If you were the divorce court judge…

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

You’ve filed and served divorce papers to your spouse.  You’ve exchanged mandatory discovery documents for financial disclosure.  You’ve been to mediation with your lawyer, your spouse and your spouse’ lawyer and no agreement was reached.  Now it’s time to go to court.

If you were the judge, how would your rule?  You have to put yourself in the chair of the judge and think about it.  It is almost an out of body experience.

The judge sits there day in day out listening to lawyers argue the same thing: need and ability to pay for an award of alimony;  what is in the best interests of the child for living arrangements and time sharing; bickering attorneys trying to get advance attorneys fees to prepare for trial; deposition testimony, witness testimony, charts, graphs, accounting.  Judges have lots of discretion in the courtroom and impressions count.  So does clarity, brevity, honesty, and candor. 

That is where the skill of your lawyer shines through.  He or she controls the flow of information to the judge one step at a time.  He or she sets the mood and timing of the testimony.  He or she tells the story, the where, who and why.  He or she asks the court for relief and provides backup evidence that is admissible. 

If you think you can do a trial by yourself, think again about what the judge requires and what skills set the lawyer has to get to the point.  For more information consult with one of the attorneys at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com.

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Tips if you are planning to file for divorce.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

There are certain things to do if you are planning to file for divorce.  Below is a suggested list of how to prepare:

1.  Organize your financial papers and photocopy everything. 

2.  Bring them to your divorce lawyer so they are out of the house.

3.  Remove small items that are important to you like jewelry.

4.  Make a plan for the children.

5.  Discuss service of papers with your spouse or if that is not possible arrange to be out of the house when he/she is served.

6.  Photograph paintings, antiques, piano or other home furnishings of value.  Deliver the photos to your divorce lawyer for safekeeping.

7.  Arrange for a post office box or a friend to receive your confidential mail.

8.  Set up a separate bank account.

9.  Get a credit card in your own name if you don’t already have one.

10.  Get support from friends and family, or see a therapist. It will make the process easier.

For more information about this or other divorce topics, consult with one of the attorneys at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com.

Should you avoid service of divorce papers?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Your marriage is falling apart.  Your spouse has told you he/she has consulted a divorce lawyer.  You know it is just a matter of time.  Should you avoid service of the divorce papers?

In the state of Florida, if one party wants a divorce, then a divorce is imminent.  The matter of due process arises, because the other party needs to be put officially “on notice” of the proceeding against you.  That is why you often hear the words “sue for divorce”.  It is, in fact, a lawsuit.

The general rule is to make yourself available for service of the papers by either the sheriff or a process server.  By avoiding service, and making delivery difficult, it only puts off the inevitable. 

In collaborative divorce cases, where the parties are trying to be amicable and civil, the respondent spouse can avoid service of process by “agreeing” to sign a waiver of service.  This is  an acknowledgment of “accepting” the papers by mail or hand delivery by the spouse after the waiver” document is executed.  It is simply a “nicer” way to get divorced.  One other nice alternative is to have the respondent attorney accept service of divorce papers on behalf of the client. 

Without service or waiver, if a spouse cannot be located, the only other way to proceed to divorce court is to file an affidavit of diligent search, and publish the announcement of the divorce suit in the legal newspaper.

For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the attorneys at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091, or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com.

Is he/she cheating on you???

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beac, Florida

If you discover that your spouse has been unfaithful, what are your legal options? 

The MERE fact of unfaithfulness is not a legal matter. in Florida.  However, your recourse can be of the legal variety.  You can either forgive and forget, OR you can divorce. 

If you choose divorce, then the legal question becomes a matter of money.  Has any SUBSTANTIAL monies been spent on this OTHER MAN or OTHER WOMAN?  If so, then you have a dissipation of marital assets issue.

Another relevant legal issue would be detriment to any children.  If that is the case, you need to file those allegations, and let the court decide what is in the best interests of the children.

If you want more information about any divorce topic, consult with one of the lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. by calling 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com.

What makes a parent “unfit”.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

When it comes to time sharing with children, or paternity actions where the father is finally adjudicated the father by DNA testing, the court has to determine the best interests of the child/ren.  The same holds true for cases where a parent wants to relocate and the other parent does not give permission and a court order is sought.

Allegations of “unfit parent” can arise to thwart the relationship of the “undesireable” parent.  However, “undesireable” is not the same as “unfit”. 

Under the laws of the State of Florida, BOTH child and parent have rights,  UNLESS a parent is adjudicated “unfit” in a court of law.  The case law defines “unfit” as a parent who is unable to take care of him or herself…unable to take care of the child…one who abandons, abuses or neglects a child…an alcoholic, a drug abuser, a party person til 3 am every night…you get the picture.

Parents may not agree with parenting styles or decisionmaking or even lifestyles of the other parent, but that is not enough to make a parent “unfit” in the eyes of the law.  

The way courts handle an unfit parent is to order supervised time sharing, order parenting classes, order the parent to counseling, order the parent to a psych evaluation, and to take normal rights away until the parent is rehabilitated and the child is safe with that parent. 

For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the attorneys at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com.

Replacing your divorce lawyer.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

The question came up after a court hearing, from one of my POTENTIAL clients, who was not very happy with the outcome.   The judge found entirely for the wife on this particular issue and he did not feel his attorney did a good job.  He wanted to fire his present attorney and hire our firm.   He just wasn’t sure that was “allowed” or if it was, if it was a good idea to change attorneys in the middle of the case.

There are two things to consider when faced with this situation:  1) you CAN change lawyers any time you want to , and 2) if your gut is telling you to do it, do it!

One caveat is that you can’t always blame the lawyer for a bad, wrong, or unfavorable decision by the judge.  Simply put, A GOOD LAWYER CAN GET BAD RESULTS THROUGH NO FAULT OF HIS OR HER OWN.   So before you run off to fire your present counsel, think about whether or not the representation was lacking or was it just a matter of the judge making a “bad” decision.

 Assuming you are not happy with present counsel, then you can fire that attorney and hire a new one.  This is accomplished by a substitution of counsel that the new attorney, the old attorney and the client signs, and the new attorney will file it with the court.  It is done quite often and the same lawyers have been on both the fired and hired end of the equation.  We are professionals and don’t take it personally.  So if you think you might want to change attorneys, the moral of the story is to trust your instincts.

For more information about this or other divorce topics, consult with one of the attorneys at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com.

Making the decision to divorce.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

It is a lot easier to decide to marry than it is to decide to divorce.  Now, there may be children involved, assets, debts, marital problems, even threats and domestic violence.

The best advice I can give to anyone who is even thinking about divorce, is to consult with a marriage counselor.  A therapist /psychologist is trained to help you analyze your situation from an emotional standpoint.  Are you strong enough to take on the stress of even an amicable divorce?  If not, you may have to work on that for a couple of months before proceeding to the divorce lawyer. 

Once you have come to the conclusion that divorce is your only option, a consultation with a divorce lawyer may make you feel better about having a specific plan in place to protect yourself, physically, emotionally, and financially.  You don’t have to continue to live in a disruptive situation.  You do have options and there is lots of hope for a brighter future.

For more information consult with one of the attorneys at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com.