Preparing for a Divorce Trial

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

If the issues of alimony, child support, time sharing, and division of marital property, assets  and debts cannot be agreed to by the parties in  a marital settlement agreement, a divorce case that is pending, will be going to trial.   After extensive and detailed discovery, and the exchange of documents and financial information between the parties, one or the other spouse can request a trial date from the judge.  The judge will then review the history of the case by checking the docket sheet to make sure all pleadings are closed and replied to.  That being the case, the judge will issue an order setting a trial date and informing the two attorneys of the requirements prior to trial. 

This includes filing a pre trial stipulation as to what facts are agreed to by the two opposing attorneys, what facts are in dispute, what issues need to be adjudicated.  It also includes the requirement of providing in advance any relevant case law or memorandum of law on a disputed issue, a fact witness list and rebuttal witness list for either party, an inspection and filing of exhibits and evidence and any objections thereto.  The judge will also order a mediation to occur sometime prior to the trail date.

Copies of all relevant documents have to be provided to the opposing attorney, as well as be available for the judge.  Also in advance of trial depositions have to take place and court reporter transcripts have to be ordered.  Trial preparation is a huge and costly task, involving lawyers, paralegals, expert witnesses, and support staff, along with document logs and generation.  That is why going to trial is such an expensive undertaking.  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  


Working the System in Divorce Court — CONTEMPT

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

You often hear the complaints:  “My ex is not paying his child support.”  Or , “My alimony arrives late every month.”  Or “She doesn’t give me the kids when she is supposed to.”  These are intentional, willful violations of court orders.  They are contemptible… a party may be adjudicated in contempt of court.

The offended party to a court order, either during the divorce process with non final orders, or with a post dissolution issue, has contempt and enforcement as a recourse, when the spouse or ex spouse does not perform pursuant to the court order or the final judgment.  Keep in mind that a judge has signed off on the interim order or the final judgment of divorce, making all terms of the order or a marital settlement agreement fully enforceable.  So if a spouse intentionally and willfully disobeys the terms, a motion for contempt and enforcement is the appropriate response.

But here is the way some wrong doer spouses can work the system:  they pay up on the court house steps.  Or they string the offended spouse along until the hearing,  they right the wrong just prior to entering the court room.  If the problem is disintegrated prior to the hearing, there is no evidence of contempt. 

This can happen only so many times though, before the divorce court judge will see a pattern of bad, contemptible behavior.  If a party is adjudicated in contempt, they are given purge provision to pay off any arrears owed over time.  Or if the contemptible behavior persists, the offender can be penalized with payment of attorneys fees, other sanctions, and even face a commitment hearing and jail.  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



What Do Divorce Paralegals Do?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

The paralegal staff at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. are highly trained, experienced paralegals who have been with the Firm for more than 10 years.  They serve both the divorcing clients of the Firm, and the lawyers who advocate for those clients.  When a new client retains the Firm for legal representation in a divorce case, the client is assigned to a paralegal and attorney team, because that is the most cost effective way for the client to get through the process. 

The paralegal will handle all the administrative and ministerial tasks on a divorce matter.  She works at a much lower billable rate per hour than does a divorce lawyer.  She does things like assist the client with filling out financial affidavits or finding an accountant for the client to work with on this task.  She will issue to your spouse or the attorney representing your spouse, the standard requests for mandatory disclosure of financial information, standard interrogatories, requests to produce documents, and also schedule when these things are due back pursuant to the Family Law Rules.  She will remind the divorce lawyer when these documents are due back, so if they are not back timely, the lawyer will then do a motion to compel and for fees for having to do so.  The paralegal will organize and log in all this discovery, which could be boxes and boxes of documents.

Paralegals generally schedule and keep the attorneys calendar of conferences, meetings, mediations, depositions, court hearings; she will coordinate these with opposing counsel’s office and the judicial assistant to the judge assigned to the case.  She will hire translators, appraisers, private investigators, real estate agents, gather information about life insurance, credit cards, and perform other helpful services to the divorcing client.  She will notarize documents, send pleadings to opposing counsel, file documents in the courthouse, courier urgent deliveries of documents,  write letters, issue subpoenas, all in service of the client’s best interests during this pressing time.

Paralegals keep a divorce case moving from point to point to point with clarity, efficiency, accuracy, and diligence.  They are invaluable to the attorneys who they work for, and priceless to the divorcing clients they work with. 

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



Why Divorce Lawyers Work Hourly

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In Palm Beach County, there are some divorce lawyers who charge upwards of $600 per hour for their expertise; and there are others who are less experienced who charge $200 per hour.  There are also those in between.  What we all have in common is a Juris Doctor education, a Bar exam and license, and divorce clients who pay us based upon an hourly rate. 

This is because when a divorce lawyer takes a case, it is difficult to determine, let alone be certain, of the outcome.  While every case is different, there are, of course, common themes and common issues, like child support, alimony, division of assets and debts and attorneys fees.  But the main reason divorce lawyers work hourly, is because we have no control over the other side of the case.  We cannot control your spouse’ attorney, nor can we control your spouse.  We do not know if there is going to be an amicable settlement or if we have to litigate an issue, or all issues.  We do not know how much or how long we will have to work a divorce case.

We cannot insist upon a settlement, or predict settlement terms.  We cannot guarantee a good result, because we lawyers cannot get into the judge’s head.  We just don’t know what is going to happen.  What we do get to do is advocate for our client’s position.  We strategize in order to present our client in the best possible light.  We deal with either cooperative spouses and their lawyers, or uncooperative spouses and uncooperative lawyers.  Or even one of each.  All this takes time and skill, following the rules of procedure, and reading up on any applicable laws that may or even may not apply. 

At my Firm, for example, every new client is assigned to a paralegal and attorney team.  It is the paralegals who do the ministerial or administrative tasks on a case, to keep our clients’ bills within reason.  Paralegals, too, work hourly, but at a much lower rate than the attorneys rates.   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 for more information.