Working the System! Playing the “Unavailable” Game

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In my continuing series on “working the system” in divorce litigation, we already covered name changes, child support, imputation of income and motions for continuances.   Today’s blog concerns scheduling of depositions, hearings, mediations but the divorce lawyer on the other side of your case seems to continually be “unavailable” to do so.

The divorce lawyer who prepares the motion, or notices the hearing, or sets the mediation, has an obligation to coordinate such an event with opposing counsel.   If opposing counsel, for whatever reason, wants to stall the divorce proceedings, he/she may indicate the unavailability for such an event.  This “unavailable” game can be played to the point of frustrating the attorney trying to get things done, and furthermore, to frustrate the divorce process. 

After several attempts to set a divorce proceeding, to no avail, the recourse is a motion to compel the attorney to schedule whatever it is.  This motion will be heard before the divorce court judge.  If the judge senses shenanigans going on, as in intentional delay, there may be sanctions. 

Why would a divorce lawyer play the unavailable game?  One good example is if a child is living with the mother, and the father is challenging that, the lawyer for the mother might want to keep the litigation going awhile, because his client has what she wants, that being the child living with her.   Another example concerns the marital home.  If the husband is living in the marital home, he might not want to rush to sell the house.  He is living there and the longer he can delay, the better for him.  These are just two examples of how delay can work in a party’s favor.  That is why that attorney might play the unavailable game.

It does work, but only to a point.  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.

 

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Why Paternity Cases are So Heart Wrenching

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

With more and more unwed parents, certain issues regarding their children raise their ugly heads.  For example, a father wants to be in a child’s life.  He is paying child support.  The mother is remarried or has another relationship and doesn’t want him around.  The father has to petition the court for his paternity rights.  Or the mother knows who the dad is, but the dad accepts no responsibility as a parent for either supporting the child or having a relationship and spending time with the child.  It is the mother who has to petition the court for paternity rights.  

What mothers and fathers fail to understand in these paternity cases, is it is the child’s rights to two loving supportive parents under the law that is violated.  The child suffers when the parents can’t agree or cooperate.

What mothers and fathers also fail to understand is that just because one party is not paying child support (in violation of court orders or otherwise,) that does not give the other parent rights to with hold the child from the non paying parent.   Time sharing and paying child support are two distinct and separate causes of action.  A mother may rationalize that if the father is not paying, he should not have the joy of seeing the child.  In these cases, it is the child who suffers.  There are court proceedings as recourse for the mother in these types of cases.

A paternity determination is simple if the mother has SOME idea of who the father might be.  A cheek swap of the child and the father in question will collect DNA and tell paternity with almost 100% certainty.  In cases where the mother does not know who the father could be, the child grows up fatherless unless another man in the mother’s life takes over emotionally as well as financially. For more information about this or other family law topics, call one of the lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, PA at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

 

BAD MARRIAGES GET WORSE DURING THE HOLIDAYS

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

If you’ve married for love and the love has run out…or you married for money and the money has run out, changes are, you and your husband or wife are not the happily married couple everyone thinks.  With the holidays upon us, it can be especially difficult to keep smiling and pretending.

There are all sorts of marital stresses during the holidays.  First, consider the now very common blended families.  Children and ex spouses from another lifetime suddenly appear at your dining table.  Time sharing squabbles, airline delays, and disputed schedule changes are hard enough, but during the holidays, they all seem to magnify.

Second, consider the family budget. With the current state of the economy, holiday spending is a hot topic of dispute.  Even something so simple as when and where to shop can become major wars in a household already on edge.
Third, no rest for the weary takes the place of sexual intimacy in front of the fireplace.  Forgive me for being a grinch, but let’s get real here.  You do have a house full of people, right?

Lastly, closing out the year and having high hopes for the new year causes one to reflect.  Like those new year’s resolutions, if divorce is one of your aspirations, I am here to help get you through.  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 for more information.

“Custody” is now called “time sharing” under the law in Florida

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

It used to be called “custody”.  It used to imply rightful possession of a child.  It used to cause the other parent to be the “visiting” parent, or the “non custodial parent” who gets to “visit” with the child/ren.  You can begin to see how this terminology used to cause undue fighting and voluminous litigation between parents.

The Florida legislature, in all their wisdom, finally changed the law several years ago.  But bad habits die hard and sometimes I have clients revert back to the old language of the law.  Like “primary residential parent”.

Last week in court, an opposing party called the child “my” child.  The judge was quick to correct him by stating it is “a child of both of you.  You, mister, do not own a child.”  Public policy in Florida warrants that a child has a right to a relationship with both a mother and a father.  That is why the custody language was changed.

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 and Divorce…A Legal Check List

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

There are many issues in a divorce that has children involved, both the legal and the psychological.  I will address the legal issues today and the psychological issues in another writing.

Legal issues involving the children of divorcing parents include:

1.  Time sharing (or what used to be called “custody”).

2.  Health insurance (children MUST be covered in the State of Florida).

3.  Schools (private or public)

4. After school care or activities

5.  Relocation with minor children or geographic restrictions

6.  Child support

7.  The parents’ significant others

8.  The parents relationship with each other (shared parental responsibility)

9.  Uncovered medical/dental bills

10.  Housing must be clean and safe

11.   Pets

These are the issues that must be addressed in any marital settlement agreement or final judgment of divorce by trial if there are children involved.  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.

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.

During Divorce, Do NOT Take Children Away…

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

If you are in divorce proceedings in Palm Beach County, and wish to take your children away to visit family or on vacation for the holidays, or simply wish to relocate across state lines, do not take the children away, without the express  knowledge  of and written permission of the other parent, or if that is not obtainable, without a court order.

If you do, the other parent, reasonable or not,  can have legal cause to fight you for what is now called majority time sharing but what is, de facto, custody.

Unless you have sole decision making legally regarding your children, you must consult and consider the other parent or you become the wrongdoer with consequences.

For more information about this or other divorce topics in Palm Beach County, Florida, 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.