Can Children Testify In Florida Divorce Cases?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

The answer to that question is, it depends.  It depends upon the age of the children;  it depends upon the nature of the judge;  it depends upon what is at issue in the case. 

Normally, judges do not like to put minors in the position of favoring one parent over another, or choosing which parent they want to live with most of the time.  Public policy and Florida Family Laws dictate that children have a strong bond with both parents.   However, in cases where there are older children, say 16 years or older, or where there are allegations of an unfit parent, or child abuse, the divorce court judge may want to dig a little deeper by speaking directly to the minors in chambers.   

Getting a minor child to present to a judge is done upon motion by one of the parents through his/her attorney.  Most often it will be contested by the other party.  The judge will evaluate the reasons for the child to appear and then make a ruling as to whether or not it would be helpful to the court to speak directly to the minor.   If a child is simply too young, the court can appoint a guardian ad litem or a “friend of the child” like a therapist to come into court to testify on behalf of the child and what would be in the child’s best interests.

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.

 

Advertisements

Mental Health Issues In Divorce Cases

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Mental health issues often raise their ugly heads in divorce cases where there is violence, drug use, alcoholism, or a custody battle over the children of divorcing couples.  In many cases, the courts, upon motion, issue orders to deal with spouses who exhibit unusual behavior towards the other spouse or the parties children.

These cases can be particularly heart wrenching, because the spouse with the problem often doesn’t realize he/she has a problem.  The court, upon motion, can order counseling, anger management classes, parenting classes, rehabilitation, and supervised time sharing or no time sharing at all.  In violence cases, the court can order probation, restraining orders or incarceration.  The court can temporarily postpone parental rights by giving the other spouse sole decision making concerning the children, instead of shared parental responsibility.    

The job of the court is to protect the children and the public.  So if a spouse exhibits threatening behavior during divorce proceedings, the judge must order what is in the best interests of the children and the public.  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.

You’ve Gotten A Divorce But You’re Still Stuck With Your Ex?

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

One advantage certain couples have, is that once the divorce is final, both parties can go their separate ways without interference from the other.  They never have to see each other again; they never have to talk to each other again… about anything.  That is unless they are sharing a business,  a dog, or children.

If a divorcing couple has any of the above, they are in it together for the next number of years until the children reach the age of majority, the business folds or is bought out, or the dog dies. Along with child support, shared parental responsibility and time sharing, which keeps the two of of tied together,  the focus today is on co parenting.

Co parenting can be very difficult, especially if the former husband and former wife just don’t see eye to eye.  An exaggerated example: The kids get to eat candy in one home, while in the other they are forced to do homework.  This is an example of a typical dilemma co parents face all the time: different co parenting styles.  The best advice is to live and let live, unless there is some detriment to the children.  Pick your battles wisely.

Even so, children hone in on certain things, and usually can figure out how to play one parent against the other.  Remember, you are the adults.  You should wise up to this ploy and work together for the best interests of your children.  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.

Children Often Caught In Middle Of Divorce

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Often when parents are divorcing, their children get caught in the middle.  They are used as pawns to negotiate settlements, they are used as messengers of bad news, they are used as meal tickets.  They are abused.

As a divorce lawyer who handles many, many cases involving children, these are the most difficult to navigate and settle.  Even where it is clear that one parent is by far the “better parent”, it is a hard case to settle and usually has to go to court.

Litigation is costly for all involved…it is also time consuming and tears at your emotions.   Add to that, the fact of extended families and half siblings, and the matter gets complex.  Add to that grandparents who wish to be helpful, but have no rights under the law.

If you are thinking about a divorce and have minor children at home, consult with 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.

What Is A Social Evaluation And How Is It Used In Divorce Cases?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

A social evaluation is a home study conducted by a court appointed social worker to visit you in the home to see how you and the children live and relate to each other.   It is court ordered upon motion, usually filed in custody battles, where one parent wants sole custody and for the other parent, supervised time sharing and no decision making.

Social workers will visit each parent’s home with the children and write a report for the judge based upon observations, knowledge of the physical residence, interviews and expertise in such matters.  The social evaluator will make recommendations to the court as to what is in the best interests of the children.

The judge will rely upon this report. Opposing counsel will have an opportunity at the trial to cross examine.  And the best interests of the child/ren will be determined by court order.  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.famlylawwpb.com for more information.

Shared Parental Responsibility vs. Sole Parental Responsibility…what are the reasons?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In family law in the state of Florida, there is a presumption that parents should equally share in the major decisions concerning the upbringing of their children.  This Florida statute is called “shared parental responsibility”.  But there are reasons for SOLE parental responsibility, that is where the court orders that only the “better parent” make major decisions regarding the upbringing of a child.  The court will do what is in the best interests of the child/ren.

Here is a check list of why courts might order SOLE parental responsibility in the best interests of the child/ren:

1.  If one of the parents has a serious mental illness.

2.  If one of the parents is far superior parent.

3.  If one of the parents is neglectful, totally irresponsible, abusive, or simply has no interest in the child/ren.

4.  If one of the parents is a sexual predator, child molester, or otherwise a pervert.

5.  If one of the parents is totally unfit to be a parent.

6.  If one of the parents is incapacitated.

Parents are expected to administer medicine properly, pick up and drop off children at school timely, monitor children so they stay out of harm’s way, feed and clothe them properly, care about them, pay attention to them, help with their homework, participate in their lives.  If a parent will not or cannot perform as a parent should, the other parent should litigate for SOLE PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY in the best interests of the child/ren.

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 Do I Get Sole Decision Making Of My Kids?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In Palm Beach County divorce court, there is a presumption that both parents have equal rights to their children.  That means that unless and until a parent is proven to be incapable, both parents have equal say in major decisions regarding the upbringing of their kids.

This is called in legalese “shared parental responsibility”.  There is even a Florida statute about it.   But in many cases I see in my family law practice, shared parental decision making is not in the best interests of the children.

Where this is the case, I take the matter to court.  The job of the judge is to protect children.  If one parent is a far superior parent, and I can prove it is in the best interests of the children for the court to order SOLE PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY, then I go for it.

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.