Getting A Lot of Collection Calls from Creditors?

Have you received hundreds of unwanted CALLS or TEXTS to your cell phone from Wells Fargo, or any other debt collector, bank, telemarketer, or business in the last 4 years?  If so, you may be entitled to up to $1,500 PER CALL or TEXT!  A review of your case with our firm shows that Wells Fargo either owned or serviced your  loan or mortgage.  There is nothing more frustrating than being harassed by endless collection texts and calls, and Wells Fargo has been flagged as a repeat offender.  The law provides for compensation for a minimum of $500 PER unwanted call or text to your cell phone and up to $1,500 per call or text for willful violations.

If you have been a victim of these predatory calls or texts within the last 4 years, we may be able to help.  Call my office to schedule a free consultation to determine whether you qualify for compensation under the law.  We may be able to pursue an action to enforce your rights at no cost to you.  It may be one of the most important calls you make.

Have You Been Sued? Don’t Wait!

If you’ve been sued don’t wait or delay.  If you’ve received a lawsuit for foreclosure, real estate, credit cards, or any other matter you must file an answer in a certain amount of time.  If you wait you may be subject to a default judgment, money damages, garnishment of your wages, or other penalties.

Attorney David Sharpe explains what to do if you’ve been served with a lawsuit.  Inaction can cost you.  Call 813-259-1017 now to speak with an attorney.  The initial consultation is always free.

Florida “No-Fault” Divorce

Many times you might hear Florida is a No-Fault Divorce State.  What does that mean?  What is a No-Fault Dissolution of Marriage?

Basically it means that either party may get a divorce without a specific reason.  Only one of the parties needs to state that the marriage is, “irretrievably broken.”  There is no other reason necessary.  A spouse does not need to prove, “fault” as a reason such as; a marital affair, spending marital money, excessive drinking or drug use, or even domestic violence.  Although those are certainly reasons to get a divorce, they are not necessary in Florida.

Does this make it easy to get a divorce? No, it doesn’t.  There are still multiple documents and pleadings necessary to get divorced in Florida.  Even in the most simple divorce, you may have to complete a dozen documents and provide bank statements, income tax returns, retirement account information, and other documents.  Most family law lawyers will charge you for the initial visit.  We don’t.  Call us for your free consultation and speak with an attorney about your case.

Arrested? Detained? Ask for a lawyer, then, SHUT UP!

The best thing you can do if you’re arrested or being questioned by the police is to: 1) Ask for a lawyer; and 2) Keep Quiet.  Of course you can provide your ID, but that should be about it.  It never ceases to amaze me how often people think they can, “explain” or somehow talk themselves out of trouble.  It never works.  All it does is provide statements that the police will be able to use later, and almost always against you.

Don’t think you can talk yourself out of trouble.  Take a look at this short video about how to deal with being arrested or detained.

In a Florida Divorce, Don’t Call it Child “Custody”

The biggest issue with our clients in divorce and paternity cases is custody of their children.  Clients are usually surprised to learn that terms such as “custody” and “visitation” no longer exist in Florida, and have been replaced with other terms such as “parental responsibility” and “time-sharing.”  The changes, which took place in 2008, are not merely a shift in terminology.  The goal is to promote the role of both parents in the child’s life and that each child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents. Florida law now require that a Parenting Plan be prepared in almost all family cases involving minors.

Some Terms to Know

Shared Parental Responsibility is a court-ordered relationship in which both parents retain full parental rights and responsibilities and work together on major decisions affecting the welfare of the child.  Some examples of major decisions affecting the child include health care, education, and religion.  Sole Parental Responsibility means a court-ordered relationship in which one parent makes decisions regarding the child.  Do not assume that the court will grant you sole parental responsibility just because you request it.  You must show that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child.  The best interest of the child is always the primary consideration.

A Parenting Plan is a document that governs the relationship between the parents relating to decisions that must be made regarding the minor child.  A Parenting Plan can be agreed to by the parties and approved by the court.  If the parents can’t agree, then the court will establish a plan.  Among other things, the Parenting Plan contains a time-sharing schedule for the parents and child.  There is no presumption for or against the father or mother of the child when creating or modifying the Parenting Plan.  Parenting Plans can be very detailed depending on the circumstances.  It is best to consult an attorney to assist you in preparing a Parenting Plan that will suit your child’s best interest now and in the future.

Our firm is experienced in handling divorces with minor children and paternity actions in and around Tampa, Florida.  We offer affordable services to our clients in their time of need.  Contact our office to schedule an appointment to speak with an attorney about your case.  The initial consultation is always free.

Avoid IRS Fraud Scams

Tax season is just starting, and the fraud is in full force.  Don’t fall prey to those who try to take advantage of you.  The most recent examples involve a phone call telling you that the caller is with the IRS and they are going to issue an arrest warrant, or have you arrested unless you pay your taxes immediately.  They then tell you that they can take the payment over the phone with your bank account number.  It is an obvious fraud, but we have received several calls from our clients asking for advice and very scared of the phone call.

Follow these simple rules:

1. NEVER give your bank information, credit card number, or social security number to someone who calls you.  EVER!  No exceptions.  If the IRS or any other collection agency is trying to collect they will notify you, IN WRITING, of the debt.

2. DON’T EVER ENGAGE THE CALLER.  The best thing is just to hang up and don’t discuss anything with a caller asking for private information.

3. Don’t let anyone on the phone trick you because they have your address, or know your first name, or know things about you.  They can get all of the information very easily.

4. If you have a smartphone get yourself the TrueCaller app at www.truecaller.com.  It is an excellent toll to help with fraud calls.

