Does It Matter Who Files For Divorce First?

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Clients who come in to see me for a divorce consultation often ask if there is any advantage to filing for divorce first and before their spouses do.  As far as substantive facts and law, there is no advantage or disadvantage as to whether you are the petitioner, asking for the court to grant a divorce, or the respondent, the spouse who is served with the petition and has to respond.

However, strategically, there is an advantage to being the petitioner and filing for the divorce first.  In terms of going to trial, if you are the petitioner, you get to present your case to the judge first.  You make the first impressions on the judge.  You get to present the facts of the marriage from your perspective first.  You make opening statements and closing arguments first.

The disadvantage of filing for divorce first, is you have to pay the filing fee to the court.  You have to pay to have the other spouse served with your petition.

Often times, there is a “race to the courthouse” when spouses live in two different states.  Here it would matter who files first because of convenience.  For example, if the parties have been separated, and Husband lives in Connecticut and the Wife lives in Florida, and they own a home in each state, whoever gets to file first generally will have the divorce take place in their state.  There are extenuating circumstances and time frames, but generally whoever filed first will prevail with having the divorce proceedings in their jurisdiction.  For more information about this or other hot topics in divorce, 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.

Sex With Your Ex?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

The shrinks always tell us that what attracted the two of you to each other in the first place, is the very thing you can’t stand about each other at the end of the marriage…EXCEPT SEX.  Sometimes couples fall back into the sex trap, causing conflicting feelings, derailing divorce proceedings that should be progressing, and mixing up the kids.

Sex with your ex is an all around bad idea.  It has been used as a power play, or ploy is a better word, to gain advantage in divorce court.  It has been used as a convenience, a familiar site, or worse, for abuse and control upon the other person.

If you are thinking about having sex with your ex while in divorce proceedings, seek professional help through  marriage counseling or psychotherapy.  Or if your spouse or former spouse “just makes it happen” in the lust of the moment, at least be aware that you are being used.  Stay away from denial.  Remember the sun will shine again tomorrow.  For more information about this or other hot divorce topics, call one of the 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 You Change A Marital Settlement Agreement Once It Becomes A Court Order?

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Yes.  A marital settlement agreement and court order of divorce can be changed by AGREEMENT OF THE PARTIES or by COURT ORDER.  A court order will be the result of a PETITION FOR MODIFICATION OF FINAL JUDGMENT.  It has to be based upon a substantial, material change of circumstances.  You would have to prove such a change requires a modification at the POST DISSOLUTION TRIAL.

However, there is an EXCEPTION…once property and debts are divided in divorce court, or even by agreement of the parties, that part of the final judgment is a done deal.  Spousal support (alimony) and children’s issues (time sharing, child support) can be modified.  Division of assets and debts cannot.

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.

Children and Divorce…A Legal Check List

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

There are many issues in a divorce that has children involved, both the legal and the psychological.  I will address the legal issues today and the psychological issues in another writing.

Legal issues involving the children of divorcing parents include:

1.  Time sharing (or what used to be called “custody”).

2.  Health insurance (children MUST be covered in the State of Florida).

3.  Schools (private or public)

4. After school care or activities

5.  Relocation with minor children or geographic restrictions

6.  Child support

7.  The parents’ significant others

8.  The parents relationship with each other (shared parental responsibility)

9.  Uncovered medical/dental bills

10.  Housing must be clean and safe

11.   Pets

These are the issues that must be addressed in any marital settlement agreement or final judgment of divorce by trial if there are children involved.  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 Is Temporary Relief In Divorce Actions In Florida?

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Temporary relief can be obtained by agreement of the parties that is reduced to a court order, or by a mini trial before the judge in Palm Beach County Family Court.  The issues to be decided in temporary relief are primarily support and time sharing with children.  Support includes temporary alimony and child support, especially if a spouse has cut you off.   Division of assets and debts is not generally a temporary relief issue unless marital assets need to be partially distributed to pay the attorneys.

Temporary relief is a mini trial that occurs AFTER a mediation in an attempt to settle the issues of temporary support and time sharing.  Child support, alimony, time sharing and attorneys fees are the main temporary relief issues.  Other temporary relief issues can include who pays for which household bills, credit cards,  and medical expenses and insurance during the divorce proceedings.

Temporary relief hearings may include the testimony of the parties and CPAs who testify as to the need of one spouse for temporary relief and the ability to pay by the other spouse.  For more information about this or other divorce topics call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, PA at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.familylawwpb.com.

Do You Have Right To Keep Husband’s Name in Divorce Proceedings

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Divorce brings many changes, financial, emotional, and physical.  Two areas of testimony at final hearing in Palm Beach County divorces are as follows:

1) The judge will ask if the wife is pregnant.  This is to protect any unborn child of the marriage.  Once the birth takes place, medical care and child support will have to be instituted by court order.

2) The judge will also have to ask if the wife wants her name prior to the marriage to be restored.  It is up to the WIFE not the husband, as to whether or not she keeps her married name after the divorce is final.

In some cases where there is a famous name involved, or a high asset divorce, the husband may negotiate a price or reimbursement to the wife to drop the name.  It is again her choice.  There is no law in the state of Florida that requires the wife to change her name.

For more information about this or other divorce topics in Palm Beach County divorces, 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.

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.