What Do Divorce Paralegals Do?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

The paralegal staff at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. are highly trained, experienced paralegals who have been with the Firm for more than 10 years.  They serve both the divorcing clients of the Firm, and the lawyers who advocate for those clients.  When a new client retains the Firm for legal representation in a divorce case, the client is assigned to a paralegal and attorney team, because that is the most cost effective way for the client to get through the process. 

The paralegal will handle all the administrative and ministerial tasks on a divorce matter.  She works at a much lower billable rate per hour than does a divorce lawyer.  She does things like assist the client with filling out financial affidavits or finding an accountant for the client to work with on this task.  She will issue to your spouse or the attorney representing your spouse, the standard requests for mandatory disclosure of financial information, standard interrogatories, requests to produce documents, and also schedule when these things are due back pursuant to the Family Law Rules.  She will remind the divorce lawyer when these documents are due back, so if they are not back timely, the lawyer will then do a motion to compel and for fees for having to do so.  The paralegal will organize and log in all this discovery, which could be boxes and boxes of documents.

Paralegals generally schedule and keep the attorneys calendar of conferences, meetings, mediations, depositions, court hearings; she will coordinate these with opposing counsel’s office and the judicial assistant to the judge assigned to the case.  She will hire translators, appraisers, private investigators, real estate agents, gather information about life insurance, credit cards, and perform other helpful services to the divorcing client.  She will notarize documents, send pleadings to opposing counsel, file documents in the courthouse, courier urgent deliveries of documents,  write letters, issue subpoenas, all in service of the client’s best interests during this pressing time.

Paralegals keep a divorce case moving from point to point to point with clarity, efficiency, accuracy, and diligence.  They are invaluable to the attorneys who they work for, and priceless to the divorcing clients they work with. 

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.

 

 

What Happens If You Don’t Show Up For A Deposition?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

If you are a party to a Florida divorce action, (a spouse), a family member, friend or a witness, or even an expert, you may be requested by notice, subpoena, or court order to attend a deposition.  This is where the opposing counsel or the other party gets to ask questions or see documents to obtain information that may or may not be helpful or relevant to their case.  Information obtained through depositions are evidentiary and can be used at trial or at hearings.

If you do not cooperate by showing up at the appointed time and place, the party calling for your deposition can then set a hearing before a judge asking for a court order to have you to pay for everyone else’s time, including the court reporter who was there to take down your words for a transcript.

You may also be found in contempt of court, if your deposition was set by court order.   So think twice about not showing up for your deposition or producing documents, if requested.  For more information about trial procedures, discovery 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.

“Irreconcilable Differences” and Other Divorce Terms You Should Know.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

 Two requirements for divorce in the state of Florida are residency and irreconcilable differences.  Without these two conditions being admitted to in fact, a divorce cannot be granted.  What exactly does it mean to have irreconcilable differences?  Residency?  And what other terms are divorce related in Florida?

“Irreconcilable differences” means that not under any circumstances, even with marriage counseling, can the marriage be repaired or saved…and that the marriage is “irretrievably broken”.   “Residency” means that a person must live, work, have possessions, drivers license, lease, or deed to property, and eat and sleep in the state of Florida for 6 months prior to filing for a “divorce action”.  “Action” means “lawsuit” in the courts.  When your attorney files a divorce case, he or she is really filing for a “dissolution of marriage”.  “Dissolution” means to dissolve a legal relationship, i.e. the marriage.  “Child support” is easy to define.  It is the monies to which a child is entitled to from BOTH parents.  “Alimony” is the spousal support from one spouse to the other.  Sometimes alimony and child support are classified as “undifferentiated support”.  Attorneys fees from one party to another puts the divorcing parties “on equal footing”.  “Deposition” is the formal questioning of a party “under oath” in discovery of financial facts of the marriage and can also encompass affairs, living arrangements, income, expenses, trips, and just about anything else an “opposing counsel” wishes to ask.  “Temporary relief”  is the support and timesharing of children established pending the divorce “proceedings”.  These terms to live by are temporary until a “final judgment” is entered by the judge.  “A court order on divorce” is enforceable by the court.  A “final judgment” is the actual “divorce decree” when the whole thing is finished and signed by the judge. 

For more information call one of the attorneys at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com.

What are “unbundled” divorce services and how it benefits you…

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

If you are a resident of Palm Beach County, Florida, and are getting divorced, YOU QUALIFY!  In keeping with the problems with the economy, we lawyers, at the Law Office of ROBIN ROSHKIND have come up with a great idea to help our clients save $$$$$. 

We are now offering specific divorce packages at low prices to make our services more AFFORDABLE.  If you are doing your own divorce and need assistance with filling out the paperwork, we have paralegals standing by to assist you.  If you need legal advice on a particular legal  issue, come in to speak with one of our attorneys as an advisor.  You will just pay the hourly rate for her time.  However, the lawyer cannot take on your whole case unless asked by you and retained by paying a normal retainer.   We will serve more in an advisory capacity at piece meal pricing, instead of you retaining the Firm for the entire matter and spending money you don’t have.

Here’s an example:

Helping you to fill out a financial affidavit.  $135 per hour.

Discussion of relocating with a minor child.  $350 per hour.

Reviewing financial documents and helping you organize them for opposing party.       $135 per hour.

Preparing you for a deposition.  $350 per hour.

Preparing you for a final hearing.  $350 per hour. 

Going with you to court.  $350 per hour.

Discussing what happens at mediation.  $135 per hour.

Preparing you for mediation.   $135 per hour.

Going with you to mediation.  $350 per hour.

That is just a small menu of “unbundled” services we now offer our clients to assist them with their legal issues.  If you are interested in learning more, call the Firm at 561-835-9091 and ask to speak to Attorney Roshkind.  Make sure you tell the receptionist you are interested in

“UNBUNDLED LEGAL SERVICES”.   

 

For more information about divorce issues or the Law Office of Robin Roshkind click on our website at www.familylawwpb.com.

Preparing for a deposition in divorce proceedings.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Depositions are part of the discovery of information that ocurrs in divorce proceedings.  They allow the deposing party to basically “interview” you while on a fact finding expedition.

The subject matter of depositions can be regarding treatment of the children to finances.  Opposing counsel can virtually ask you anything that is or may be relevant to his or her position.

It is in depositions that every word you say is taken down by a court reporter and can later be used in the courtroom to challenged your truthfulness.   Depositions are great tools of the trade of the opposing party. 

So how do you prepare for your deposition?  The first step is to know what your financial affidavit says because this is where most attorneys begin.   They will challenge your statements made on a financial affidavit with other documents including bank statements, credit card bills, income tax returns and the like.   Know what your financial affidavit says and why it says it.

Secondly, don’t answer a question that is not asked.  The more information you give, even if you think it supports your position, gives the opposing party more ammunition to use against you.

Only answer the question asked.  Remember, the judge is not present at the deposition.  Never elaborate unless asked to do so.

Remember that any question is fair game even if it does not make sense to you that it is asked.  Your lawyer can object and direct y ou not to answer but then a motion hearing will be set by opposing counsel to have you explain to the judge why that question should not be answered.   Therefore, it is in your best interests to cooperate as much as possible.  You don’t want to get the judge angry at you.

The best advice I can give if you are being deposed it to tell the truth.  You do not want an earlier statement said in a deposition to conflict with something you represent at a later time.   

The next best advice I can give if you are being deposed, is to have representation by counsel.  Don’t go it alone.

For more information about depositions, discovery, or any other divorce proceeding, click on the Robin Roshkind, P.A. website at www.familylawwpb.com, or consult with one of the Firm’s attorneys by calling 561-835-9091.

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.