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The FALDP Docket, Issue #006 -- Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers e-zine newsletter.
November 15, 2010
The FALDP Docket
Volume 1; Issue 6
|Includes information about how to file; instruction and commentary on filling out the forms; sample forms; and many needed resources. |
Family Adoption in Florida is suitable for grandparents, stepparents, and close family relatives who desire to adopt their related (by blood or marriage) minor child.
|Workbook $37.60||E-book $29.95|
We offer this guidebook along with our two other guidebooks:
Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, and Child Support Modification
WE NEED REVIEWERS! If you review any of our books we will rebate 50% of your cost.
If you haven’t received the link to post your information on the FALDP Member Directory, please write Ken or me and request it.
Attention Premium Members:
Premium Members may post their information in all of the counties in their Judicial Circuit, with the Premium Member badge displayed along with their home county’s listing.
Please make sure we have your preferences so that we can send work referrals that you can use.
We need to know which legal areas you concentrate on; and also whether you run your business solely face to face; or also work over the phone and via the internet.
We try to send out work referrals on a rotating basis according to your preferences.
To All Members, LDP‘s, and the general public:
We have created a discussion forum: The FALDP Forum
There are sections for members only that requires registration; and also sections where anyone can join in the discussion.
This is brand new so we don’t have any members yet, besides Ken and me. Please join in, post your questions. Respond to the poll. Let your voice be heard.
Introduction - Part I
On behalf of P.U.L.S.E. and the F.A.L.D.P., I attended the first Unauthorized Practice of Law Conference held in Washington D.C. on October 28th, 2010, hosted by the Consumers for a Responsive Legal System (“CRLS”). The all-day conference was created to help CRLS obtain a contemporary understanding of the kinds of UPL regulations in existence, the goals and intentions fueling such regulation, their effect on the Self-Lawyering Industry (my tag name for non-attorney legal services providers (like members of F.A.L.D.P.) and the non-attorney legal resources producer (like Legal Zoom and Nolo), and the impact they are having on the quality of access the unrepresented, self-lawyering public has to the legal system.
In attendance were various elements of the UPL reform movement, including Roger Gordon (Executive Director for CRLS) and Tom Gordon (Legal & Policy Director for CRLS) both of whom were formerly with H.A.L.T. (“Help Abolish Legal Tyranny”). They were on hand to expertly manage the discussion on all of the conference’s topics; and have exceptional backgrounds in public interest law and advocacy. Also present were distinguished representatives of Legal Zoom, The People’s Lawyer, The Institute for Justice, California Association of Legal Document Assistants, Just Answer, and Nolo. Several public interest law firms who are involved in providing defense services on behalf of UPL violators were on hand, as well.
Using the “Round Table method,” participation by all the attendees was comprehensive, intelligible, purposeful and, productively passionate, allowing attendees more than enough opportunity for comment, patient discussion, and meaningful input.
The day’s agenda was divided into two sessions of discussion on UPL regulation. The first, during the morning, pertained to problems and challenges affecting the self-lawyering industry and its consumers. We discussed the negative impact of aggressive UPL statutes and how their enforcement affects the public’s desire for effective and affordable access to non-attorney legal resources and services. Additional topics included: what consumers need from a UPL enforcement regime; what threats do “alternative legal service providers” face and how do they intersect with the needs of consumers; and what the UPL enforcement climate looks like.
After lunch, during the second session, we discussed various ideas for UPL reform and strategies for their implementation through advocacy, grass roots strategy and efforts. Topics included: ideas for policy changes that best serve consumers, which jurisdictions should the primary battlegrounds for reform be fought, whether reform strategies should rely more on litigation than grassroots advocacy, and what actions practitioners in the Self-Lawyering Industry
(More UPL reform analysis and commentary on www.faldp.org -- coming soon.)
Sign the P.U.L.S.E. Petition:
Make a tax-deductible donation to P.U.L.S.E.:
People United for Legal System Equality
If you have not yet received a welcome letter, FALDP logos to display in your advertising, or the link to the Member Directory -- please let us know.
Ken Diaz - firstname.lastname@example.org or
Ruth Tick - email@example.com
ATTENTION: Legal Document Preparers who prepare family law forms, there are new sets of forms on the Florida Supreme Court’s website, www.flcourts.org
The forms for disestablishment of paternity; and forms for parental relocation with a minor child are now posted and available.
We are expecting to see a new form for Child Support Guidelines Worksheet anytime. The child support laws have changed. Changes go into effect January 2011.
Among other changes, child support now terminates at the age of majority (18); and does not extend until age 19 if is still attending high school.
Also, the way that child care is calculated on the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet has changed to be in line with federal income tax guidelines.
Expect to see more and more requests for Supplemental Petition for Modification of Child Support after the first of the year based on these law changes.
In many industries, deadlines are a fact of life. Developing time management skills will not only help you sleep better at night, but will also help keep your customers happy. My first career was in the printing industry. At one time or another over the course of about 10 years, I worked at nearly every position -- press operator, typesetter, sales, graphic designer, bindery, and manager. As in legal document preparation, we created custom products for the public. A common response to the question, when do you need this finished, was -- yesterday.
We had some rules to live by that translate well to legal document preparation:
1. Who owns the problem? Don’t allow your customer’s lack of planning to become your problem. When a panicked customer wants you to prepare an Answer today because today is day 20; and if you don’t help he is sure to be in default -- plan how to handle it. As the business owner, you are in control. Naturally, you want to serve your customer to the best of your ability, but you don’t need to pull a rabbit out of your hat. You can agree to a fast turnaround and add on rush charges. You can turn down the work.
2. Never agree to a deadline that you cannot meet. Delivering work after the deadline or asking your customer for more time is unprofessional. Avoid this at all costs. Say what you can do, when you can deliver, and stick to it.
3. Under promise, over deliver. Negotiate deadlines with your customers as far out as you can. Then deliver early if at all possible. You will be a hero. If you cannot deliver early and only meet your deadline, you have still kept your side of the bargain, and so, still have a happy customer.
In recent news, George Sheldon, secretary of the Department of Children & Families has stated he will not appeal the Third District Court of Appeals ruling that Florida’s prohibition against gay adoption is unconstitutional. Frank Martin Gill, openly gay and the foster father of two boys, is now their legal father.
Florida is the only state that prohibits adoption solely based on sexual orientation. The law remains on the books, but according to reports will no longer be enforced. For children in foster care, the DCA’s decision increases their chance of adoption.
Some say, that gay people should not adopt, because children should have a mother and a father. However, considering the numbers of single parent households, a mother and a father isn’t always present in hetero households either.
Others say, that gay people should not adopt, because they will influence the children to join in a gay lifestyle; and become gay themselves. To this, I say -- nonsense. Read the literature, and understand the science. Homosexuality or heterosexuality is inborn. Sexual orientation is not a lifestyle choice.
by Ruth Tick
NOTE: The opinions in The Big Picture section are that of the author, and not necessarily of FALDP and it's members. Any comments should be directed to the author. FALDP believes it is important to allow for the views of our members, and we encourage a lively interaction within our community.
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?
Submit articles to: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
We need your customers’ family law stories -- their adventures, perils, and successes navigating the court system. Every one of them has a story.
We want to know how well pro se litigants are able to get the job done.
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 -- firstname.lastname@example.org
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!