JUNE 2020
The latest news and updates
Wishing Our Friend A Great Retirement
Ed Burford, Veterans Services Officer for Seminole County’s Veteran Services Division, is retiring. Mr. Burford has been an incredible part of our community and has dedicated his time to raising awareness and acknowledgement of the value of Veterans throughout Seminole County. During his 11 years as Veteran Service Officer, he accomplished that and more. When reflecting on his time working with Seminole County, he notes “Someone once said that life is about the journey, not about the destination and this has been an exciting journey for me. I like to believe that the accomplishments of the Veterans Services Office have been beneficial to the Veterans, survivors and dependents of the Seminole County.” We wish him the very best and hope he enjoys his next journey in retirement. We thank you Ed Burford, for your assistance in bettering our community.
Seminole County Small Business
Grant Application
Seminole County has established a grant program designed to aid small businesses struggling amid the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus. Starting June 1 st , small businesses located in Seminole County can apply for a one time grant of up to $5,000. The businesses must be physically established within Unincorporated Seminole County or one of the County’s cities (Altamonte Springs, Casselberry, Lake Mary, Longwood, Oviedo, or Winter Springs).  To review more details, eligibility requirements and application, please click here .
 
Businesses located within the City of Sanford can apply for the city’s economic development grant. Please contact Sonia Fonseca for additional information Sonia.fonseca@sanfordfl.gov . If you are uncertain of your business jurisdiction, verify your address in the Address Jurisdiction Locator on this website.
Fathers Have Rights Too!
Written by Sue Selsky, Esq.
In this month where we honor all the fathers out there, it’s important to understand Florida law as it relates to paternity, timesharing (visitation), and child support. This article will give a brief overview of your paternal rights as they pertain to your child. Please note: this article is meant to be informative only and it is not intended as legal advice. 

First, in Florida, if you are married to the mother of your child, you automatically have the same legal rights to your child as your spouse. This means even if you are separated from your wife, you still have the right to see your child and to have companionship with your child.  If you are separated from your wife, and she is denying contact with your children for no legitimate reason, you should contact an attorney for help and more information.
 
Second, for those fathers who are not married to the mother of their child, unfortunately without an order from the court (called a Final Judgment of Paternity) which can   give you all the same parental rights as the mother, the mother is entitled to deny any timesharing (visitation).  That’s because according to Florida Law, if there is no court order to the contrary, the mother of a child born out of wedlock is considered to be the only legal parent of that child.  The good news is that the public policy of the state of Florida is to encourage and facilitate both parents to be involved and have an ongoing relationship with their children, despite the circumstances of their parents. 

Also, even if the mother starts a Department of Revenue case against the father to get child support and he is ordered to pay child support, that still does not give the father equal rights under the law for spending time with the child. And by the way, because a father is not paying child support to the mother that does NOT give her the right to withhold contact if the parties are married, or if in a paternity situation an order has already been entered by the court giving the father timesharing with the child.

Finally, there is a common misconception that if a man’s name is on the child’s birth certificate he is automatically considered the father and has the same parental rights as the mother. It’s true, there is now a presumption that he is the father, but until he files a paternity action in court to establish his parental rights, it remains just that, a presumption.

Our office assists with   divorces, and paternity cases to establish timesharing and other issues related to children.   Contact us today to see if we can help you; our office can assist low income, eligible applicants with your particular case. Have a Happy Father’s Day!
Hurricane Supplies-Tax Free Days
Written By Carolina Hernandez
Beginning May 29 th and continuing until June 4 th, individuals can begin their emergency preparedness for Hurricane Season. During this time, disaster preparedness items will be exempt from sales tax to people prepare.

Please click here to view a flyer publicized flyer by the Department of Revenue, which includes exclusion and restrictions along with qualifying items.
Florida Reemployment and
Federal Unemployment Assistance
Did a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility take your Stimulus Check or the Stimulus Check
of your Loved One?
Written by Silvia McLain, Esq.
The recent economic impact payments are, according to the CARES ACT, a tax credit. The tax law says that the tax credits do not count as “resources” for federal benefits programs, like Medicaid. A nursing home and assisted living facility cannot take that money from their residents just because the resident is on Medicaid. Some facilities are confused about the law and have taken away the payments from residents. If a loved one lives in a nursing facility and you are not sure what happened to their payment, talk with them soon. If you are not able to resolve the concern, you can contact the Florida Attorney General office, and then contact the FTC . You can also contact our office for assistance.  
 
For further information, you can go right here to get the federal tax law that says refunds are not considered a resource in federal benefits programs like Medicaid. And you can click this link to get the congressional summary that speaks about the funds as tax credits not countable as resources for federal program (page 3). The information for this article was obtained from consumer alert from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. 
ALICE in Florida: A Financial Hardship Study
Written by Silvia McLain, Esq.
The recently released ALICE study offers a point in time snapshot of economic conditions across the counties in the state of Florida in 2018. ALICE is an acronym that stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed – households with income above the Federal Poverty Level but below the basic cost of living. It exposes the economic fragility and widespread hardship faced by families that do not earn enough to afford basic necessities. The report highlighted the cost of living is increasing for ALICE households. From 2007 to 2018, the cost of household essentials (housing, child care, food, transportation, health care and technology) increased faster than the cost of other goods and services. It found ALICE workers vulnerable as they had more fluctuations in job hours, schedules, and benefits and minimal increases in wages that make it harder to budget and plan. These workers were paid by the hour. They are also less likely to receive benefits, such as health insurance, paid time off, family leave, or retirement benefits.

