— Legal Profession’s Most Prestigious Rating Service Recognizes Firm —
Martin Law Firm, PL today announced it has received notification from Martindale-Hubbell that Steven E. Martin and Eviana J. Martin have both received a Martindale-Hubbell AV Peer Review Rating.
Both Steven E. Martin and Eviana J. Martin were given an “AV” rating from their peers, which means that they were deemed to have very high professional ethics and preeminent legal ability. Only lawyers with the highest ethical standards and professional ability receive a Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating.
Too often we read in the news about fatal accidents involving a cyclist in Florida roads. Many people ask about fault and liability in the event of these incidents. Even more riders are concerned about the lack of criminal action taken against negligent or even hostile automobile drivers when a cyclist is injured. Concerns about cyclist safety laws should be raised to your local state legislators. However, consider that it is already “illegal” to hurt or kill someoone with a car. Martin Law Firm aggressively prosecutes civil cases against car drivers who injure or kill cyclists. That being said, we’d rather you be safe and unhurt and not in need of our services. The first step in safety is to fully understand the rules of the road. Below we’ve written out a brief summary of the laws in Florida. This isn’t comprehensive, so we encourage you to educate yourself further.
A Bicycle is a Vehicle
Under Florida law, a bicycle is a vehicle and a bicyclist is a driver. The bicycle riders enjoy the same rights and must obey the same rules as a motor vehicle driver. A big difference is that the unarmoured biker is much more susceptible to injury when an accident occurs. Florida Statute 316.2065 contains the bicycle regulations. Some of the statutes deal with wearing protective gear while others dictate how a bicyclist may travel the roadways. A bicycle rider under the age of sixteen must wear a properly fitted helmet. Proper rules are extremely important since the number of accidents involving bicyclists is very high. A study done by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles looked at the number of bicycle injuries and fatalities that occurred on the highways during a ten year time span. The number of bicycle accident injuries in 2000 was about 4,585 and the number of fatalities in that year was 83. Ten years later, in 2009, the number of injuries stayed almost the same with around 4,376, and the number of fatalities increased to 100.
One of the purposes of the probate process is to manage debts owed to creditors of the deceased andto see that creditors are paid – to the extent that is legally and financially possible. The legal procedurefor probate provides a process to manage and cut off claims against the deceased that are filed morethan three months after the publication of a Notice To Creditors in the newspaper, or more than thirtydays after service of the Notice on a creditor, if that is later. Most debts of the deceased are barred andunenforceable after two years from the date of death. Recently the Second District Court of Appeals inFlorida issued a ruling that emphasizes the need to properly follow the claim procedure if you are owedmoney by the deceased. Watch the dates as you read the following paragraph.
Edward Caulfield died on December 18, 2006. A probate administration was started and on November16, 2007, a Notice To Creditors was published. The court opinion dos not explain why so much timewent by before publication. Under Florida law the end of the creditor claim filing period was February16, 2008. A creditor, Mr. Lubee, filed a late claim on December 18, 2008, ten (10) months after theclose of the claim filing period. Note, this is the point after which the two year bar on collection of adecedent’s debts also takes effect. Then Mr. Lubee sued the estate on February 5, 2009, no doubtbecause payment had not been forthcoming. Judgment was entered in favor of the estate at the CircuitCourt level and affirmed on appeal. Why? Because Mr. Lubee didn’t file a claim within the three monthsand never asked the probate court for permission to file a late claim within two years of the death ofMr. Caulfield.
Usually, the court will impute an income to the non-working spouse. This means that in cases where child support, alimony, and equitable distribution of assets and debts are at issue, the court will decide a wage that should be attributed to the non-working spouse. This imputed income amount will serve as the amount the spouse should be making if they were working, and most calculations throughout the case will be made using this imputed income.
