If You Want Rights, Get Married!

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

I received an inquiry from a potential client who had been living with a man in a “marriage like” relationship for more than 20 years.  They had two children and lived in a nice house in Palm Beach Gardens.  From  outside, they appeared to be a happily married couple.  However, the relationship tanked when the “husband” met someone new and asked the “wife” to make “other arrangements”.  She came to me to ask what her rights are.

Unfortunately, the “husband” and the “wife” were not; further, there is no common law marriage in Florida. Additionally, there was no written cohabitation agreement for unmarried people living together long term.  There was no legal obligation for the man to voluntarily continue to support her or children that are over the age of majority.  In short, this woman was you know what.

For those among you who want legal rights, it is best to have a legal marriage.  That legal entity protects a partner from the scenario above.  If marriage is not possible, then a written cohabitation agreement is the only other alternative for protection.  For more information about this or other 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.

Contract Law and Divorce Lawyers

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Many people don’t realize the amount of knowledge a divorce lawyer must have in order to effect  justice between the Husband and Wife in divorce court.

Often times, a divorce lawyer has to be well versed not only in FAMILY law, but also in TORT law, CRIMINAL law, and CONTRACT law.   Family law encompasses what is in the best interests of the child/ren, name changes, relocation matters, child support and time sharing between parents;  tort law comes into play when there is spousal abuse, physical injury, spread of disease between husband and wife; criminal law addresses stolen or damaged property of one spouse by another, violence, rape, battery and the like. 

But divorce lawyers also deal in contract law in terms of effectuating a valid, enforceable, marital settlement agreement between the parties,a division of assets and debts, future real estate arrangements, partnerships without the marriage factor.  Contracts can only be valid and enforceable if they are fairly negotiated, fully understood, and freely agreed to under controlled circumstances.   That is why in my practice, I go through a marital settlement agreement with my clients a page and paragraph at a time for an extra layer of protection.   In high asset or complex divorce matters I video tape the actual signing of these documents.   The other party always has the opportunity to challenge an agreement but the real issue is whether or not he/she will prevail.  I do everything possible to prevent a winning challenge to these contracts.

If you are thinking about getting divorced in Palm Beach County, Florida, or know someone who is, 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.

Do You Lose Rights If You Leave The Home?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Many divorcing people believe that if you leave the marital home to take an apartment, or to co habit with a paramour, that you will lose your rights to the marital home.

While that may be true in other states, in FLORIDA,  if your name is on the DEED you will not lose your ownership rights simply by relocating during the divorce proceedings.  That is assuming there are no other extenuating circumstances whereby your rights to the home will be forfeited, including situations of extreme marital waste.  But having your name on the deed generally assures your ownership.

Notice I said DEED and not mortgage, promissory note or other instrument.   The title document is the DEED, it must be recorded, and your name has to be on it.    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 http://www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

Living Together During Divorce.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Because of economic reasons, many couples can not afford to separate and run two households even after one of the spouses has filed for divorce.  This can be both a good and bad situation. 

Where an amicable settlement of divorce issues is imminent, a joint living situation gives the parties time to discuss things and work out the terms of the divorce.

Where there is dispute, or worse, anger management or mental health issues, this can cause a situation to blow up out of proportion, and even result in domestic violence.

How do you live together during divorce?  If the house is large enough, it is easy to stay out of the other’s way.  Keep a separate bedroom or live in the guest quarters.  However, if the home is small, you have to schedule use of kitchen, baths, and refrigerator with tact.  Don’t get in each other’s way.  Don’t antagonize the other.  Try not to let a bad situation get worse.

Sit down to discuss living expenses and how they will be shared.  Discuss chores and timesharing with the kids.  If you cannot accomplish this between yourselves, bring in a divorce lawyer to get a temporary court order which governs these issues.   In this way you can at least alleviate disputes on a temporary basis to allow for peaceful living until the divorce decree is signed.  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.

What cohabitation agreements and prenuptial agreements have in common.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Cohabitation agreements are usually made between two parties who are residing together under one roof but do not intend to marry.  Prenuptial agreements are made between two people who intend to marry and the agreement doesn’t effect anything until they do.  Both types of agreements are enforceable contracts that set forth the terms of living arrangements, who owns what, who pays for what, when, and anything else the parties wish to include in outlining their legal relationship.

Some things both types of contracts cover are disclosure of each person’s assets and debts prior to the relationship; support from one party to the other; arrangments as to bank accounts and other finances; buying a home together or other real estate investments; starting a business together and what happens if the relationship fails;  payments for goods and services.  It might also be important to address credit issues especially where one party has good credit and the other does not. 

Unless there is a written contract between the parties, anything you do in a relationship is voluntary and without compensation or legal recourse, unless a contract sets the terms of what is to be under those circumstances.

For more information about cohabitation agreements or prenuptial agreements, 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.


By Robin Roshkind, Esquire – West Palm Beach, Florida

There are many reasons to legally marry.  But there are also many legal reasons to live together under one roof and not marry.

One reason to not marry is if one partner is getting alimony payments.  Generally, by operation of law, alimony ceases upon remarriage of the recipient.   Another reason not to marry is to be able to continue to collect social security benefits.  A third reason is that marriage is prohibited among gay and lesbian couples in the state of Florida.  They can’t marry, at least not yet and until the laws change.

Whether the relationship is heterosexual or homosexual, in addition to the emotional bonds between unmarrieds, this segment of the population CAN still protect their legal rights by executing a domestic partnership agreement.

These legal documents are contracts that set forth in legal terms, the close relationship that takes place under one roof.  They are used as proof for health insurance coverage and other company benefits of one partner to the other.  They allow for beneficiary designations, visits in the hospital, property rights, and also responsibilities of one partner to the other and the household.  They are wholly recognized and enforcable in a court of law.  They are for life partners who are in a long term relationship but choose not to marry or cannot marry. 

Issues that need to be addressed by this segment of society also include power of attorney, which allows one partner to legally stand in the shoes of the other, to sign contracts, collect rent, write checks and pay bills, open and close bank accounts, credit card accounts, purchase insurance, buy or sell property, etc.

Health care surrogacy agreements provide for health care decision making should one partner be incapacitated, unconscious or unable to make medical decisions for themselves. 

Pre need guardianship agreements are legal documents that establish one partner as legal guardian over the other and his or her property, in advance.  These agreements go into effect when and if the need arises.

Living wills are legal documents that designate who should make the decision and when to “pull the plug” should one partner become in a vegitative state.   Oftentimes a partner designates the other partner and the treating physician/s to make this decision jointly.

Cohabitation agreements set forth in a legal contract, who pays for what in the household, and how the assets and debts are to be split should the relationship fail.  There can be no divorce if there is no marriage, so cohabitation agreements serve the purpose of the prenuptial agreements for unmarrieds.

The BIG POINT is this:  IF YOU ARE LIVING WITH A PARTNER IN A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP AND ARE NOT GOING TO MARRY, THERE ARE STEPS YOU CAN TAKE AND SHOULD TAKE TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR PARTNER UNDER THE LAW.  For more information go to the web site of Robin Roshkind, P.A. at www.familylawwpb.com or consult with one of our attorneys by calling for an appointment today.  561-835-9091.