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The FALDP Docket, Vol2,Iss01 -- Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers e-zine newsletter.
January 14, 2011

Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers

The FALDP Docket

Volume 2; Issue 1
January, 2011


2011 MEMBERSHIP DRIVE

You made your resolution to join FALDP on New Year's, now is the time to follow through. If you are not yet a member of the Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers, join now, during our membership drive and take advantage of our 50% discount on membership fees.

This discount is only available between January 15 and January 31, 2011. And is only available to new members and current Basic Members wishing to upgrade to a Premium Membership.

Annual Basic Membership – only $20. during our Membership Drive
Annual Premium Membership – only $32.50 during our Membership Drive
Premium Membership Ugrade - only $12.50 during our Membership Drive

On February 1, all membership fees revert back to regular price - $40 for Basic; $65 for Premium; and $25 Premium Upgrade.

All memberships renew on June 1, 2011.


FALDP WEBINAR SERIES

Revised Webinar Schedule

Beginning in March 2011, we will be holding a series of webinars focusing on the business of legal document preparation. We plan to have one in March, April, and May - dates to be announced.

The tentative schedule is as follows:

March - LDP Basics
How to Earn a Living as a Legal Document Preparer - An overview of the legal document preparer profession.

April – BPP Basics
Bankruptcy Petition Preparer Basics - An overview of preparing documents for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

May – DOM Basics
Dissolution of Marriage Basics - An overview of preparing documents for Dissolution of Marriage in Florida

As we approach the dates for each event we will announce more detailed information about the content of each Webinar. We are in the process of preparing ebooks which will be included as free downloads for each participant.

Enrollment in our Webinars is free for Premium Members; and only $10 for Basic Members. Basic Members can sign up for this 3-part series for $25 and will automatically upgrade your basic membership to Premium.

To participate in any of our Webinars, you must be an FALDP member. (Yet another reason to join during our membership drive.)


WHAT'S NEW AT THE FALDP

FALDP is Growing

With your help and participation – WE DID IT! – www.faldp.org exceeded our goal of 1000 unique visitors to our website during the month of December. Backlinks, comments, and faldp logos displayed on your sites all help to build traffic. As our site's exposure grows, your business' exposure grows also. Let's keep it going.


FALDP Members Map

Have You Noticed the New Map on the Members Directory?

We know it isn't complete yet; it is a work in progress. We want to give consumers a visual of our legal document preparer member's locations.

If your location has been left out, send me an email and I'll make sure to add when we update. Soon we will also be requesting updated membership information, for our records.

We know that many of you have completed coursework now, that was unfinished when you joined. Also some of you may have added services.


Members - Post Your Information On Our Member Directory

If you haven’t received the link to post your information on the FALDP Member Directory, please write Ken or me and request it.

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.

Welcome to all of our new members. 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.

Contact us and let us know.


The FALDP FORUM

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 of legal access and document preparation in Florida.

This is brand new so we don’t have many members yet, besides Ken and me. Please join in, post your questions. Respond to the poll. Let your voice be heard.


NEW FAMILY LAW FORMS

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

Around the last week of December new forms appeared on the Florida Supreme Court's site. Most of them are updated forms for common legal processes – including dissolutions and modifications.

We've posted a page of all the New Forms for Family Law as of January 01, 2011 with descriptions and links to the new forms for your convenience.

Please update your files so that you can be sure you are using the most recent forms. At least one clerk of court refused to accept the older forms.

The new updated Child Support Guidelines Worksheet is among the updated forms. The child support laws have changed. Changes went into effect January 1, 2011. Among other changes, child support now terminates at the age of majority (18); and does not extend until age 19 if the child 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 based on these law changes.

Keep abreast of news, forms and law changes on the FALDP FaceBook page and on the FALDP News Blog.


ARTICLES & COMMENTARY BY FALDP MEMBERS

CULTURE OF PROFESSIONAL COURTESY

As we grow as a professional association we have a golden opportunity to create our own culture. Many industries have cultural norms and idiosyncrasies that are unwritten rules of conduct between colleagues.

For example, doctors give free medical care to other doctors and their families. It is this type of cooperation that I would like to nourish. I'm not necessarily suggesting that you give your work away – I'm asking that we strive to help one another.

If you ask me a question, and I know the answer, I'll always answer it. If you ask me how to find a form, and I have it, I'll always give it to you. If you ask me for some information, if I don't know, I'll always help you find it. I know you'll do the same for me.

We all have knowledge that a colleague may not have. If we can share our knowledge then we can all become better at what we do. We can multiply our knowledge exponentially by tapping into the knowledge of each other. A count of our members combined years of experience adds up to around 150 years. That's something.

We have members who have completed M.S. Degrees, J.D. Degrees, B.A. Degrees, and A.S. Degrees; coursework includes legal assisting, paralegal training, and criminal justice.

We have members who have worked in law enforcement, and as paralegals. We even have a member who completed a J.D. but prefers to work as a nonlawyer, legal document preparer.

These are your colleagues. This is our BrainTrust. Be proud that you are helping consumers access their legal system.

by Ruth Tick
Website: For the People of Florida
Venice, Florida, Sarasota County
TEL: (941) 497-0941


THE BIG PICTURE

WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

These days few of us think very highly of big banks and mortgage lenders. It seems like they took the bail out money, fixed up their balance sheets, and then continued foreclosing on as many properties as possible.

Even though, the lenders may have already paid back the bail out money, they sure haven't given many breaks to homeowners. Just try to get a re-fi nowadays; when once upon a time, in that magical era called the boom, lenders were offering loans and re-fi's to anyone with a pulse.

The moratorium on foreclosures seems to have ended. The lenders are at it again, foreclosure mill cyborgs, relentlessly march. The robo-signing debacle has run through its 15 minutes of fame; and the media stopped talking about it. Nobody cares.

I heard from a colleague recently who has a customer that is a realtor with the “CDPE” designation behind his name. CDPE stands for certified distressed property expert. The colleague, a legal document preparer, had prepared an answer to a foreclosure complaint for this customer.

The customer/realtor/CDPE is a sophisticated business customer, and the answer was for his personally owned rental property. Under the direction of the customer, the LDP colleague of mine, prepared the answer with some creative affirmative defenses.

The defenses worked. In late December the customer was offered a brand new mortgage on his property, and the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the foreclosure complaint. They first included a deficiency clause in the new loan, but the customer negotiated it away. And now, instead of a foreclosure complaint, he has a brand new mortgage – 30 year fixed rate at 4%.

Priceless.


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