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 http://www.familylawwpb.com.

 

 

Who Should Be On Your Divorce Team?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida
If you are going through a divorce, you have lots of experts giving you great guidance, advice, and opinions: your BFF, your next door neighbor who heard or saw all the fuss, your mother, your co-workers, your hairdresser.  But the team you really need on your side consists of professionals who are well versed in dealing with divorce issues.

You should first consider who you hire as a DIVORCE LAWYER.  Be sure there is a open line of communication and confidence, and no personality conflicts.  Second in line should be your SHRINK.   This professional will help you get through the stress and emotions of separation, divorce, and transitioning to an individual.  Next comes your FORENSIC ACCOUNTANT.  This team member is the number cruncher who traces money and assets, both obvious and hidden.  Then there is the PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR.  This professional tracks down a carousing, partying spouses, who may or may be spending substantial money on a paramour.  They also get the goods on drinkers and drug users.

Lastly, comes your KEY WITNESSES:  teachers, babysitters, friends with children who play with yours, medical professionals, or police officers who had to come investigate domestic violence, if any, and any other witnesses who can help your cause.

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.

How Fast Can I Get A Divorce?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

If you retain the Firm to represent you, we can draft all your documents and get them filed within 24 to 48  hours.  The next step is to have a process server deliver the divorce papers to your husband or wife, or to speed things up, he/she can waive service of process.  Then we can speed things up even more if they waive an answer and counterpetition and go right to the marital settlement.  Our lawyers can draft the agreement if there is one, or the parties have to exchange financial disclosure and go to mediation where a settlement can be reached then.   

I once did a divorce case start to finish in four days with a marital estate in excess of $30 million …  the parties came in with an accountant and terms to which they agreed to.   I drafted and filed all the documents including the petition for dissolution of marriage, notice of final hearing, final judgment of divorce and marital settlement agreement. 

Where a collaborative divorce is done, and the parties agree in advance, that makes the process much quicker and more pleasant.  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.

Taxes And Same Sex Couples

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

It’s tax time and refunds are not yet in the mail.  We are still doing our taxes or asking for extensions.  For same sex couples, the issues are a bit different because they are not viewed under the law as a traditional family. 

Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships give some couples the tax benefits of families, but they are tricky.  Health insurance issues, what is deductible and what is not, head of household deductions, dependent deductions, at state and federal levels all add to the murky waters of tax law. 

Also, when same sex relationships end, property division can have serious tax ramifications.  It is important to realize that same sex couples are not afforded the same discounts and advantages as married couples.  But they are benefitted by having a skilled lawyer and accountant in drafting cohabitation agreements at the beginning of a relationship and in drafting division of property and benefits at the end of a relationship.  For more information, 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.

How long does a divorce take?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

I once did a divorce in FOUR days.  Here’s how that worked:  A race car driver (my client) and his wife arrived at my office by appointment, along with their accountant.  The accountant knew the family businesses and finances.  Both the husband and wife trusted this accountant, and relied on the fairness of the accountant’s judgment in setting forth the terms of the marital settlement.  They all marched into my office on a Thursday; I drafted all the paperwork, petitions, waivers, court orders, hearing notices, and I had them divorced by Monday. 

That is an exception to the rule.  Here is Palm Beach County, Florida, there are certain family court rules that divorce lawyers have to follow UNLESS a client and spouse WAIVE those rights.  Once a divorce petition is served upon the other spouse, the responding spouse has 20 days in which to file an answer and counter petition.

The petitioner then has 45 days from date of filing to produce mandatory disclosure of finances.  The respondent has 45 days from date of service to provide mandatory disclosure documents.  Once financials are exchanged and reviewed, the parties can schedule mediation which is also mandatory in Palm Beach County.  This process usually takes about 3 to 4  months.

At mediation, the case can resolve, and the parties sign a marital settlement agreement.  That agreement is then used for the final judgment of divorce, which takes another month or so to go before the judge.

This is a best case scenario.  If there is no resolution at mediation, the case goes before the judge in a temporary relief hearing.  The judge then sets forth the terms of the separation pending the rest of the divorce proceedings.  The “rest” of depositions, discovery, subpeonas, witness interviews, expert witness analysis, etc. can take up to another year or two.

It all really depends upon how litigious or complex the case is and how cooperative or uncooperative the parties are.  For more information about the divorce process, 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.

When to Hire a Private Eye.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

The State of Florida is a no fault state regarding divorce law.  So why would it be important to consider hiring a private investigator? 

If you suspect your spouse of lies and spending money on everyone and everything (prostitution, gambling) but you…that is a good time to consider hiring a private eye.   If he/she is having a sexual affair, it is not the adultery that will get him/her into trouble, it is the spending of marital funds that will do it.  A private investigator can tip off  your accountant that something is going a wry, such as gambling or drug dealing.

Private eyes can follow someone, take photos, and spy.  They can also do public record searches as to ownership of properties you may not be aware of, criminal records like drug dealing, ownership of boats, planes and cars (for the girlfriend?!) and find out all sorts of lifestyle information such as whether or not your spouse goes to a job everyday or the country club.

Private eyes can search dating sites, social networking sites, and don’t forget about your spouse’ computer hardrive once there is a discovery request out on it.  Computers and cell phone records are ripe with information you did not know about your spouse.  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.

Friends During and After Divorce, part II.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Everyone has an opinion…your neighbor next door, the baby sitter, your mother, your personal trainer, your secretary, your gym buddies…all will tell you what you should be doing, what you are not doing, what you’ve done is wrong, and more, about how you are handling your divorce.

Don’t listen to any of them!  Every case is different and no two outcomes are ever the same.   Any lay advice is bad advice.  You are talking about your life, the life of your children, your finances and your future here.   That should be discussed with your shrink, your accountant and your divorce lawyer.  There is a reason all three are on your team. 

If you don’t have a team of experts on your side, you are short changing yourself on something that is going to determine the rest of your life.  Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish with your future.  (Note: This advice is not self serving…someone other than lay persons should assist you in making these important, long lasting decisions.)  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.