Negotiating The Terms Of A Marital Settlement Agreement In Divorce

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Generally speaking, the divorce issues that need to be dealt with include as follows: alimony or spousal support, attorneys fees and costs, mediation fees, declaring what property is marital and what is non marital, fairly dividing up what is marital property and personal property, and dividing up marital debt, then declaring what is not marital debt. There is also the issue of the marital home and other real property, as to who will buy out whom, or will the properties be rented, or listed for sale and what happens then.  

Aside from these financial issues, are children’s issues, which include as follows: time sharing to each parent, child support worksheet calculations, shared parental responsibility or sole parental responsibility on certain decision making, (who will do homework), a parenting plan, schooling, religious training, counseling, and whether a parenting coordinator will be beneficial to facilitate the matter between the parties. 

All of these terms go into a 30 or so page document called a marital settlement agreement.  This agreement is agreed to and signed by the parties and becomes part of a final judgment of dissolution of marriage. 

As anyone can imagine, with all that there is to decide, two divorcing people will have a hard time.  That is where lawyers, accountants and shrinks come into the picture.  With knowledge about the possible ruling from a judge under the law, the team of experts guide the parties.  They can either negotiate in good faith and reach a resolution no one likes but everyone can live with, or the judge will decide their futures by enforceable court order.  For more information about this or other 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 http://www.familylawwpb.com.

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.

Seeking The Help Of Other Professionals During Divorce

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

It is very common in my divorce practice to seek the assistance of other professionals to help me litigate a case.  Below is a list of professionals I use and why:

1.  Psychotherapist, psychiatrist, child psychologist, social workers.  I use these professionals mostly in dealing with children’s issues like custody, sole parental responsibility and time sharing.

2.  Vocational evaluators.   If a spouse refuses to pursue a career or simply find employment, these experts can testify as to earnings and ability.  I use these professionals mostly in alimony cases.

3.  CPAs.  I use accountants to trace funds, do lifestyle studies, value businesses, assess finances, determine one’s true income.   CPAs are my best friends when alimony and high assets are at stake.

4.  Appraisers.  If the marriage included extensive and substantial art work, jewelry, antiques, coins, stamps, guns, cars, anything of exceptional value, I use appraisers to help in equitable distribution of assets cases.

5.  Real estate agents.  Obviously these experts assist me in valuations of real estate whether it is the marital home, vacation home, rental or commercial buildings.

6.  Medical personnel.  These experts assess special needs children and spouses for support purposes.

7.  Tax attorneys and CPAs.  These experts help with end games to show tax effects of settlement offers and their true value.

8.   Estate planning attorneys and financial planners.  These experts can assess a settlement offer to see if it is workable over a lifetime.

9.  Private investigators.  You know what they do.  Now in the computer age information is priceless.

I would not hesitate to co counsel with any of these experts if I feel it is in the best interests of my client.   In high asset cases or child custody cases where there is a lot at stake, experts are the best advisors to a judge.    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.

Experts Used In Divorce Proceedings.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

There are many times in divorce cases that expert testimony or evidence is needed.  Most often CPAs perform analysis of the family finances, in terms of establishing valuations of a business, determining a party’s true income and expenses, and determinations of the truthfulness of financial affidavits.  Asset valuations and financial information is determined by using an accountants or forensic CPAs.  That person is key when it comes to depositions, temporary relief hearings and trial testimony and evidence.  Financial information controls child support, alimony awards, as well as distribution of marital assets and debts.  They also determine the ultimate outcome of any settlement or court order regarding the taxable events or ramifications of taxes in the overall scheme of things.

Appraisers are also needed in divorce cases to establish the value of jewelry, artwork, pianos, antiques and collectibles, such as stamp collections, wine collections, coin and gun collections, antique car collections.  Testimony of an appraiser can effect the distribution of marital assets.

Real estate agents and brokers value real property such as residences, rental property, and commercial property.   Divorce often forces sale.

Child psychologists get involved in time sharing and custody issues.  Oftentimes their testimony based upon home studies, helps the judge in determining what is in the best interests of the child.

Marriage counselors can testify as to rehabilitation of adults accused of drug use, alcohol abuse, anger management, and other mental health issues that may effect the outcome of a divorce.

Sometimes divorce trials become a “battle of the experts” so if your case is complex, or is going to trial, you should consider retaining the services of these expert witnesses.  For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the attorneys at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.familylawwpb.com.

Know your tax and IRS rights.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

With constant fighting over finances, couples in this economy are especially hit hard.  A divorce can ruin your credit, cause lingering debt long after the divorce is over, and have the IRS breathing down your neck.

The following tips are for those divorced spouses who are subject to an IRS tax audit:

1.  Know that you can challenge an auditor’s decision.

2.  Penalties that are assessed, can be cancelled if you show a good faith effort to pay.

3.  Audits can be by correspondence instead of face to face.

4.  You can ask the IRS for an installment plan to pay any money owed.

5.  IRS notices may be incorrect.  You can challenge notices and sometimes they are cancelled.

6.  There is a problem resolution office of the IRS to resolve disputes.

7.  You have the right to appeal anyIRS decision within 30 days of receipt.

Often divorce lawyers work with accountants, bookkeepers and CPAs to gather financial information.  There may be tax ramifications of any settlement offer so it is important to consult with a tax advisor prior to signing any marital settlement agreement.  For more information call to speak to one of the attorneys at ROBIN  ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.familylawwpb.com.