5. Put all of your phones on the Do Not Call Registry located at /www.donotcall.gov/ .  This will help avoid your number being placed on automatic call lists.  If your number is easily available, it is easier for criminals to get it.

Finally, just use common sense.  If the IRS was going to arrest you, they are not going to call you before they come.  There is never any reason to give any private information over the phone to anyone who calls you asking for it.  If you have any doubt call regarding fraud, theft, or other crimes our experience in criminal defense is valuable.  Call our Tampa, Florida office for a free consultation at 813-259-1017 and we will be glad to speak with you.

You can read more from the IRS by clicking this link.

When a “Trial Lawyer” is not a Trial Lawyer

Completing law school and passing the Bar Exam provides the title, “Attorney At Law.” Many people who have a license call themselves auto accident, “trial lawyers” but are they really?

Every lawyer can say, “I am a trial lawyer” just like every person with a paintbrush can claim to be Michelangelo because, after all, they can use the brush to paint the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Claiming to be a trial lawyer without ever going to trial is an outright lie.

The TV and radio are full of advertisements of lawyers who say they are, “trial lawyers” but have NEVER had a trial at all. They have never presented a case to a jury and never received a verdict.

Trial work is hard and complex. It requires dedication and skills that are actually uncommon among lawyers who claim to be personal injury, auto accident, or negligence attorneys. If you are considering a lawyer, ask them, “Have you PERSONALLY had an auto accident trial before a jury?” And if the answer is yes, ask how many and when was the last one. The answer may surprise you.

At the Law Office of Dario Diaz we actually go to trial and get verdicts for our clients. We stand up, in the court, and in front of a jury to present our client’s case. The insurance companies know which lawyers go to trial and which lawyers just settle everything; and they don’t treat real, “trial lawyers” the same as those who advertise as trial lawyers.

For an example of some of our trial verdicts see: http://dariodiazlaw.com/past-results/

Even a Simple Divorce, Isn’t

Do I Need a Lawyer?  It’s a question asked by those considering a divorce.

Getting divorced no matter how simple it may seem, is a stressful and emotional.  Hiring an experienced attorney to help you navigate the choppy waters will not only give you peace of mind, but it will ensure that you have complied with the complex Florida law.  Even the simplest divorce involves a lot of paperwork.

For example, a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage with no minor children, no dispute over division of assets, and no request for alimony requires at least eight documents to be filed just to initiate the divorce.  In addition, there are court hearings you must attend.  Divorces that involve more complicated scenarios, such as minor children, marital property, various assets, debts, alimony, etc., are even more overwhelming with respect to documents and production.

Divorces are stressful.  An experienced attorney can guide you through the process and advocate on your behalf to ensure that your present and future interests are considered.  There are several factors that can affect the outcome of your divorce, from alimony to child time-sharing arrangements.  While the law provides guidance, the judge has a great deal of discretion. An attorney with a professional reputation and good rapport with the Court can be an enormous asset.

Our firm is experienced in handling all types of divorces.  Whether you are seeking a simple dissolution of marriage or have a more complex scenario, we offer affordable services to our clients in their time of need.  Contact our office to schedule an appointment to speak with an attorney about your case.  The initial consultation is always free.

Don’t Sit on Your Legal Rights or they May be Lost!

We are often faced with deadlines, and it is not always easy to meet them with everything we deal with in our lives. However, missing legal deadlines may have serious consequences.

If a contract is broken because of a missed payment or some other breach of the contract, it may be possible to reach a workout. This may include catching up on the missed payments, modifying the loan, or re-working the agreement.

However, if you have a legal claim against another party, there are limitations of how long you have to bring the claim. If you do not file the claim in time, you may lose your right to do so. The intention of such rules and laws is to resolve legal disputes within a reasonable time.

If you are sued by another party, the consequences can be even worse. If you fail to answer or respond to the lawsuit, the other party can get a default judgment against you and you won’t even be able to defend yourself.

Florida case law is filled with cases of missing deadlines. For example, in Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC v. Paul Fernandes, 13 Fla.L.Weekly Supp. 560a (Fla. 15th Jud.Cir., Palm Beach County, 2006) the Court found that a case was barred because it was filed too late.

Don’t lose your right or your defenses because you miss a deadline. If you have questions regarding your legal rights and possible claims or defense of claims against you, please do not hesitate to contact our office for a FREE consultation. Phone: (813) 259-1017. We are here to help.

A Local Attorney is Your Best Option

While it’s true that a Florida lawyer can go into any court anywhere in the entire state, it’s not always a good idea.  Having a local lawyer, who is familiar with the surrounding area, the courts, the insurance company, and the judges can make a big difference in the outcome of your case.  When it comes to legal matters, it’s better to stay local.

The Tampa area is full of legal advertising like highway billboards, radio ads, and TV has one lawyer commercial after another.  But, the truth is that many of those lawyers and law firms are not actually in Tampa.  Many times the lawyer just comes in once or twice a month while your case is handled by an assistant who is not a lawyer.

Don’t make the mistake of hiring a lawyer who lives and works somewhere else; it will hurt your case.  Quite simply, the opposing side knows that a lawyer from Orlando or Miami is not going to attend to a case the same as when it’s close.  A local lawyer knows the courthouse, the insurance company adjusters, the judges, and even the court personnel.  These relationships are beneficial and something that an out of town lawyer doesn’t have.

The lawyers at The Law Office of Dario Diaz represent clients in Tampa, St. Petersburg and all Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco counties.  We know the area and can represent our clients better than a lawyer from somewhere else.