Monday, July 28, 2008
Help Me Howard: License Plate
If you're divorced, there's probably lots of things you'd like to say to your ex. Many we couldn't put on TV. One woman says her ex-husband is driving home a message to her on his license plate. Hoping to put the brakes on it, she turned to Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN-- It's a business Sharon Solano was cut out for.
Sharon Solano: "I've worked on Playmates for Playboy Magazine, Penthouse Magazine and some of the most beautiful women in Dade and Broward."
Her expertise with beautiful women has made hair art studio very successful. Cutting, clipping, extensions and having fun.
Sharon Solano: "The most popular thing we talk about is relationships, rotten relationships."
And when the topic turns to rotten relationships, Sharon can relate.
Sharon Solano: "I had a horrible four-year divorce very expensive, very messy."
She and her ex went their separate ways two years ago, but she is obviously still on his mind.
Sharon Solano: "I had gone to pick up my son one day at his father's apartment complex and noticed that his license plate was a snake plate and it said x-wife."
You read it right. Sharon's former spouse with a personalized Florida license plate of a snake and the word "xw1fe."
Sharon Solano: "The way I see it is he is saying my ex-wife is a snake. At first I laughed, I thought it was the funniest thing, and then I thought, 'You know, it's pretty rotten.'"
Sharon's got a sense of humor. She even framed a picture of the plate to give her something to talk about at work, but then her son brought it up and her smile vanished.
Sharon Solano: "I just think it is pretty rotten that my child has to see this. When I said to my son, did you know about this plate?' He said, 'Yes, it represents you the snake.'"
Devastating, and, to Sharon, in violation of her divorce agreement.
Sharon Solano: "In my divorce it states that my ex-husband and I do not say bad things about each parent, and that goes against the agreement that was signed and finalized by a judge."
In case you're wondering, the snake is a rattler representing Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. Sharon says her ex never went to school there and is using this tag to embarrass her at her son's school.
Sharon Solano: "People know of us connected because of our child. He drops our son off at school, and the parents, teachers and children see this. What is it teaching our children?"
But can an ex appear to call his ex a snake on his license plate? Is it just freedom of speech or is it objectionable? Howard?
Howard Finkelstein: "When it comes to vanity license plates, it is a privilege, and you do not have a First Amendment right to express yourself on your tag. If the state decides your message is objectionable, they can take it away from you, and, to me, legally it's the wrong message to have on a tag."
We then talked to Sharon's ex. He told us the tag doesn't say x-wife alluding to the "1" instead of the "I" in wife. He said he wasn't trying to offend her. That Sharon just wants to be on the news. He then told us he doesn't see any reason to take the tag off.
A spokesperson with the state told us they can't automatically determine if the plate is objectionable, that a review board will examine the case if someone complains and Sharon did that. Filing a formal complaint that will be reviewed by the state on August 12th. If the panel agrees with Sharon, they can take the plate back, and even if the state thinks it's fine, Sharon is not out of luck.
Howard Finkelstein: "Sharon has a second bite at the apple. She can go to court and ask the divorce judge to order her ex to remove the tag from the vehicle and replace it with one that does not insult his ex-wife."
Sharon is now waiting for a decision from Tallahassee and hopes she wins the latest tussle with her ex.
Sharon Solano: "I am happy that he thinks about me all the time 24/7, but I feel sadness for my child."
Patrick Fraser: "And if you want to go after someone on a tag, curse words are out, combinations of certain letters to imply curse words are out and messages to your ex-wife, well, the state's committee determines that. We'll let you know what they think about snake 'xw1fe.'"
Worries got you rattled? You won't be snake bitten if you tag us for some help. You don't need a license to solve problems, just a desire to divorce people from their daily dramas.
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