Local Legal Resource – St. Johns County Legal Aid

Yesterday I had Megan Wall of St. Johns County Legal Aid on the radio with me for the Land Title Talk show on 102.3 FM WFOY.  Legal Aid generally deals with civil law cases for the poor, the elderly, and the disabled; however, their office is also a great resource for legal information (with about 300 free pamphlets) for anyone regardless of income, age, or ability.  St. Johns County Legal Aid is locally funded by the St. Johns County.  They are located at 222 San Marco Avenue in St. Augustine and they are open 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every business day.  You do not need an appointment to stop by and pick up a pamphlet. Furthermore, St. Johns Legal Aid teaches classes, they go to the Players Community Senior Center in Ponte Vedra and River House in St. Augustine on a monthly basis, plus they have the People’s Law School lecture series at the Southeast Public Library on US Highway 1 South in St. Augustine (the next topic is “Rights of a Debtor” scheduled for March 4 at 4:00 p.m.). “A wealth of justice for those who have neither,” is the motto of St. Johns County Legal Aid, and […] Read More

When Venus & Mars Collide – Evidentiary Hearing

Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus…sometimes they meet at an Evidentiary Hearing after a Temporary Injunction.  That hearing is like a mini-trial, the atmosphere can be thicker than you think, and the gravity can be more than you expect.  When worlds collide in court, the best of a bad situation is when both planets show up with competent legal representation. A Temporary Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence means that without notice, the defendant cannot come home, and cannot get belongings (even if the defendant owns the home or pays rent on the apartment).  Furthermore, the defendant violates the injunction by phoning the spouse, sending flowers, or having any contact. Venus may be lying.  However, judges have to make tough decisions in these situations, and they generally want to err on the side of not getting somebody hurt (or worse).  The judge will have better evidence to make a proper decision if you have counsel.  An attorney can properly represent your case, and also reframe the situation so you can objectively evaluate your possible choices and the consequences of those choices. Mars may be dangerous.  The law is technical, and from a technical standpoint, you can make […] Read More

Fastest Divorce in the East!

There are two ways to get divorced:  the hard way, and the quick way.  Divorce is not necessarily ‘easy,’ but it does not have to be a long process, or an expensive one. A divorce can be done in a week and cost as little as $500 depending on whether it is amicable and how well prepared you are.  Competent legal counsel can guide you through the process so you do not have to spend undue heartache and hard cash.   Read More

Divide & Conquer Divorce with Good Legal Counsel

Do-It-Yourself Divorce is like self-help brain surgery:  you might remove your leg to stand on instead of getting that lobotomy you were so looking forward to.  You may have good intentions going in, but may not realize the ramifications. The idea behind divorce is to get things settled and separated.  If you are ready to do that, then it can be done cheap and fast.  If you are amicable, then it can be done amicably with good legal counsel that will not cost a fortune or unnecessary time in misery.     Read More

The Pumpkin-Eater & His Wife

Mr. Peter, pumpkin-eater, married a wife and tried to keep her Locked away in his pumpkin shell, But had to ask her permission when it was time to sell. Now Mr. Peter had owned the pumpkin shell as his primary residence when he was single.  He had hand carved it himself just to suit his tastes, and when he married, Mrs. Peter in and promptly hung curtains everywhere and decorated with knickknacks and throw pillows, which the place clearly did not need! Mr. Peter was old fashioned in his thinking and believed he could get rid of his intensive-interior-design wife if he could just sell the place…with her inside.  He was not so much trying to “keep” his wife, but to leave her to a new pumpkin-homeowner. Turns out, though, Mr. Peter had to have Mrs. Peter’s permission to sell their homestead. “But she is not even on the deed!” Peter protested, but to no avail.  Both husband and wife must give consent when it comes to conveyance of their primary residence. The moral of the story is:  Do not try use a real estate sale where marital counseling may work best. Have a Safe & Happy Halloween!   Read More

You Do Not Have to Go Broke to Get Divorced

You can get divorced in about three minutes.  It does not have to take long, nor does it have to be expensive. Once the love is gone, it is just math.  If everything is decided on, there is no need for a drawn-out courtroom drama.  Furthermore, Florida is a no-fault state, meaning you can get divorced if you just say the marriage is irretrievably broken. Divorce is sometimes necessary; however, you can leave the courtroom drama to television, and leave the big budget production to a film crew.     Read More

Divorce & Therapy

Your lawyer is NOT your therapist.  While a social professional may help you work through your feelings, your attorney removes emotion and reframes the situation into business terms so you can look at the possible choices and consequences.  That being said, Therapeutic Divorce is a legal option in Dissolution of Marriage. The idea behind Therapeutic Divorce is to work out the details while allowing both sides to continue to be good parents, good employees or employers, good at whatever it is that they are.  It keeps the focus on the business of how best to deal with the details, and also does not make public those details.  Because the process goes through mediation and not through the court, the dirty laundry is hampered from public view. Once the love is gone, it is only math.  Divorce can be a blood sport, but it does not have to be.  Therapeutic Divorce gives the couple more control over the outcome (rather than the judge) and offers a way to avoid the courtroom drama.   Read More

Do-It-Yourself Divorce

The Florida Supreme Court has do-it-yourself divorce forms available online, but that may not be in your best interest.  The law is technical, and from a technical standpoint there are things you can mess up that will hurt what you are trying to accomplish. In cases of Domestic Violence, you can get a Temporary Injunction separating yourself from a potentially dangerous situation until both parties appear before a judge at a hearing.  That hearing is like a mini-trial.  You can represent yourself in court, but those who do often show up with affidavits that are not admissible, or they want to phone a friend.  The hearing is not a game show and it is not Judge Judy.  The Judge can only call balls and strikes—he or she cannot rule on conjecture. Divorce is not rocket science, but it is not basket weaving either.  Do not put yourself in harm’s way by making an ignorant mistake in court.  Competent legal counsel can properly represent your case…and also take the emotion out of the situation so you can move forward through the process. Read More

The Price of Divorce

Earlier this year a portrait of Picasso’s girlfriend sold for over $45 million.  Who says you cannot put a price on love?  Most divorce settlements are a substantial bargain in comparison. When the love is gone, it is only math.  In divorce you can have a drawn out courtroom drama with lots of expensive legal fees…but you do not have to.  Therapeutic Divorce offers each side an opportunity to negotiate a deal without the blood sport aspect. In some cases, divorce is necessary, but it does not have to be a Kardashian epic drama.  If both sides are ready to sit down and take the necessary steps to complete the procedure, then it can be over and done within about a month.  Seek competent legal counsel to discuss your circumstances and your divorce options. Read More

Free Class Today: ‘Domestic Violence Laws and Resources’

In the second of a series of public education courses, St. Johns County Legal Aid presents “Domestic Violence Laws and Resources.”  This FREE one-hour class starts at 4:00 p.m. at the Southeast Branch Library (6670 US 1 South, St. Augustine, Florida). The People’s Law School schedule for the rest of the spring is as follows: March 5 – Do You Need a Will?  What If You Die Without One? March 12 – Rights of a Debtor March 19 – Landlord/Tenant Laws March 26 – Foreclosure Defense of Homesteads April 2 – How Can You Avoid the Need for Guardianship? April 9 – Is Probate a Dirty Word? April 16 – Spouse in a Nursing Home—Do You Have to Go Broke? April 23 – Should You Ever Put Someone Else’s name on Your Deed? All classes are free and start at 4:00 p.m. at the Southeast Branch Library.  For more information on St. Johns County Legal Aid and their services, go to www.jaxlegalaid.org. Read More