Spring / Summer 2007
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.  In this newsletter we discuss ways that you can get ahead this year. If you have any questions about any of the articles in this newsletter please don’t hesitate to contact us.


A Federal income tax credit of up to $2000 is available for such systems.

The income tax credits expire at the end of 2007.  If you have a family and you have taxable income you may want to consider going solar in 2007.


Such systems are proven to reduce electric bills and help protect our environment. The Florida legislature has funded $2,500,000 for this program.

3. Homeowners insurance: How can you lower your insurance premium?

Here are some ways you can reduce you homeowner’s insurance bill for 2007:

A. Consider taking more of the risk of loss due to theft or a hurricanes by increasing your deductible.  This will generally lower your premium.

B. Review your policy very carefully to make sure that you have the proper coverage.

Many people have too much coverage; For example, are you covering jewelry that you no longer own?

C. Read the declaration page of your insurance policy very closely. Go through each line of coverage and make sure you understand it completely. Make sure that you do not have too little insurance coverage for the property that you wish to insure.

D. Remember that the purpose of insurance is to insure against losses that you cannot afford to take. For example, if you have paid off your mortgage and your homeowners insurance is expensive there is nothing to legally prevent you from canceling your converge

WARNING: Canceling your insurance may expose you to liability if someone gets hurt on your property, so be careful and speak to a lawyer before canceling any homeowner’s insurance coverage.

E. Consider making your home more able to withstand storm damage. For example, installing window-shutters and “hurricane clips” to secure your roof can help make your home, “hurricane proof” and will dramatically reduce your insurance premium with many insurance companies.

WARNING: Always have a licensed contractor do any work and make sure you have a professional engineer sign off on any armor plating work you do to your house.

F. Insurance tip: policyholders of automobiles and homeowners policies can reduce their premiums dramatically by improving their credit rating. It is a little known fact that insurance companies use credit ratings as a basis of assessing risk with new customers. The better your credit score, the lower your insurance premium both for automobile and other insurance, so improve your credit score if you can.

4. Do you have items in storage?

Many people have items in storage and pay a storage fee for items that may not be worth what the cost of storage is! Prepare a cost benefit analysis on any items that you may have in storage. If it’s too expensive to keep something consider selling it at a garage sale.

5. Throw away all your accumulated junk

Our minds and lives are cluttered when we have things lying around that we don’t need or want. Consider making 2007 the year that you throw away all unneeded items. A good rule of thumb is that if you don’t use something with in 18 months then you should throw it away or give it away or sell it.

6. Family Law UPDATE FOR 2007

Here are some tips for making your divorce, marriage, paternity, child support or other family law matter easier to deal with in 2007:

A. If you’re in a divorce make sure you have a list of what you own and what you owe.

B. Prepare a financial affidavit listing you income, expenses, assets and liabilities. How do you prevent feeling overwhelmed? Fisher’s Law Office always advises clients to take 30 minutes a day over a week to gather this information. This makes the process is easier.

C. Make a list of what you really want in the divorce. Make another list of the items you really

don’t care about. These two lists can be his and hers lists.

D. When assigning a value to your personal property, consider whether you would pay the amount that you claim the item is worth. For example, would you give up your valuable 401(k) plan to buy your boat, tools, or extra automobiles or other items? If not, consider listing values at a realistic true fair market value and not an emotional value.

E. Do you visit or do you plan to visit your children more then 146 nights a year after your divorce?  If so then you may be entitled to a substantial reduction in your child support. The example below shows the differences in child support when visiting less then 146 days a year and when visiting more then 146 days a year, for couples earning $2,500.00 a month gross and $2,000.00 a month ... net.

Non-Custodial Parent’s Child Support:

Non-Custodial time Under 40 percent of overnights per year

a month

Non-Custodial time over 40 percent of overnights per year

a month

F. What is special equity and how does it affect a court’s decision on who is awarded property? Special equity items are items that you inherit or bring into a marriage. These items can also be retirement accounts that have been subject of purely passive appreciation or property or accounts you owned before you got married. Generally, you are allowed to keep such property at the time of divorce.

For example, if you inherit $10,000 and put it into an account in your own name, you will generally be allowed to keep this inheritance because this property is considered  “special equity” property. If you have inherited or brought money into a marriage don’t sign off on a divorce settlement until you have met with an attorney who is familiar with special equities.

7. Factors on attorney’s fees:

Most people assume they are automatically entitled to attorney fees if they win their case. This is not necessarily the case. Under Florida law no attorney’s fees are awarded to a winner of a lawsuit unless a special statute or a contract provides for such fees. If you have questions about attorney fees talk to your lawyer BEFORE you file a lawsuit.

8. Factors on alimony

The court asks the following questions in deciding on whether to award permanent alimony.

Have you have been in a marriage that has lasted over 12 years? Are you a dependant spouse from a financial perspective? Courts also apply the following factors contained in Florida Statute Section 61.08 when deciding how much alimony to award a party in a divorce:

A. The Standard of living of the parties

B. The duration of the marriage.

C. The age of the physical and emotional condition
of each party.

D. The financial resources of each party.

E. The time necessary for a party to acquire an

F. The contribution of each party to the marriage.

G. All sources of income available to either party.


9. Legal philosophy corner

Most law students have taken a class called jurisprudence, in which they learn about public perceptions and beliefs about lawyers and lawyers’ perceptions of themselves. Some law professors describe lawyers as “witch doctors” in that they keep their clients mystified to enhance their own power. Other lawyers have a philosophy of transparency in which laws are explained as best as

possible to clients. The “good lawyer” should try to help the client understand why courts do certain things and why certain outcomes occur. Question your lawyer about his legal philosophy when you retain him to verify that he has an attitude of transparency and has a willingness to explain things to you.

10. make 2007 the year you begin using “to-do” lists

It is remarkable how many things are written down become true. If you make such a list, include easy things as well as hard things on the list so that you can accomplish easy things and build confidence in yourself while you attempt to accomplish the more difficult items. Remember that things that are written down tend to come true. So make a list in 2007 and make your life better.

11. Pay yourself first

In 2007 consider opening a savings account and putting a small amount into your account every time you get paid. Paying yourself first is the best way to build a future for your self. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to afford if you act on it today.

12. Write a will

The Florida legislator has provided a will for all residents. The trouble is that the terms of this “statutory will and testament” may not be what most people want. The only way to avoid Florida’s statutory will is to write your own will. Remember that when you write a will there are certain requirements; for example, you cannot leave your spouse out of your will and if you have minor children you should add them to your will. You should update your will every few years and have your will written by a competent professional so that your have the proper number of witnesses and a self-proving affidavit. You should always discuss your will with a professional.