As a matter of law, trial courts should consider the non-working spouse’s work history, occupational qualifications, and the prevailing earnings in the community for that class of available jobs when finding an amount of imputed income. Evidence may be presented that the non-working spouse had earned the same amount prior to quitting a previous job, that the non-working spouse is capable of working, and that the non-working spouse has options to do so.
The Florida Department of Revenue may intervene in child support cases to ensure that a minor child is receiving the care and support he or she is entitled to by law. Paternity is presumed when a husband and wife have a child within the bonds of marriage. However, if the parents are not married, the Department of Revenue may still collect child support from a father who may or may not be the actual biological father of a child.
A father may contest paternity, but the courts will always look to what is in the best interests of the child “[T]he courts require a determination of the child’s best interests. Some circumstances require specific procedures to be followed in evaluating a child’s best interests. For example, if paternity is contested, the child’s legitimacy is at issue, and the legal father has not had notice or an opportunity to be heard, the trial court is required to appoint a guardian ad litem and hear from the guardian and all the parties before proceeding.”
On February 29, 2012 the Second District Court of Appeals issued an opinion involving the appointment of a Personal Representative (sometimes referred to as an executor or administrator) for the estate of a decedent who died without a Will. When a decedent has made a valid Will, this document will normally nominate a person or bank to be Personal Representative. What happens when there is no Will?
The Florida Probate Code specifies that there is a priority of preference that is to be followed in determining who will be Personal Representative. A surviving spouse comes first, followed by a person who is selected by a majority in interest of the heirs. A “majority in interest” means a person or combination of people who get at least 51% of the value of the assets of the estate. The third preference is an heir nearest in degree (meaning essentially the closest relative or someone from a group of people who all have the same relationship to the decedent).
Termination of Parental Rights is a serious issue in Florida Law. The Department of Children and Family Services often becomes involved in situations where a child’s welfare is in danger. Many times extended family members may be concerned about the parenting style or neglect by the child’s parents. If this becomes an issue, or if abuse is a concern, the Department of Children and Family Services will often take part in the case.
In temporary situations where children need to be provided care, family members may apply for Temporary Custody by and Extended Family Member, by petitioning the Court for an order allowing them to temporarily care for the children at issue. Many times this is a better situation for everyone involved, because the children are then able to be cared for in a familiar environment, and the Court is able to monitor the situation first hand.
MARTIN LAW FIRM ATTORNEYS RECEIVE LEGAL ELITE RECOGNITION
The Martin Law Firm, P.L. of Cape Coral, Florida is proud to announce that Steven E. Martin, Eviana J. Martin, Jonathan Bierfeld, Dustin M. Butler, and Patricia Dills have all been named to Florida Trend’s Legal Elite Up and Comers.
Florida Trend recognizes a prestigious list of approximately 2% of the active members of the Florida Bar who practice in Florida. Active members of the Florida Bar were asked to name attorneys whom exemplify the standards of Legal Elite and would recommend to others. Top vote getters then had their disciplinary records reviewed and finally were reviewed by a panel of previous winners.
A recent development arising from the collapse of the housing market has been the rapid increase in the real estate industry practice known as short sales. As more and more homeowners find themselves in the precarious position of owing more on their homes than what they are currently worth, many homeowners have begun to consider whether taking part in a short sale might be more beneficial than going through with the normal foreclosure process or filing for bankruptcy protection. Although for some individuals a short sale might appear more beneficial than other traditional options, in many cases there are significant drawbacks to taking part in a short sale, and a host of problems that the seller does not discover until later. Before you proceed with a short sale you should consider what is discussed in this article and ask critical questions of the people who are proposing this transaction to you. In a real estate short-sale, the struggling homeowner sells his or her home for less than what is owed in hopes that the lender will accept this amount in satisfaction of the mortgage debt. Lenders are likely to agree to a short sale only where the homeowner appears to be unable to continue making payments, and only where the property’s value is less than the mortgage balance. The difference between what is owed and the selling price is known as a “deficiency.” A short sale is really only beneficial to a homeowner if he can receive a guarantee from the lender that he will not