By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida
I once did a divorce in FOUR days. Here’s how that worked: A race car driver (my client) and his wife arrived at my office by appointment, along with their accountant. The accountant knew the family businesses and finances. Both the husband and wife trusted this accountant, and relied on the fairness of the accountant’s judgment in setting forth the terms of the marital settlement. They all marched into my office on a Thursday; I drafted all the paperwork, petitions, waivers, court orders, hearing notices, and I had them divorced by Monday.
That is an exception to the rule. Here is Palm Beach County, Florida, there are certain family court rules that divorce lawyers have to follow UNLESS a client and spouse WAIVE those rights. Once a divorce petition is served upon the other spouse, the responding spouse has 20 days in which to file an answer and counter petition.
The petitioner then has 45 days from date of filing to produce mandatory disclosure of finances. The respondent has 45 days from date of service to provide mandatory disclosure documents. Once financials are exchanged and reviewed, the parties can schedule mediation which is also mandatory in Palm Beach County. This process usually takes about 3 to 4 months.
At mediation, the case can resolve, and the parties sign a marital settlement agreement. That agreement is then used for the final judgment of divorce, which takes another month or so to go before the judge.
This is a best case scenario. If there is no resolution at mediation, the case goes before the judge in a temporary relief hearing. The judge then sets forth the terms of the separation pending the rest of the divorce proceedings. The “rest” of depositions, discovery, subpeonas, witness interviews, expert witness analysis, etc. can take up to another year or two.
It all really depends upon how litigious or complex the case is and how cooperative or uncooperative the parties are. For more information about the divorce process, 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.