Agreed Orders And How They Work

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In divorce cases, sometimes the problems are caused by opposing counsel. We divorce lawyers have an obligation to represent our clients diligently, to the best of our knowledge and ability.  We also have liability and the Florida Bar breathing down our legal necks.

So even though we may not want to do certain things in the representation of our divorce clients, even though we may want to avoid running up our client’s attorneys fees, we may have to.  That is when I often suggest agreed orders.

If there is a mediation, instead of going to court for an order, I get an agreed order from opposing counsel.  In discovery requests, instead of doing nasty motions to compel, I like to do agreed orders giving the other party time to gather the documents.    On motions for extension of time, I ask for an agreed order stating when the extension will run.  I try as much as possible to defuse disputes with the opposing party by asking or demanding agreed orders.  I also expect the same courtesy from my colleagues.

Agreed orders are signed by the judge and submitted into the court file.  They are as enforceable as if they came from a court hearing.  If you are planning on getting a divorce in Palm Beach County, Florida, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

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Divorce and the Prenuptial Agreement

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

No one goes into a marriage thinking it will end in divorce.  However, where there are substantial assets to protect and perhaps a family from another relationship, a prenuptial agreement anticipates a divorce and prepares the parties for it prior to the marriage.

I have a client who married after living with a woman for three years.  The marriage lasted two.  He came to me and wanted to file for divorce.  The first question I asked was is his wife going to contest the prenup.  He indicated that she was not, and so the divorce would be fairly simple.

Guess what?  He was wrong.  The wife was an immigrant who did not read English very well.  She claimed in her divorce petition that she did not understand what she was signing when she signed the prenup.  They are still in litigation over this. 

I did not prepare the prenuptial agreement but if I had, I would have videotaped the signing of it, making it much more difficult for the wife to play this game. 

The point of this story is that anyone can contest or challenge a prenuptial agreement in a divorce case.  The question is whether or not the challenger will prevail.  The burden of proof requires fraud, over reaching, duress, misrepresentation, shame marriage. 

For more information, or if you are planning a marriage or a divorce in Palm Beach County, Florida call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

Divorcing Homeowners May Have Serious Problems

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

If you are divorcing in Palm Beach County, Florida, and own a home that your spouse  is going to keep, if there is a mortgage on that home, it could cause problems for you.  Here is why:  your spouse is going to buy you out of any equity in the home.  In order to do that, he/she needs to refinance the home.  He/she may not qualify, so for you to get your check, you may need to co sign a new mortgage, which leaves you liable if your spouse defaults.

In another scenario, if there is NO EQUITY in the marital home, and your spouse is going to keep the home and live there,  you will need to quit claim deed the home to your spouse.  Just because the home is now hers/his, does NOT release you from your original liability of the original mortgage you both took out as a married couple.  UNLESS your spouse can qualify for a new mortgage, by way of a refinance, on his/her own, you will still be liable to the lender for the original mortgage on a home you do not own, if your spouse cannot or will  not pay the obligation.  In other words your good credit may be at the mercy of your ex.

It used to be that divorcing couples would fight over which one of them keeps the marital home.  Now couples are fighting over which one of them does not keep the marital home.  From the lender’s standpoint, nothing has changed unless there is a refinance in the sole name of the spouse who is going to live there.   The only other alternative is a short sale to a third party.  Should that occur the deficiency belongs to both of you.

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

What To Bring With You To The First Meeting With A Divorce Lawyer

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Some divorce lawyers in Palm Beach County, Florida, give free consultations.  I do not.  That is because I conduct an in depth interview, I look over documents and most importantly, I give legal advice for which I am liable.  I want my clients to know that I take the time and care required before I open my mouth.

Think about what you are paying for when you go to see a lawyer…his/her time, and expertise.  Why other lawyers give their services away is a mystery to me.  Maybe they don’t value what they are doing.  Why should the client?   So instead of doing free consultations, I give of my time and expertise, which I value. 