The costs of financial instability are cumulative and intensify over time. Skimping on essentials, from food to health care, leads to greater long term problems. Failure to pay bills on time leads to fees, penalties, and low credit scores, which in turn increase interest rates, insurance rates, and cost for financial transactions (from check-cashing fees to payday loans.) ALICE households cannot save for future expenses like education, retirement, or a down payment on a house. See additional details at by clicking here for a overview or here to view the full report.

In the report, Seminole County statistics concerning ALICE residents improved. Our county did not only see a drop in the number of households in poverty, but also ALICE households distinguishing it from the rest of Central Florida. Formerly 39% below the ALICE threshold, now Seminole County is 33%. We only have 24% of residents living in the ALICE thresholds and 9% in poverty. Despite this good news, the COVID-19 pandemic has seriously stricken this vulnerable part of the population and added to their economic struggles.
Flag Day
Written by Yvonne Alonso, Esq.
In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated annually on June 14 th . It commemorates the adoption of the Unites States flag which occurred on June 14, 1777. Though not an official federal holiday, in 1916 President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 th as Flag Day and in 1949 National Flag Day was established by Congress.

The American flag, often referred to as “Old Glory” continues to stand as an enduring symbol of this country’s ideals and as a representation of freedom. Though its changed design over the centuries, it consists of 13 equal sized horizontal red stripes, alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton bearing 50 white stars. Each of the stars represent one of the 50 states and the 13 stripes represent the original 13 colonies that became the first states in the Union.
Virtual Legal Assistance for Veterans
The Veterans Legal Advice Clinic held at the Seminole County Library in Casselberry the second Thursday of every month is cancelled because the library is currently closed.

Seminole County Legal Aid Society will offer virtual legal advice by telephone to Veterans who have questions regarding Family Law and Housing matters. For assistance please call (863) 272-9731 to schedule a time to speak to an attorney.
Summer is Arriving.
Learn Which Day will be the Longest Day of Sunlight this Summer 2020
Written by Carolina Hernandez
Saturday, June 20th at exactly 5:44 PM, marks the beginning of Summer in the Northern Hemisphere. This day is signified by the Summer Solstice, which indicates the time when the North Pole is at Maximum tilt towards the sun. This in turn creates the “longest” day of Summer, meaning the most amount of time with direct sunlight in a day.

Please click here to view a calculator that will allow you to put in your location to tell you the exact number of hours you will be receiving sunlight on any particular day!
Beware: Hackers are Tricking People on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet
Written by Victoria Thacker
Due to COVID-19, the amount of individuals using video-calling services has increased. Consequentially, there has been an increase of hackers and scammers attempting to take advantage of videoconferencing users. These scammers are known to send out fake domain URLs that look like official Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet links. When these fake links are clicked on by users, malware will be automatically downloaded onto the computer of the user. To learn more about how to protect yourself, please click here.
We Will Never Forget
Written by Daniel Woodruff
All uniformed deputies at the Seminole County Sheriff’s office wear a pin bearing the Roman Numeral VI as a tribute and remembrance of the 6 Seminole County deputies giving their life while serving our community. Their lives are memorialized in the new documentary program, “ Our Six Heroes ”. The documentary shares the lives of the six fallen deputies: Deputy Sheriff James Cleveland Jacobs (1922), Deputy Sheriff Robert O. Moore (1975), Deputy Sheriff George A. Pfeil (1977), Deputy Sheriff Hugh Ellis Thomas Jr (1989), Deputy Sheriff Eugene Andrew Gregory (1998), and Deputy Sheriff Matt Miller (2011).

The documentary tells personal and family stories about each man and highlights their individual courage and sacrifice. Each gave their life protecting our safety and freedoms. Throughout our county, we see reminders of their service and sacrifice, such as H. E. Thomas Parkway (named after Deputy Thomas), the Deputy Matt Miller Memorial Boulevard (stretch of Maitland Boulevard) or the reformed Baker Act Law advocated by Deputy Gregory’s family helping those with mental illness and protecting law enforcement.

These deputies are our heroes and we honor them and their families, today and every day for their sacrifices for us. We thank them and all the deputies of the Seminole County Sheriff’s office for their service and dedication. We express our gratitude to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office for sharing the deputies’ legacies. 

Rights and Remedies for the Hotel/Motel Occupant
New Administrative Orders

In Re: Comprehensive Covid-19 Emergency Measures For The Florida State Courts

In Re: Limited Extension of Mortgage Foreclosure and Eviction Relief

In Re: Clerk of Court - CARES Act Information Sheet for Residential Eviction Cases
A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL FREE 1-800-435-7352, WITHIN THE STATE OR ONLINE AT WWW.FRESHFROMFLORIDA.COM. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. OUR REGISTRATION NUMBER IS 1944.