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Shalimar Law Blog

What are your rights as a tenant if the air conditioning breaks?

If you live in an apartment, you're dependent on your landlord to keep the air conditioning in working order. Air conditioning isn't simply a perk here in Florida. It's a necessity — particularly in the summer. Every year, people across the country die due to conditions caused by extreme heat.

This time of year, broken air conditioners are among the most common maintenance issues facing property owners. So what can tenants do when their landlords are slow to respond to their calls? What if the problem is a complex one that requires a whole new system or parts that are back-ordered? Even one day and night without air conditioning can be unbearable and potentially dangerous in this part of the country. Can you take legal action?

Florida fraternity, students sued for shared photos, videos

A fraternity and five of its members at the University of Central Florida (UCF) are being sued by a young woman who says that one of those students, her former boyfriend, shared intimate videos and photos of her in a Facebook group known as the Dog Pound without her knowledge or permission. That secret Facebook group allegedly contained images of multiple women engaged in sexual activity.

The woman, who attends college in Arizona, knew about and sent her long-distance boyfriend some of the images during their relationship in late 2017 and early 2018. However, at least one video was made without her knowledge, according to the suit. She says she learned that the images had been shared when she saw a text message to her boyfriend from someone who referenced a video. One video, in which the woman's face can be seen, was allegedly shown during a fraternity house meeting and has been seen by some 200 people.

Study: Florida fathers on average get 50-50 custody

Long gone are the days when mothers were nearly always awarded primary custody of their kids in a divorce. Today, barring significant issues like domestic violence or substance abuse, a divorcing father has a good chance of getting some kind of shared custody of his children if he seeks it. When custody decisions go before judges, their primary concern is what's in the children's best interests. One Florida judge notes that these "may take many forms."

State laws and judges' attitudes vary, however. The custody scheduling software company Custody X Change did a study of how each state ranks in granting fathers equal parenting time with their kids. The company looked at cases where both parents were seeking custody of their children, and there were no circumstances that would have warranted a father being denied custody.

Florida attorney calls $4 jury award to family 'punitive'

A recent Florida federal civil rights suit received nationwide media attention largely for the amount of money awarded to the plaintiffs by the jury -- $4.

The defendant in the case was the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office. The plaintiffs were the family of a man killed four years ago by a deputy. Two deputies came to his home to investigate a noise complaint involving loud music.

Did you know that drinking alcohol is riskier on the water?

Summer is upon us, classes are over, and you and your friends are heading out in a speedboat for some fun on the water.

One of your buddies wants to bring along a couple of six packs of beer, but drinking alcohol is more dangerous on the water than it is on land. How should you handle the request?

Florida high court deciding whether a child can have 3 parents

Families look a lot different today than they did decades ago — they come in all variations. Most everyone would agree that the most important thing is that kids are loved and cared-for. Of course, people have markedly different opinions on what that means.

Courts all over the country have ruled that three people can be recognized as a child's parents — to some degree. These cases have involved men who helped lesbian couples have children (as was the case in a 2013 Florida court ruling that allowed all three parents' names on a child's birth certificate), biological mothers, fathers, stepparents and also surrogates who carried a child for a couple. The goal of these parents was to have a legally-recognized role in their children's lives.

Choosing a professional to administer your estate plan

You know it's time to put an estate plan in place. However, you're single and you don't have any family members or friends whom you believe are up to the task of being the executor of your estate. Perhaps you asked a few people, and they all turned you down.

Even a well-drafted, thorough estate plan requires a responsible, honest person with organizational skills to administer it. The executor's role includes, at a minimum, collecting and distributing assets and paying bills, taxes and other claims for the estate.

Common fears that keep people in unhappy marriages

Family law attorneys frequently have clients who have stayed in unhappy, unhealthy marriages for too long. Often, people stay out of fear. What kinds of fear keep people in bad marriages?

Fear of change can keep people from taking all kinds of steps they need to take for a better life, including ending a marriage. A key change that people fear if they end their marriage is being alone. However, divorced people often learn to be comfortable without someone always around and even to enjoy being alone. They also realize that they aren't alone, but have friends, family and many other people in their lives.

What you should know before signing a nondisclosure agreement

Nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) have been all over the news in the past year. The NDAs receiving this media attention (those involving disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and President Trump) were designed to prevent people from disclosing alleged bad behavior in return for receiving a large sum of money.

Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney also signed an NDA as part of her sexual abuse settlement with Larry Nassar, the team doctor for USA Gymnastics later convicted of the abuse of multiple gymnasts.

Buying a new home after divorce? Here's what you should know

Many divorcing couples decide to sell the family home and split the proceeds. If you are in the market for a smaller place like a condo or townhouse after your divorce, you'll likely need a mortgage to be able to afford it.

Obtaining a mortgage based on your own credit record and income can be a challenge for many newly-divorced people. It's important for those who are about to be single again to consider what mortgage lenders and other creditors will be looking at as they negotiate their divorce settlement.

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