentes of Apex Legal Solutions in Miami, by at least a hundred miles. We had thought that Dawn Fountain of Classic Legal Help was sure to win, having traveled from Arizona where she has a second business; but, had to leave early due to a family emergency, and was not present to win. The Distance prize was an FALDP Benefit Calendar which was created to raise funds for indigent assistance. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the calendars is set aside to pay legal document preparers to assist people who cannot afford services.

FALDP Benefit Calendars can be purchased for resale and customized with your business name displayed.


Online Course Orientation Webinar

Saturday, OCTOBER 22 @ 11:00 a.m.


Invitations have already gone out for the Webinar which is scheduled for Saturday, October 22 at 11:00. We will be sending out reminders and second invitations. If you are interested in taking any of our online courses, please try to attend. Registration for the current course offerings will open immediately following this Orientation Webinar. The courses that are now being offered are:

Introduction to Florida Legal Document Preparation;

and Preparing Florida Divorce Documents.


The Orientation is not a requirement for course registration, but is highly recommended, particularly for people who are not accustomed to online learning.

Webinar fees are as follows: No charge for Premium Members; $10. for Basic Members; and $10 for Non-Members. More information is available on our site on the Webinar Schedule.


An Introductory course - Introduction to Florida Legal Document Preparation for preparing family law documents in Florida, and Preparing Florida Divorce Documents are ready for release.

These courses are designed for document preparers who are either new to the industry; or for document preparers who want to expand to other focus areas.

We are working on the instructional design for all of the family law courses. There will be a total of six courses available, beginning with these two.

Registration will open immediately after the Orientation Webinar on Saturday, October 22nd. The courses are geared toward legal document preparers who are new to the industry; new to Florida; or legal document preparers who want to expand their knowledge base. For LDP's new to the industry, or new to Florida, the Intro course is a requirement and a prerequisite for enrollment in the Dissolution of Marriage course. If you are interested in registering for these courses,(but are unable to attend the webinar), please contact us at staff@faldp.org .


FALDP Contest - Legal Gobbledeygook


FALDP is having a Legal Gobbledygook Contest. Search the internet for your best example of legal gobbledygook. I found examples of legalese on the Chicago-Kent College of Law site, and posted them on our site as examples of “what not to do”. More contest information, and guidelines are on our site -

Readability v Legalese. Entries should be 1-3 sentences. I won't limit the number of words, because I'm curious about how many words might possibly fit into three sentences.

Entries should be in American English, no UK or Aussie English allowed. Entries should have been written no more than 50 years ago, around 1960 or more recently. (Before that, they just couldn't help themselves, after that, they should know better). Cite a source. No need to go crazy with APA, MLA, Chicago, Blue Book or any other citation method, just send me the url so that I can check to make sure you didn't write it yourself.


Our Growing Library

COMING SOON! The Florida Divorce Self-Help Guide. Until now we have only offered the Simplified Dissolution of Marriage Self-Help Guide. Now in the creation process, and scheduled to be released in November is the definitive self-help guide for preparing Florida divorce documents. This guide will be available as an instant download and as a workbook size paperback.

FALDP has developed two new books which are already available on our site. “Family Adoptions, Second Edition” is an updated version of the original, with new author's comments, new cover art, and a new section about second parent adoption. It is available as an instant download or a softcover printed version. “Fundamentals of Florida Legal Document Preparation” is a brand new publication that focuses on the basics. "Child Support Answer Book" includes information and samples about how to answer a petition for child support - available in print or instant download.

These are all available on our site.

We offer a 50% rebate to members for all FALDP book purchases, whether for personal use as a reference or for re-sale to a customer. This policy will be changing soon, so if you are interested in purchasing any of the ebooks, please do so while the rebate program is in effect.


"Meet the Members" Page - Coming Soon

No Member's Spotlight this Month


Soon we will be building a “Meet the Members” page on our site. The Member's Spotlight interviews will be placed on the site next to your Membership Directory information, a photo of you if you send one, and your business card if you like. One of the suggestions from the “back of the class” at the conference was that we should place members business cards on www.faldp.org . We think that's a great idea, and so have evolved the idea into this plan. This is another way to advertise and promote.

If you would like to volunteer to be the subject of a Member's Spotlight, please let us know. Subjects of the Member Spotlight column are invited to reprint the interview on their site, or use it in any way they see fit. Volunteers? Contact us at staff@faldp.org.


Changes On Our Site


Friends of FALDP and FALDP Friends Directory – This is a new place on our site where your friends, family, fans, associates, and satisfied customers can declare their support for our industry.

We want to show the world that legal document preparers are credible. We want the public to know that we are relied upon by consumers just like them. That legal document preparers fill a need that our customers seek out and appreciate.

By offering advertising to businesses who support our industry, we can show the world that we are not alone. We can show the world that other business people have used our services, and are glad they did.

Visit - Friends of FALDP and Friends Directory

We continue to add pages and update our Member Directory. The map on the Member Directory page is scheduled to be updated again in November. We are adding new members as we go, and believe we are keeping up, but if you have been left out, please let us know.


Why I Became a Legal Document Preparer

Essay Contest


Markene Henry was our first place winner for the essay contest. Her entry has been added to our site. Please read it on our Legal Document Preparation Business page.

The following is the second place entry submitted by Angela Angelovic:

WHY I BECAME A LEGAL DOCUMENT PREPARER


In December of 2010, my husband and I decided to divorce.

Although we weren't especially amicable, I figured we could work everything out on our own, or with the help of a mediator. I traveled to the courthouse and purchased the Pro Se Divorce Packet. After thumbing through the huge stack of papers, I felt immediately overwhelmed. While I considered myself an intelligent person, this was too much for my present state of mind. I googled "divorce mediation" for the largest city in my immediate area, and attorney's websites were the only ones that came up. The first attorney's site said that they offered mediation, so I called and scheduled a consultation. The attorney said everyone goes to court appointed mediation, and that you still had to hire an attorney to represent you. In my ignorance, I paid the $2500 retainer and rushed home to fill out the paperwork and make copies of all the documents the attorney requested. After my husband consulted with an attorney, the two of us agreed on the terms of our marital settlement agreement, including alimony, child support, our asset and liability distribution, and a parenting plan. I researched information online, and even used some of the forms I got from the courthouse. I remember working on the paperwork for hours, thinking, "Geez, my attorney should be paying ME!" I returned all the paperwork to my attorney and waited. 

January came and went. Nothing. February, still nothing. I called and left messages several times, asking if my attorney needed more information to file. In March, I went in to see him, and he typed information into his computer that I had given him months ago...while billing me $250 an hour for it!

On April 5, 2011, our case was filed, and our divorce was final 13 days later. I received a copy of our final judgment, and noticed several pages of our Asset and Liability Addendum were missing, including the pages that specified how $300,000 in retirement accounts were to be distributed. I called the paralegal, and she managed to get an amended final judgment a month later.

  My ex-husband and I soon discovered that QDRO's were required to transfer retirement funds, which hadn’t been mentioned by my attorney. As of September, 2011, my ex-husband and I are still trying to distribute assets we had agreed on nine months ago. During this year, two of my friends decided to divorce. I had become so familiar with the process and the forms, that I offered to help them avoid the expense, time and hassle of attorneys by helping them represent themselves. Before long, I realized I might be able to offer this service to the public and make a living at it. While it's not a field I would have thought of for myself in the past, I have become passionate about it. I'm looking forward to helping others have a simpler, more streamlined, less stressful divorce than my own. 


FALDP Contact Information:
Main number – (941)237-0951
Email – staff@faldp.org
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