That being said, here is what I like to see and discuss at our first consultation meeting:

1.  Some knowledge of the family finances.  You would be surprised how may wives don’t know what their husbands earn.   Copies of  pay stubs and tax returns are welcomed.

2.  Information about the marital home, such as purchase price and year, amount owed, monthly payments, back taxes, HOA fees, and a general idea of what the house would sell for in today’s marketplace.  You can get this casually from a realtor who works your neighborhood.

3.  What the couple would like to see arranged as far as any children are concerned.  They must have had discussions and I would like to know the direction of those talks, if any.

4.  Who the spouse’s lawyer is by name if applicable.  I can often tell if a case is going to settle or going to trial by the name of the lawyer representing the other party. 

5.  Information on other real estate owned by the parties. 

6.  Business documentation if a business was founded during the marriage.

7.  A list of marital and non marital stuff.

This information gets me off to a good start toward creating some possible scenarios for my client.  The purpose of my consultation is to educate the client, calm the fears, determine the potential disputes, and discuss rights and options.   If you are thinking about divorce in Palm Beach County, Florida, call for a consultation at 561 835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

What To Expect At A Deposition

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

If your divorce case does not settle in mediation or prior to mediation, the lawyers will set a temporary relief hearing to put in place rules to live by pending the divorce proceedings and the final judgment or outcome.

Part of the preparation that divorce lawyers do for the court hearing is taking the deposition of the parties and probable witnesses.  Depositions are usually taken in neutral places such as a court reporters office.  Opposing counsel can ask almost anything at a deposition, whether or not there is relevance.  It is a time when the other lawyer really cannot object to any question other than to form.  In the event that an objection to a question is stated, if the question remains unanswered, it will be taken to the judge for a decision as to whether or not the deponent has to answer the question.  This could be questions that are protected by privilege, such as the marriage or doctor patient privilege, or questions concerning criminal activity, in which a party can assert his/her 5th amendment rights.

Deposition questions in divorce matters can be tricky so I prepare all my clients prior to their depositions.  For more information about this divorce topic call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

What To Expect At Mediation

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

All parties to a divorce in Palm Beach County, Florida, MUST attend a mediation session prior to going to court for temporary and permanent relief.

Mediation can be through the court system or with a private mediator.   The lawyers set up the mediation AFTER having all the mandatory disclosure documents that are required to be exchanged by the parties, so each can know the other’s finances and the finances of the family.  This includes a financial affidavit. 

I have had mediation sessions where everyone is in the same room, and face to face negotiations can take place.  I find this very effective, but only if the parties are amicable. 

Where husbands and wives are angry, vindictive and vengeful, it helps to break out into two separate rooms with the mediator going back and forth between the parties.  This normally keeps emotions in check.

An effective mediation is where the parties are reasonable, motivated and collaborative.  For more information about your specific situation, please call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

What Does Shared Parental Responsibility Mean?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

When children are involved in a divorce, the issues become many, to be decided amongst the husband and wife or ordered by the court in the best interests of the children.  The first issue is time sharing.  Where will the children spend most of their time.  Or will it be a 50/50 split between husband and wife?  After time sharing is determined, then the child support calculation is done.  Who will pay what to whom?  Then there are other considerations like health insurance, uncovered medical bills, transportation, private school, camp, vacation time with each parent, and shared parental responsibility.

What does shared parental responsibility mean?  First, both parents are obligated to support their children.  Second, with major decisions affecting the child’s life, both parents have equal say.  For example, whether or not the children are brought up in a certain religion, whether or not they go to private school or public school, whether they take piano lessons or golf lessons, where they spend the summers, should they have braces.  In short, parents SHARE all major decision making.

When a child is with a specific parent on any given day during that parent’s time sharing,  it is that parent who makes the day to day decisions without interference from the other parent.

If you are thinking about divorce in Palm Beach County, Florida, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com for more information.