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The FALDP Docket, Issue #003 -- Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers e-zine newsletter.
August 15, 2010


The FALDP Docket

Volume 1; Issue 3
August, 2010


CONFERENCE UPDATE - IT’S A GO!

Thank you for your responses. We received enough positive feedback to go forward with this event. We have scaled it back slightly, and lowered the price.

You’re Invited!
to the First Annual FALDP
Convention and Seminar

Saturday - October 9 - 10:00 am -5 pm
Daytona Beach, Florida

We’re planning to have educational seminars, Hands on workshops, and Guest speakers!

Admission for all the all day event is only $75.00 Per Basic Member and will automatically upgrade you to Premium Membership

OR

Only $50. Per Premium Member

OR

Members who are willing and able to present and share their knowledge are invited to attend for free! Contact Ken or Ruth with an outline in advance - content subject to approval.

Members are invited to bring along a guest at no extra charge.

We will be holding this event in one of the many Daytona Beach beachfront hotels.

More convention and seminar details to follow. Look for more information in your email box and on our site.

For those of you unfamiliar with Daytona Beach, rest assured, there are many affordable hotel rooms. Daytona Beach is an event town, and so has enough hotel rooms to accommodate the crowds for Nascar races and Bikeweeks. But when there is no event going on, many of those rooms sit empty.

We considered picking a hotel and negotiating a rate for our event, but decided it is more efficient, and likely more cost effective to let each of you pick your own hotel and do your own negotiating.

We plan to have a get together on Friday night, October 8, tentatively set upstairs at the world famous Ocean Deck. Then the conference all day Saturday.


ANNOUNCEMENTS

Our second FALDP publication is now available - Modifying Child Support in Florida
Retail price - $27.00 ea.
Your price - $12.00 ea.

Preview on LuLu

A step by step guide to modifying child support in Florida. All the major forms explained in plain English. Filing procedure, glossary of terms, and all the required and supporting forms are included.

Marketing Tip - Consider offering a rebate or discount on document preparation for customers that buy the book. Some will be able to complete the forms on their own once they’ve read the instructions for the instructions. Others will still require assistance.


This Savage Economy

No one can argue that these are the worst economic times in recent history. Never since the Great Depression has the unemployment rate been so stubbornly high for so long. Never since the Great Depression has the home foreclosure rate been so staggering and persistent.

I have two points to make:

1. The United States economy was built by small businesses. Florida legal document preparers are typically either small business owners with one or two employees; or self-employed individuals. By continuing to build your businesses you are doing your part to put our economy to rights. Be proud.

2. Remember that many of your customers are struggling. Suggest that they apply for civil indigent status when filing their court forms. Many people are surprised to find that they qualify for civil indigent status even though they are able to keep food on the table and gas in the car.


Web Reviews

Crisis in Family Court aired August 11, 2010. Posted on the website:

No one wants to wind up in family court, but with over 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce, it’s a familiar place for thousands of parents. Dr. Phil shines a light on the American family court system and how often it fails its citizens.

I happened to watch this on TV and was impressed. I thought it was on point for many of my customers and sounded all too familiar.

The examples on the show which dealt mostly with domestic violence and child visitation were sensational and gruesome, but true. It seems to me, an even more common scenario, is the family court system wreaking havoc on families’ finances.


The Big Picture

Venice is a small town near Florida’s gulf coast nestled between Sarasota to the north and Fort Myers to the south. It’s a lovely quiet place -- snowbirds come every winter; old folks retire; and families thrive. No one could have predicted the tragic story that unfolded one fine spring night in April.

Twenty year old, Tyler Spann, was a popular athlete; a life long resident of Venice. In middle school, he played Pop Warner, then went on to play high school football. Young Tyler was Captain of his high school wrestling team; loved to hunt and fish; and was an Indian Guide.

A childish prank; then a second childish prank -- killed him. Young Tyler and a buddy were walking home from a local pub that fateful April night. They rang the doorbell of a house and ran away. They rang the bell of the same house a second time, and ran again. Tyler’s buddy ran home; Tyler hid in the bushes. The house belonged to off-duty Deputy Verdoni of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Department.

Around 1:00 a.m. immediately after his doorbell sounded a second time, Deputy Verdoni jumped in his squad car, left his house, and went after Tyler. Sure enough, he soon found him hiding in the bushes. The officer directed Tyler to lay down while he called for back up. Here the story becomes murky, some say implausible. There is no question, however, that the Deputy shot and killed Tyler Spann.

According to the Deputy, at first Tyler complied with his order to lay down; but then got up. Tyler then rushed and tackled him with such force that the Deputy hit his head on the pavement. Then, according to the Deputy, Tyler Spann tried to grab the Deputy’s gun during the ensuing scuffle. The Deputy said he was in fear for his own life, so he shot dead the unarmed Tyler Spann.

The internal affairs and the criminal investigation concluded that Deputy Verdoni’s use of deadly force was justified. Verdoni was back at work about a week after the shooting. Questions remain: The lead criminal investigator and Deputy Verdoni are “facebook friends”. Newspaper stories mention an eyewitness to the shooting that corroborates the Deputy’s version of events, but that person’s name has never been published. Why did the Deputy shoot to kill? Why didn’t the Deputy simply disable Tyler? Shoot him in the leg or foot?

The local police department has no record of Verdoni calling for backup that night; and no record of Verdoni calling in the door bell ringing prank. Why didn’t the Deputy call it in and let the local police handle it? If the Deputy was in fear for his life, thought there was a home invader at large, why didn’t he stay home to protect his wife and baby? The most enduring question remains -- how could a childish prank turn deadly?

Every Friday evening mourners stand vigil near the corner where Tyler Spann was killed. They hold signs, demanding justice for the killing of their friend, family member, co-worker -- young Tyler Spann -- RIP.


WRITE FOR US

We need your articles, input, and insights. Your articles will be posted on our site, with your byline, and linked to your website. We will edit it for clarity, grammar, spelling and formatting.

Suitable topics are vast. How did you get started? What was your best or worst experience helping a customer? What is your favorite or least favorite part of your work? How did you overcome a specific obstacle? Are you doing something that is unique that you would like to tell us about? Build your professional profile by sharing your insights and knowledge.

Submit articles to: floridalegalforms@yahoo.com or staff@faldp.org


RESEARCH ASSISTANCE

We need your customers’ family law stories -- their adventures, perils, and successes navigating the court system. Every one of them has a story.

I want to know how well pro se litigants are able to get the job done. Are your customers educating themselves? Are they being intimidated by opposing attorneys? What about judges? Are the family law mediators helping or hindering the process?

When you speak to someone with a compelling story ask them if they are willing to speak with me, so that I can share their story with others. Ruth Tick at floridalegalforms@yahoo.com

Also don’t forget to make a comment about access to the courts for pro se litigants on the FALDP site. The article is found at the following link:

Legal Access http://www.faldp.org/legal-access.html

We value your opinions!

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