A Day In The Life of a Divorce Lawyer (for anyone who cares)

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire – West Palm Beach, Florida

It is 8:45 am and I am standing in the West Palm Beach courtroom waiting with my colleagues for my turn to talk to the judge.  I am here on some motion or other…usually procedural…usually with argumentative opposing counsel.  I fight with opposing counsel as the judge listens.  He rules from the bench.  Another court order in the case is born.

After a stop a Dunkin Donuts, my reward for being alert from very early in the morning, I go up to my office.  As I put my hand on the door knob, I start to hyperventilate and worry about what is waiting for me on the other side of that door.  I am usually not disappointed…as the saying goes, it’s always something. 

Something could mean a new client on the phone; an existing client complaining about his bill; a saleman trying to sell me malpractice insurance; opposing counsel phone messages, faxes, emails. By 9:30 it’s information overload. 

Then the appointments start arriving, filling out forms, wanting to talk to a lawyer.  We always offer coffee and a hand to hold, as family law clients are always as stressed as we are, or moreso.  I try not to, but I do, get involved in my clients’ intimate life.  What gets me is as follows:  if a wife is purposely spending her husband into the poorhouse; a father failing to return children to the wife; emotionally battered, tired or sexless husbands; physically hurt wives with bruises and tears, betrayal, lies, and all around misery.  I try to help, by taking down the facts and assigning the case to one of our very experienced family law attorneys.  Sometimes I cannot help.  The law does not protect unmarried, unmoneyed, aging women who are thrown out on the street after years in a relationship but without a co-habitation agreement.  I see a lot of sad situations.

Time to open the mail and along comes another court order.  We WON!  Quick, call the client and order lunch for the entire staff!  We are good, after all, with our research, strategizing, letters to opposing counsel, posturing, bluffing, proof.  All that testimony, expert witnesses, numbers flying around the courtroom, this scenario, that scenario, evidence marked, deposition transcripts, all that work and preparation.  All that money spent on us. 

By 4pm it’s time for a courthouse run to file more notices, motions, and pleadings.  Our paralegals are at their computers, our lawyers are in conferences with clients or drafting documents.  The phone is ringing off the hook, or sometimes it’s not and the place sounds like a morgue.  That is when I worry most.  

I am the founder and owner of the Firm.  Ultimate responsibility for EVERYTHNG rests with me.  I hardly rest at all.  I am fighting with opposing counsel, fighting with my staff, fighting with clients who don’t follow advice or direction, fighting with suppliers whose bills I can’t understand, fighting with judicial assistants and mediators to give me more time for this or that.  I put out fires all day long, trouble shoot, explain things to clients who don’t get it, pay bills, and run the Firm. 

By 8pm I am exhausted at my desk.  And some of us are still working, preparing for that trial tomorrow, or generating bills for the mail.  My FIRM is generally humming from 7am until 9pm with different staff members coming and going.  We are all busy.  We shout, we cry, we celebrate, we joke, we throw books at the wall, we pop the champagne.  The law office of Robin Roshkind, P.A. is the law firm of love.  We all love what we do, because we are good at it; we are a family, and we are helping people get through the most difficult transition for their families.   

For more information about the law office of Robin Roshkind, P.A. go to our web site at www.familylawwpb.com or call one of our attorneys at 561-835-9091.

Foreclosure, Short Sale, and the Divorce

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire – West Palm Beach, Florida

When spouses are angry enough at each other resulting in a vindictive, hateful divorce, their finances often suffer.  Who pays for what becomes a huge bone of contention.  The mortgage payment is the first to go, especially if the paying spouse is the one to move out pending resolution of the divorce, and there is no build up of equity.  Aside from getting a court order for the spouse to continue paying, there is something else you can do to avoid foreclosure proceedings.

Together with your spouse, put your house on the market.  If you get a buyer at any price, perhaps the lender will consider a short sale.  If your spouse won’t agree to sell, you may be able to obtain a court order directing the listing and sale.  If both names are on the deed to a home, a listing agreement must contain both signatures. 

