Fisher's Law Office
Welcome to the NEWSLETTER of Fisher's Law Office, providing you with legal
information you can use in your everyday life. If you have questions,
don't hesitate to call or send us an e-mail today.
1. MARRIAGE ALERT
On January 1, 1999,
a new Florida law makes getting married more difficult and less spontaneous
for residents. Here's what will be required:
who are Florida residents will have to take a four-hour "marriage
preparation and preservation" course from a counselor or therapist
registered with the local clerk of circuit court. (Non-residents do
not have to meet the new requirement.)
If the couple
does not want to take the course, they can wait three days between
applying for a marriage license and getting married. However, the
three-day "cooling off" option costs $88.50, which is $32.50 more
than taking the marriage preparation course.
must draw up a list of registered counselors, psychologists, therapists,
social workers and ministers who are authorized to provide the four-hour
marriage preparation course. The course provider can charge a fee,
though the new law provides no guidelines.
2. HOW TO DEAL WITH
Many clients contact
Fisher's Law Office to ask how they can fend off debt collectors on
the telephone. Here are some pointers:
If you are called
by a creditor, you should remind them that under Section 809 of the
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, they are required within five
days of first calling you to send you the following information:
The amount of
The name of
the creditor you owe;
If the creditor
keeps calling, send them a letter demanding verification of the debt.
Once you send this letter, the creditor must cease collection of the
debt until you receive documentation substantiating the debt.
Since most debt
collectors do not know how to follow this Act, confront them with
the requirements of the law and they may leave you alone.
3. WHAT SORT OF
COLLECTION ACTIVITY DOES FLORIDA LAW PROHIBIT?
Florida law prohibits
bill collectors from doing the following:
use of force or violence;
tell others about a consumer's debt;
tell an employer about consumer's debt;
else in the family that you don't pay your bills;
enough to be considered harassment;
Using vulgar or
Claiming to have
a legal right when none exists;
be a court process server;
be an attorney;
Taking out advertisements
that talk about your debts;
publish advertisements about your debts;
Refusing to provide
Labeling you as
a deadbeat on items mailed to you through the U.S. Postal Service;
Calling you outside
the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
give rise to sanctions under Florida Law.
4. WHAT ARE RULES
REGARDING TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT IN FLORIDA?
Since Florida became
a State in the 1840's, it has steadfastly remained a "employment at
will" State. This means that unless an employment contract is in place,
employment can be terminated by either party at will. Florida is one
of nine States that continues to apply the employment at will doctrine.
This means that anyone can be fired at any time for any reason as long
as it does not violate a specific State or federal law or a contract
5. WHAT IS A WHISTLE
who are fired in Florida for reporting environmental and other violations
by their employers are protected by Florida Statute 448.102. This statute
prohibits an employer from taking action against an employee because
an employee has disclosed a violation of law in writing to their employer
or supervisor or provided information to the authorities.
6. STUPID THINGS
THAT YOU CAN DO IN '99 TO SCREW UP YOUR LIFE
Loan your car
to a friend who drinks a lot.
Loan your hard-earned
money to a close friend to start a business or pay bills.
Don't wear your
seatbelt when you drive.
Sign a Durable
Family Power of Attorney with dishonest relatives.
Give your credit
card number out to people who call you on the telephone.
Keep a dog that
bites and don't have homeowners' insurance or renter's insurance.
After your first
divorce, get married immediately to someone with a lot of problems.
Keep a pistol
around your house.
Buy a house from
a friend and don't buy title insurance and don't see a lawyer about
Don't write a
Will and hope it all works out for the best.
Fail to pay child
support and think that it will just "go away".
Fail to title
your house in the name of you and your spouse.
Don't save for
retirement and just assume social security will take care of you.
Have the minimum
amount of car insurance (personal injury protection) and just hope
that you won't get into a car wreck or that, if you do, the other
party won't be hurt and won't sue you.
When you change
your oil in your car, just dump the oil on the ground and assume that
nothing will happen because the government never checks this sort
If you own a small
business, don't register it under Florida Statutes Chapter 865 with
the State of Florida and just assume that no one will ever catch you
for failing to comply with Florida's Fictitious Name Act.
If you have employees,
just assume that it's okay not to pay employment taxes on them.
Title your house
to your spouse in a divorce and assume that the mortgage company will
never call you when your spouse fails to make payments on the former
and then lie about it under oath and assume no one will prosecute
you for perjury because it's only a "civil matter".
File a joint tax
return with a spouse who worked "under the table".
7. DOES SOMEONE
OWE YOU MONEY?
Is the amount is
too small to hire a lawyer? Here are some steps you can follow to collect
money due you.
Write a letter
to the person who owes you the money and tell them how much they owe
and why they owe it and give them a time certain to pay you.
Go to the clerk
of the county court and file a small claims action.
Have the person
served with the summons and the complaint.
At the first hearing,
tell the judge why the defendant owes the money. Be brief and concise.
If the judge requires
a trial, go to the trial and present your evidence.
You should see
a lawyer about helping you collect the money owed you. Fisher's Law
Office can assist you with a consultation on collection of debts owed
8. WHERE CAN YOU
GET A COPY OF YOUR CREDIT REPORT?
Here are two names
and phone numbers of credit reporting bureaus to contact to get your
credit report: Experian, 1-800-682-7654, and Equifax, 1-800-685-1111.
9. HOW MUCH SOCIAL
SECURITY ARE YOU ENTITLED TO?
Contact the Social
Security Administration and get a social security benefit estimate statement.
You can call 1-800-772-1213. Be warned, however, that under a little
known 1960 U.S. Supreme Court case styled as Flemming vs. Nestor, the
United States Supreme Court ruled that workers do not have any property
rights associated with social security. The upshot is that congress
can change its mind and take away your social security benefits at any
time no matter how many hundreds of thousands of dollars you poured
into the rathole of social security.
10. WEIRD LAWS YOU'VE
NEVER HEARD OF
Article I, Section
16 of the Florida Constitution was adopted in 1988. It says that victims
of crimes can appear in criminal court proceedings and be heard during
Article X, Section
2 of the Florida Constitution states that every able-bodied inhabitant
of the State is a member of the Florida militia. Under the Constitution
of Florida, even people who simply declare their intention to become
citizens of the United States are eligible to be a part of the Florida
Article I, Section
11 of the Florida Constitution states that no person may be imprisoned
for debts except in cases of fraud.
Article II, Section
9 of the Florida Constitution makes English the official language
of the State of Florida. This amendment was adopted on August 8, 1988.
316.2397 makes it illegal to display a red or blue light visible from
directly in front of an automobile or vehicle.
828.29(5) states that a purchaser of an animal may obtain a full refund
if within one year of the purchase, they find that the dog or cat
is unfit for purchase because of a hereditary disorder. The law states
that the person can receive a refund or n new cat or dog to make up
for the one that was defective. "Florida's Dog Lemon Law" - Florida
828.29(1) states that no dog or cat may be brought into Florida unless
it has been vaccinated against a number of illnesses and a certificate
of veterinary inspection is available for inspection.
370.16(30) states that no dogs are allowed at any time on a vessel
used to harvest or transport oysters.
out! Florida Statute 403.413 states that anyone who litters more than
500 pounds of litter can have their vehicle declared contraband and
subject to forfeiture under Florida Statute 342.703.
beware. Florida Statute 501.022 requires that anyone who does home
solicitation in person must have a valid home solicitation sales permit
as provided by law.