“He Said She Said” Not Enough In Divorce Court

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida
After filing for divorce in Palm Beach County, it is mandatory that the parties exchange financial information by way of proof.  This helps to settle divorce issues like alimony and attorneys fees, child support and division of marital assets and debts.

Each party must provide to the other things like tax returns, bank statements, credit card bills, pay check stubs or income statements, mortgages, investment and retirement accounts and the like.  Both parties are required to disclose this information under Florida Family Law Rule 12.285, which is commonly referred to as the mandatory disclosure rule.  In most cases, the court requires going back one to three years with these statements.

The court views these statements as the back up data to a parties’ sworn financial affidavit, perhaps the most important document in any divorce.  A divorce cannot be granted without one.  Proof of income is used for child support calculation purposes; to show need or ability to pay alimony and attorneys fees.  Credit card and other billing statements show debt.  Investment accounts, mortgages, and deeds to real estate show lifestyle of the marriage and determine equitable distribution schemes.

The paper pile tends to grow but merely standing in court and testifying as to your need, or lifestyle or debt is just not enough for the divorce court judge.  Your allegations must always be backed up by proof.  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.

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You And Your Divorce Lawyer…

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

You and your divorce lawyer have a special relationship. First, anything conveyed to your lawyer, in writing or verbally, is confidential.  This includes any communications with any of your lawyer’s staffers as well.  Your lawyer is there to advocate for your position and hold you out in the best light possible under the facts of the matter.

Your lawyer knows divorce law in your jurisdiction.  You must listen and follow his or her advice.  That is what you are paying for…your lawyer’s time, skill set and expertise.

Speaking of paying, be sure you keep current with your bill.  Your lawyer will stay on and continue to represent you, as long as the legal fees are being paid.  The reverse is true as well.  If for some reason you do not pay your lawyer, the judge most likely will let your lawyer withdraw from representing you.

You must cooperate.  If you are supposed to produce documents, don’t be your own worst enemy, or your lawyer’s, by not producing these items in a timely manner.

Lastly, if you are not sure about something, call for a meeting with your lawyer.  It is much better to have an open discussion than remain in the dark and not understand what is going on that involves your future.  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.

Liars, and Cheaters and Fraud…Oh My!

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

I once heard a divorce court judge address a courtroom full of lawyers, husbands and wives, court reporters and spectators, and what he said will never leave my memory…he said something to the effect that, this is divorce court.. everyone is lying.

Appraisers can place valuations of heirlooms to real estate to benefit the party who hires them…accountants can make the numbers say anything they want to…lawyers can interpret statutes and case law from their ownone sided  perspectives…financial affidavits of husbands and wives generally and regretably leave something off the asset column.  One can conclude divorce court is not an exact science.

So how do you reconcile the difficulties of litigation?  The first and best answer is to stay out of court.  At least in settlement talks the parties can determine their own destinies, like it or not.  The next best step is zealous advocacy.  Hire professionals who really on are your side and are dedicated to doing the best job possible for you.  This includes the accountant, the lawyer, the appraiser, the shrink, and private eye and anyone else you need to rely upon for zealous advocacy.

Lastly, you must not have personality conflicts involved in your case.  If you are not comfortable with your “team” do something about it before it is too late.  You can always change attorneys, CPAs, shrinks, etc.

For more information about this or other hot 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.

How Do I Answer Deposition Questions?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

You are involved in a full fledged divorce litigation case.  Opposing counsel wants to take your deposition to find out just about everything.  He/she can pretty much ask you anything, whether relevant to the case or not.  Depositions are basically fishing expeditions for information that might lead to more information.

Some of the topics you will be asked about include the children, your ability to co parent, time sharing, your finances, your lifestyle, who you are dating, what you are spending, where you last vacationed, what you are driving, what you did with your expensive rolex, and just about anything else.  Here is some advice in answering these sometimes touchy questions:

1.  Remember that the judge is not present at this depo.  You don’t have to convince anyone about anything.

2.  Have an agreeable demeanor.  If you don’t, it looks like you’ve got something to hide.

3.  Don’t have diareha of the mounth.  Keep your answers short and to the point.

4.   Watch your body language, especially if the deposition is being video taped.

5.  Don’t fidget, wring your hands, tug your hair, chew gum or wriggle.

6.  Answer truthfully.

7.  If all else fails, your answers should be “yes”, “no”, or “I don’t recall”.

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 You Come Into The Marriage With You Leave With

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Generally speaking, what you come into the marriage with you leave the marriage with even if it is years later…UNLESS you have “commingled” your assets to make them marital.

What this means is if you had a home prior to the marriage and sold that house and used the net proceeds to purchase a new home during the marriage, you would get your initial downpayment back in divorce court, before any remaining net assets are divided between the parties.  Or another example,  if you owned a BMW prior to the marriage, and then during the marriage traded it in for a newer model, and a divorce is imminent, you would be able to leave the marriage with your newer car.

In thinking about divorce, it is best to try to pay off all the marital debt with marital assets prior to filing for divorce.  It is also a good idea prior to the wedding to take stock of what you are bringing into the marriage and how you can keep your pre marital assets outside of the marital estate.   One really great vehicle to accomplish this is the prenuptial agreement which requires financial disclosure.

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.

Divorce Allegations and Proof Required

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

There are many allegations that can go flying around in divorce cases in Palm Beach County…drug and alcohol abuse, wife beating, illicit affairs and marital monies spent…these are just a few.

It is important to realize that whatever a spouse alleges in divorce court, must be proven in order for the judge to make a finding as to the validity of the allegation., and thereby rule upon it based upon fairness of the situation.

So, for example, to say or testify that your husband has been cheating is not enough.  You must show with substantial evidence that he purchased a car for his girlfriend, or is paying her rent regularly, thereby dissipating marital assets.  Another example:  If you find something incorrect on your wife’s financial affidavit, you must prove the falsity, rather than just put forth the allegation.

Trial judges don’t take your position on its face value.  What you allege in divorce court you have to prove.   And of course, the allegations have to be relevant and material to the issues at hand.  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.

If You Think You Have A Divorce Settlement, BE CAREFUL!

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

We divorce lawyers have a old trick…get the other side to think we are settling the case, but then move forward to the divorce proceedings.  The moral of the story is, in divorce court, if you do not have a signed settlement agreement, or a signed agreed order, you do not have an agreement.  You may think you do, but therein lies the problem for you.

In Florida, it is a statutory requirement that all “agreements” be in writing and signed by the husband and wife.   So if you have discovery that is due, temporary alimony payments that are due, depositions that are set, a court hearing to attend, your lawyer still must prepare as if there is no settlement at all until such time as there is a signed document.  Don’t fall into the settlement trap.

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.