This Firm co-counsels with a board certified real estate lawyer in Palm Beach County to help our clients achieve listing and short sales.  Do something today to avoid foreclosure tomorrow.  For more information, see our Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com or call Robin Roshkind, P.A. at 561-835-9091 for a consultation with one of our attorneys.

Same Sex Couples Need Legal Services. Here’s why…

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire – West Palm Beach, Florida

Sometimes, a traditionally married homosexual man or woman finds he or she cannot take a heterosexual life anymore.  They not only come out of the closet, they come out of a heterosexual marriage to find a same sex partner more suitable to their sexual orientation. 

Aside from the obvious divorce scenario, and perhaps even custody battles, same sex couples need the following documents drafted and executed:

1.  A pre-need guardianship.  This is in case one or the other party becomes incapacitated.  Since same sex couples do not have the same rights as marrieds, this document is important to determine a guardianship situation.  Guardianship is two-fold: power over the person and the property.

2.  Power of attorney.  This gives the other partner powers to sell, rent, contract, take bank drafts, pay bills and more.  It literally gives the partner power to stand in the shoes of the partner in a legal sense.

3.   Living will.  Everyone should have this.  It dictates who will be standing over you should you be in a vegetative state and be deciding how and when “to pull the plug.”  You can appoint your partner and your doctor, your siblings, anyone else you want to. 

4.  Health care surrogacy.  This document names who you want to stand in your shoes to make medical decisions for you should you become unable to do this on your own.  In normal marriages, it is the spouse.  Not so, in same sex couple relationships, unless there is a signed, notarized health care surrogacy document. 

5.  A will or trust.  Nothing will be left to your same sex partner unless you say so, formally, legally.

6.  Organ donor documents.  If you want to be an organ donor, you need to tell someone, formally, legally.

7.  Co habitation agreements.  This is important because it frames the ongoing relationship as well as outlines the potential, possible break up.  It delineates whose property is belongs to whom, who pays for what in running the household, and puts forth the couples’ rights, responsibilities and obligations.  These documents play an important role in the break up because there is no “legal divorce” from a same sex partnership.  The co habitation agreement controls.  It comes under contract law not family law.

For more information about these legal documents for same sex couples in Florida, please visit the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com or call Robin Roshkind, P.A. for a consultation with one of our attorneys at 561-835-9091.

Children and Florida Divorce…your behavior affects them.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire – West Palm Beach, Florida

Children are often the victims of divorce due to the anger between two parents.  They become the pawns in the relationship between divorcing parents; they are caught in the middle and are sometimes left to fend for themselves.

Issues involving children can emcompass the following: 

1. Moving out of state:  One parent wants to prevent the other from a relationship with the child and is determined to move away.   In Florida, the law:  the best interests of the child prevails.   If the move is proven to be in the best interests of the child, the court will allow the relocation. 

2.  Fighting over the child’s time:  Especially when there are teenagers who have their own friends and agenda, kids can’t stand it when they HAVE TO go to one parent or the other instead of to soccer practice.  If it is YOUR time, or your timesharing, be flexible and consider what the child wants.

3.  One upmanship:  Don’t try to “buy” your kids or entice them with more than the other parent.  They will pit the two of you against each other.  Kids are smart and know how to take advantage of the situation.

4.  Children’s clothing, shoes, books, toys:  Kids should have these things at both parents’ homes.  It is not right for a child to have to pack PJs every time they travel between homes.

5.  Messenger service:  Your child is not your messenger between you and the spouse or ex spouse.  This is harmful.

6.  Disparaging one parent to the child:  It is common knowledge that a child sees himself as a combination of the two of you.  Don’t degrade one half of him or her.

7.  Neglect is the worst thing you can do to your child in order to hurt the the child or the other parent.  You are divorcing your spouse, not your child.  Sometimes children are forced to choose sides, and this is not healthy.

For more information about children and divorce, please go to the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com or call today for a consultation with one of our attorneys in West Palm Beach, Florida.   Robin Roshkind, P.A. 561-835-9091.