I've Been Served! How Much Time Do I Have Left?

By: Luis M. Fermin

One of the biggest questions that I am asked by clients is how much time does Foreclosure take? This is usually an important question because, during foreclosure, most consumers are either trying to save their home through a loan modification, negotiate a short sale, or save as much money as possible until they are forced to relocate. Regardless of your ultimate goal, the most important factor in successfully completing any of the above goals is timing. Banks can take months before a loan modification or short sale is approved. Additionally, you may know how much money you need to save in order to move away from this time comfortably. Unfortunately, when the bank first files suit against you, it’s almost impossible to determine exactly how much time is left.

You see, before a bank can foreclose, they first need to overcome all of the natural obstacles that are inherit within our court system. There are specific rules that require the banks to wait certain time periods before they can move to the next step. If you allow the bank to jump through these natural obstacles, the bank may be able to sale your home within 3-6 months.

On the other hand, taking control of the foreclosure can help to maximize the amount of time that you will have left to complete whichever goal you are pursuing. Forcing the bank to prove they are entitled to foreclosure, and challenging the sufficiency and adequacy of the banks case may give you months and even years in your home.

Whether you attack the bank on your own, or whether you hire a trained attorney who is familiar with the complex issues that may arise during foreclosure, take control of the foreclosure and FIGHT BACK!


Don't Let the Bank Bully You During Foreclosure

By: Cedella C. Fermin

Within the last decade, our economy has changed substantially causing significant changes in many households. Due to the economic change, many individuals lost their jobs, experienced decreased income, and ultimately found themselves unable to meet their monthly household expenses. Worst of all, the house that once had thousands of dollars in equity (house was worth more than was owed), is now underwater (house is worth less than what is owed). As a result, many homeowners were no longer able to afford their monthly mortgage payments.

In an effort to keep their home, homeowners began to reach out to their mortgage lenders requesting a loan modification or some type of assistance so that they could resume making their mortgage payments. Some lenders advised homeowners to make partial payments to prevent foreclosure, or to submit documents showing there was a hardship, and thus, grounds to modify the loan. Unfortunately, despite all of the homeowners attempts the lender was ready to foreclose on the property and didn’t care about the homeowners.

Lenders began filing foreclosure actions against homeowners and homeowners were faced with the thought that their home may be taken away from them.

What many homeowners didn’t realize was that they had the right to make the lender prove that it had the right to foreclose. Lenders are required to follow foreclosure requirements as set forth by the courts, but some lenders were foreclosing without following these requirements because homeowners were not standing up to the lender.

Homeowners soon realized that with assistance of an attorney, they may have a shot of keeping their home or avoiding foreclosure.

Don’t let these lenders bully you into thinking you have no rights. As required by some mortgages, lenders are required to take certain actions before filing for a foreclosure suite. You have the right to make the lender prove its case and show that it complied with all of the foreclosure requirements and conditions required by the mortgage.

Hiring an attorney for foreclosure defense cannot only force the lender to prove its case, but it can also allow the homeowner more time in the home.

Family Law

The Do's and Dont's When going Through Divorce with Children

By: Cedella C. Fermin

As crazy as it may seem, I feel the need to advise clients that your divorcing your spouse, not your child. Whether we like to believe it or not, divorce can really impact children in an unfavorable way. Sometimes children don’t understand that people grow apart or change and their parents no longer feel the same way about each other as they once did. Instead, some children may wonder if it was their fault that their parents are divorcing, which is not the case.

No matter how old your child is, parents should never involve their children more than is necessary in their divorce discussions. The following statements should never be made to children, your Mom/Dad:

  • Doesn't love us anymore
  • Is a bad parent
  • Prefers their other children
  • Is a liar
  • Doesn't love you
  • Is the reason why we are divorcing
  • Doesn't have time for you anymore

Why is it important not to speak ill of the other parent? Because at the end of the day, that is still your son or daughter’s mother or father and we should always advocate for a good relationship between children and parents.

More importantly, some children may suffer from depression as a result of the divorce and it is not wise to do anything that will add to the depression.

Parents should continuously express to their children their love and affection and do the following when going through a divorce:

  • Spend time with the child9ren) regularly
  • Constantly reaffirm your love for your child(ren)
  • Not argue with the other parent in the presence of the child(ren)

Divorce is hard as it is, don’t make it harder than it has to be by involving your children more than they should be.

Estate Planning

I Don't Have an Estate Plan. What's the Worst that Can Happen?

By: Luis M. Fermin

Too often I hear, “I don’t need an estate plan, because I don’t have much,” “I am still young, I’ll worry about that later,” and “I don’t want to spend the money on an estate plan.”

While everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, I do think people should give estate planning more thought.

Estate planning is not only for people with substantial amounts of assets. A living will, durable power of attorney, or designation of health care surrogate has nothing to do with your assets. Furthermore, everyone has an estate, so estate planning is applicable to all of us.

More importantly, in today’s society divorce is more common than it was before and children born out of wedlock is more common as well. So, what does this have to do with estate planning? Without a will or trust to dictate how one’s assets will be distributed at death, Florida laws of intestacy will come into play. Meaning, if you have children whom were not born to you and your current wife, at your death your surviving wife will only receive ½ of your estate.

Well, what if I have no children, but my wife had a child from a previous relationship, wouldn’t my wife get my entire estate? NO. You're surviving wife will only receive half of your estate.

Over time, I have realized that many individuals are not aware of Florida’s laws regarding intestacy (no will or trust). Because individuals are not aware of this, some people think they have no need for a will or trusts. As result, their estate could be distributed contrary to the deceased’s true wishes.

Thus, in my opinion, the costs of an estate plan are outweighed by its benefits.