Exchanging Information In Divorce Cases

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

It is common knowledge that divorce is all about money.  Sometimes it is amazing at how two people can greatly differ in opinions at to what things are worth.  For example, a marital home, a piece of jewelry, a painting, a business…the parties can be worlds apart as to what the true value is of any marital asset. 

That is why parties in divorce cases employ appraisers.  And even appraisers can differ.  But in dividing marital assets and debts, no matter how you look at it, there has to be  an exchange of financial information.  This takes up most of the time in a case early on.  It is called the discovery phase of the case.  There is mandatory disclosure, and there are requests for documents to be produced. There are also interrogatories to be answered.  All this information has to be gathered, photocopied, logged and presented to the opposing side in the divorce case.  This is extremely tedious, time consuming and downright annoying for both parties involved but it is a necessary evil.  Upon the exchange of financial information, the lawyers will set a mediation in an attempt to settle the matter.  Any disputes will be presented at trial in a temporary relief hearing, and the divorce lawyers will then start preparing for trial.  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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Protect Yourself With Divorce Planning

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

If you are thinking about getting divorced, there are certain things you can do to protect yourself.   The very first thing is to educate yourself about the family finances.  Then start a photocopying and photographing campaign. 

When you eliminate the emotional baggage, divorce is about money….dividing assets and debts of a marriage, as well as determining income for purposes of alimony, child support, and attorneys fees. 

In terms of being able to prove the incomes of the spouses, it is important to have things like tax returns, pay stubs, and bank statements showing any direct deposits of income.  Incomes of the parties are key to any divorce.   Employment history is important too.  A spouse should not be able to voluntarily under employ himself or herself and get away with it. Remember, income can be passive as well, resulting from investments, sale of real estate and the like.  Think about what you need to PROVE these things.

Valuing of assets are a necessary must in terms of who gets what.  For example, appraisals of jewelry, art, antiques, cars, even the family business will help the parties or the court divide the assets fairly.  Determining debt is the other side of the coin.  Things like mortgages, lines of credit, credit card bills, car loans need to be addressed, so it is important to have these papers organized and ready to present.

Photographs speak volumes when it comes to valuable cars, boats, and household items of substantial worth.  When you have finished gathering all these documents, deliver the boxes of evidence to your divorce attorney for safekeeping.  For more information about this or other divorce topics, see http://www.familylawwpb.com, or call for a consultation appointment 561 835 9091.

 

Video Tapes, Transcripts and Other Evidence At Trial

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

You’ve been to mediation and tried to settle with your spouse.  Unfortunately, the case is going to trial.  It’s time to hire a lawyer, if you have attempted to get your divorce without counsel.

What types of evidence will be necessary at trial?  Things like deposition transcripts, documents including tax returns, court papers, deeds to property, mortgage and car loan docs, the parties financial affidavits, credit card bills, appraisals of real and personal property, and any other relevant proof.

What are you trying to prove?  It depends if you are asking for child support, alimony, or attorneys fees, in which case incomes are important, or if  you are asking for distribution of marital assets and debts, then what the asset values are and what the debts are.

If a pre nuptial agreement is being challenged, then produce the video of the signing.  If a spouse is suspected of hiding income, then lifestyle studies are important.  If a spouse is unemployed, an employability study can be used as evidence of the marketable skills of the spouse.

Remember, you are in court because you could not agree.  At this point, don’t go to court without a lawyer.  This is too important and too tricky for a do it yourself divorce.  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 http://www.familylawwpb.com.

Why is going to trial so expensive?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

The divorce petition is filed with the court and the spouse is served.  The spouse has 20 calendar days to file and answer and a counter petition for dissolution of marriage.  Over the next month or so, mandatory disclosure is produced by both husband and wife.  This may include the following: pay stubs, tax returns, credit card receipts, bank statements, stock portfolios, deeds, titles, and any other evidence of income, assets or debts of the marriage or separate property of the parties.  Armed with all this paper, this “discovery”, both spouses and their lawyers attend mediation in an attempt to settle the divorce case and any disputed issues between the parties.  If a settlement occurs, the marital settlement agreement becomes part of a court order, the final divorce decree.

Should mediation not result in a partial or global marital settlement, the next step involves divorce litigation. Going to divorce court means taking the case to the judge so he or she can decide what is going to be for the future of the family.   A temporary relief hearing is set, which essentially is a mini trial.  The court order resulting from a temporary relief hearing sets forth the terms of the separation on a temporary basis pending the divorce proceedings.  Now the fun begins.

Issues such as a valuation of a business formed during the marriage can complicate the divorce.  Issues involving the employability of a stay at home spouse can complicate the divorce.  Issues regarding an unfit parent and who is to have custody can complicate a divorce.  Issues about relocation with children out of the state can complicate a divorce.  Hidden monies offshore can complicate a divorce. Money spent on paramours can complicate a divorce.  What is marital property versus what is non marital property can complicate a divorce.  Drugs and alcohol use along with domestic violence and general health issues can complicate a divorce.  Appraisals of jewelry and property can complicate a divorce.

Along with these divorce complications, come the expert witnesses to testify on behalf of each of their clients.  These include child psychologists, marriage counselors, forensic CPAs, appraisers, real estate agents, good mommy or good daddy friends, doctors, relatives.  Sometimes all these witnesses need to be deposed prior to trial.  And paid for their time and expertise.  Or testimony at trial.  Documents that can fill libraries are generated as evidence.  Each exhibit has to be marked for admissibility into evidence.  And your divorce lawyer has to know what is on every piece of paper and where to find it in the boxes and boxes of documents.

Trial preparation, from the point of strategizing the case, to obtaining necessary information and organizing the file, to speaking in the courtroom is time consuming, stressful, and very expensive.  The more complex issues there are in dispute between the spouses, the more expensive the trial will be.  By way of example, a straightforward half day trial can cost between $15,000 – $20,000 to prepare.  At Robin Roshkind, P.A., the lawyers always attempt settlement prior to switching gears toward litigation.   For more information, visit the web site of Robin Roshkind, P.A. Divorce Lawyers at www.familylawwpb.com or call for a consultation with one of the Firm’s experienced divorce lawyers at 561-835-9091.