Court Orders Dealing With Children and Divorce

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

There are many issues to be decided regarding children in divorce cases.  They include child support, shared parental responsibility (otherwise known as major decisions) regarding travel, passports, schooling, (private, public, or home), day care and after care, health insurance,  parental alienation, siblings, activities, number of over night stays which each parent, and ultimately who pays for what, like team uniforms, equipment, clothing and supplies, uncovered medical and dental care.

When the divorcing parents come to an agreement regarding the well being of their children, that agreement is reduced to a court order.  Or, if the judge must decide what is in the best interests of the child/ren, that becomes a court order.  Court orders are enforceable by the judge.

But court orders involving children can be changed or modified, provided there is a substantial change in circumstances from the time the original court order was entered.  So whether it is child support, which can be reduced or increased, or a parent needs to relocate, or the time sharing needs adjusting, or whatever it is that has to do with minor children in divorce cases, court orders can be modified IF the parties or court determines it is in the best interests of the children because of a change in circumstance.  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.

 

Who Is The “Better” Parent In Divorce Court?

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

I just had a case where the ex husband, after divorce, continued at his mid management level job, and the ex wife remarried a wealthy man.   The ex wife is now able to  lavish gifts upon the parties minor children.  The ex husband,  is not as financially well off as the former wife.  Who do you think the minor children gravitate to?

The courts do NOT recognize the wealthier parent as necessarily the “better” parent.  When it comes to time sharing with minor children, the best interests of the child controls the judge’s decision.  Issues such as who spends quality time with the kids, who takes them to after school lessons, who helps with homework, who takes them to the doctor, who is more involved in school activities…those are the things the judge considers in determining which parent better serves the needs of the children…  Not the amount of clothes a parent can buy or the price or quantity of gifts a parent can buy.

Regarding living arrangements, it is not the bigger house that “wins”, as long as the children have a clean, safe and decent place to live in the eyes of the judge.

While parents are never equal in their parenting skills, time alotted to children, or money available to them, a judge has to consider all factors in determining where the best interests of the children are found.  It is to that parent that the judge will grant majority time sharing and adjust the child support amount accordingly.

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.

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.

After divorce…now what?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

You’ve separated, filed, gone through the divorce process, and now it’s over.  You’re divorced.  What are your options now?

Some couples stay friends.  Some stay business partners.  Intoday’s market, oftentimes couples stay real estate partners until the marital home or other real property sells.    

On the other hand, some couples part ways and go off to live life as it the marriage never happened.   Other couples are joined by the fact that they have children.  Florida Statute Chapter 61 has a provision called shared parental responsibility.  In a nutshell it says that couples who by the mere fact of having children together must co-parent, they need to be able to discuss the children’s issues, take action and come to agreement on major decision making regarding the child, all in the best interests of the child. 

This can be very difficult coming off an acrimonious divorce proceeding where the two spouses are violent, unreasonable, disrespectful or worse.    Court orders are put down to be followed and we all know how that goes sometimes.  Contempt hearings take care of violations but again that makes it very difficult to deal with a spouse. 

Every case and situation is different.  But where parties can get along if only for their children, the atmosphere is more beneficial for everyone.  However, we lawyers are usually busy post dissolution just because in some cases that is impossible.  Then we or the judge ends up micro managing a relationship. 

The conclusion is, post divorce,  the choice is yours.  Do the best you can under the circumstances, and if you need further legal help, get it.  For questions about this subject or any other divorce proceeding, call the attorneys at Robin Roshkind, P.A. at 561-835-9091, or click on the ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. website at www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

Negotiating a divorce.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In order to negotiate a divorce settlement, both the husband and the wife have got to want to settle.  A friendly divorce requires that both parties want to settle; if  one party wants to settle and the other wants a good fight, settlement will not be possible.

However, where both the husband and the wife agree to agree, it is much easier to reach a successful resolution by negotiation.

In a trial setting, the judge oftentimes figures if both parties leave the courtroom in a miserable state, then the judge has done a good job.

Negotiation is just that.  Both the husband and the wife have to give a little to get a little.  It is basically a BIG COMPROMISE.

So how do you negotiate?  Tell your lawyer what is important to you.  Establish priorities.  And pick your battles.  It is impossible to get everything on your wish list.  If you realize this, settlement will be much easier to achieve.

Divorce negotiations can take place in a mediation setting, at a court reporter’s office or even in the courthouse hallway.  It is important to have all the facts, the numbers, the assets and debts, the tax ramifications, and the best interests of the children at hand.  Negotiate from a position of strength, having all the facts at your fingertips and knowing with your lawyer, how to apply the law to the facts.  For more information about this subject or other divorce proceedings, consult with one of the lawyers at Robin Roshkind, P.A. by calling 561-835-9091 or click on the ROBIN ROSHKIND< P.A. website at www.familylawwpb.com.

Relocation with Children: Where are my kids?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire – West Palm Beach, Florida

With the economy in trouble and husbands and wives fighting over money, a common wifely threat is “I am going just leave you and take the children to my mother’s house!”  Ladies, unless you are under a threat of domestic violence, this is potentially grounds for losing your children, according to Florida law.  

So, if you just can’t take it anymore, and wish to relocate with children out of state, you must petition the local court for the move IF your husband does not agree to the move.   A judge will enter an order allowing the move only if it is proven to be in the best interests of the children.

What hurdles do you need to jump to prove best interests of the children?  First, the move can’t be for the purpose of removing the children from the parent.  Even if your opinion of your spouse is less than flattering, the children still have rights to a relationship with that parent, unless the parent is a drunk, drug addict, in some other way harms the child, or is generally an unfit parent.  Secondly, the move must improve the condition of the children, i.e. better schools, closer to grandparents or other relatives, a better job for the mother, a better home environment, a remarriage, new siblings.

So be forewarned that to remove children from a Florida jurisdiction, you either need permission from the other parent (get it in writing), or a court order.  To get a court order, you need to file a case, and litigate to prove that the move is in the best interests of the children.   If you don’t do either and just pack up and go, you stand to lose custody down the road in the proceedings.  Another important note:  you must inform the other parent of where the children are.  Non custodial parents are entitled to know the whereabouts of their children and to have unfettered telephone or internet access to communicate with them.  For more information, visit the Firm website at www.familylawwpb.com or consult with one of our experienced family law attorneys at Robin Roshkind, P.A. by calling 561-835-9091.