Is It Possible To Have A Partial Divorce Settlement?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Yes, you can have a partial final marital settlement agreement which becomes part of your final judgment for divorce.

Here is how it goes:  All parties to a divorce in Palm Beach County must attend mediation to attempt a fair and reasonable settlement of the issues between the husband and wife.  At mediation, three things are possible:  either a full, global settlement of everything; a totally unresolved divorce; or a partial agreement on some of the issues.

This partial agreement becomes part of a final judgment of dissolution of marriage.  The remaining issue or issues get to be presented before the divorce court judge.

For example, let’s say a couple is in agreement over the equitable division of marital assets and debts, but cannot agree on a time sharing arrangement that is in the best interests of the child.  They sign a partial marital settlement agreement dividing all the assets and debts between them.  Then they litigate what each believes is in the best interests of the children so the court will then decide those issues.  That judge’s decision along with the partial settlement agreement becomes the total final judgment of divorce in the form of a court order signed by the judge.

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

What If HeShe Won’t Return The Child?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

You have a court order in place giving each parent a time sharing schedule.   The other parent won’t return the child per the court ordered schedule.  You can do one of several things:

You can call the police and maybe they will intervene and maybe they won’t.  It depends upon how busy they are at the moment.  The real truth is that keeping one’s own child is not a criminal act unless the child is removed from the country.  Otherwise it is a civil matter and up to the discretion of the police if they want to get involved. 

You can call your lawyer.  The lawyer will file for an immediate pick up order if the child is endangered.  Or if not, the lawyer will file a motion for contempt and enforcement of the court order.  However, this takes time to get into a court hearing.  Such issues are not seen as emergencies by the judge unless the child is somehow endangered.

You can appeal to the common sense of the wrong doing parent.  This usually does not work.

Where there is no court order for time sharing or custody in place yet, as in a paternity case that has yet to be adjudicated, or in a divorce case that is still pending and time sharing has not yet been established, that makes it more difficult to control.

The best advice is to get some arrangement agreed upon and make into a court order as soon as possible.  That way, if one of the other parent keeps the child without permission, and in violation of the court order, you have recourse.  For more information about this or other divorce topics, 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 Is A Motion To Compel?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

A motion to compel is filed with the divorce court and heard by the divorce court judge when a party to a divorce does not do something required to get the divorce finalized.  Usually a motion to compel has a request for attorneys fees or sanctions in it, since the filing of this type of motion was caused by the bad behavior of the other party, for which he/she might have to pay your attorneys fees and costs for having to bring the motion in the first place.

Motions to compel are filed when your spouse does not provide things you are entitled to in the divorce process.  For example:

1) A financial affidavit which is a requirement for a divorce in Palm Beach County, Florida

2) Mandatory disclosure, including tax returns, bank statements, credit card bills, pay stubs, and the like,  including other financial information to which you are entitled to.

3)  If your spouse refuses to take the required parenting class and file a certificate of completion.

4)  If better answers to requested interrogatories are necessary and not provided, the divorce court judge may compel better or more complete answers.  The divorce court judge can also compel a party to comply with a request to produce.

5)  The court can also compel attendance at mediation and require the erring spouse to pay for the other party.

Motions to compel are case specific and depend upon what is required and what is not complied with in the divorce process.  Don’t forget to ask for an award of attorneys fees in motions to compel.  For more information about this or other divorce topics in Palm Beach County divorce courts, 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.

Can A Divorce Court Judge Force The Sale Of The Marital Home?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

The answer is yes…if the parties cannot agree between themselves what to do with the marital home, the divorce court judge can order that the marital home be sold in the prevailing marketplace, and at fair market value, with the net proceeds, if any, split between the parties, as well as any dificiencies.  Usually the split is 50/50, but there are certain circumstances under which the divisionof net proceeds or dificiencies may be unequal.

For example, if the wife proves in court that the husband has spent substantial amounts of money on a paramour, or gambling habit, or drugs.  This is called marital waste or dissipation of marital assets.  Another example is where a spouse sold a home prior to the marriage and then used those funds to purchase the marital home, when the marital home sells, the spouse gets that premarital money off the top before a distribution.  In other words, where the case calls for an unequal split of the  marital estate, the net proceeds or dificiencies from any sale of property may be less than equal.

There are several other ways in which a marital home can be dealt with in divorce court.  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.

Can A Judge Deny A Divorce In Florida?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

The answer is yes… a judge can deny a divorce on several different levels.

First it is a requirement that financial affidavits and full disclosure of marital assets, debts and pre marital property is available to the other party.  Without this requirement of MANDATORY DISCLOSURE being met, the judge WILL postpone the divorce proceedings until one or both parties comply.

Secondly, where there are children involved in the devastated marriage, a child support calculation worksheet MUST be in the court file.  Without this, the judge can deny the divorce.

Thirdly, both parents must take the 4 hour parenting class and provide a certificate as proof.

The marriage has to be irretrievably broken and the parties have to testify as such.  Or else the judge can deny the divorce.

If residency requirements of 6 months prior to filing the petition for dissolution of marriage is not met, the judge can deny the divorce.

There are other reasons a judge may deny a divorce or at least postpone the proceedings.  If the judge passes a court order and the parties don’t comply, someone is going to be sanctioned.  For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND,P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

Pre Nuptial Agreements and Divorce…Do They Stick?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

I get this question all the time in my practice…is my prenuptial agreement enforceable, now that I wish to divorce?  The answer is it depends upon the circumstances in which it was agreed upon.

The initial test is how long before the wedding was the prenuptial agreement negotiated and executed?  If was less than 30 days, there could be a duress claim.

Did both parties have representation by lawyers?  If one party had a lawyer and the other didn’t, there could be an over reaching claim.

Was there truthful and full disclosure of finances on behalf of both parties?  You need to know what rights you are waiving when you waive rights via a prenuptial agreement.  Also, full disclosure avoids a claim of fraud.

Did the parties read, understand and agree to what they were signing with full knowledge and intent to be bound?  Everyone should read and understand what they are agreeing to.

Is there any language barrier?  This goes to the last point of reading and understanding the prenuptial agreement.

If there is any doubt about the above points, a prenuptial agreement can be challenged and perhaps voided.

Prenuptial agreements control what happens to your future.  They are expensive to prepare and sometimes require the expertise of tax advisors and estate planning counsel as well as divorce counsel.  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.

Legally Speaking, Do You Have To Speak To Your Spouse?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

If you are in divorce proceedings, and each party is represented by a divorce lawyer, do you have to speak to your spouse, legally speaking?

This question comes up often, in marriages where there is abusive behavior.  The reasonable answer is this: you only have to speak to your spouse regarding your children.  Any other topic, you can leave to the lawyers.

In marriages where there are children, both parents are presumed to have shared parental responsibility and an equal say in raising the children, interacting with the children, and taking care of the children, UNLESS a court order says otherwise.  Both parents have the right to be informed as to the whereabouts of the children and the welfare of the children, even without court order.

So if you do not care to speak to your spouse, you don’t have to, unless it concerns your children.  If your spouse asks about any other issue, you can tell him/her to call the lawyer.   In cases where there is no representation, in pro se divorce, obviously that’s a game changer, and you then need to communicate with that party regarding hearings, expenses and other household issues.

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 http://www.familylawwpb.com.