Can A Divorce Decree Be Changed?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

The lawyerly answer is…it depends.  Certain things in a divorce decree or divorce court order may be modified by the parties or by a judge, and certain other things, once agreed to, adjudicated, and court ordered, are set in stone.

Anything that addresses the best interests of the children of the divorce can be modified, either by agreement of the parties or by a court order.  This would require the moving parent to petition the court for a modification of, for example, child support, time sharing arrangements, shared parenting, or a relocation.  The moving party would have to prove there is a substantial change in circumstances since the entry of the original court order, which is enough of a change to warrant the modification asked for.   

Other divorce issues, like the division of marital assets and/or debts, once decided or agreed to by the parties, or adjudicated by the judge, become the law of the case, never to be adjudicated again…that is, unless a spouse can prove fraud. This principle of divorce law is called equitable distribution of marital assets and debts.

Sometimes alimony obligations can be modified upward or downward, provided the agreement between the parties, does not specifically state that alimony is unmodifiable.  Again, to modify, this would require the moving party to file a petition for modification of alimony, and allege a substantial change of circumstances from the time of the original court order… said circumstances would have to warrant a modification in the court’s opinion, or by agreement of the parties.  Since the law on alimony is based upon one spouse’ need, and the other spouse’ ability to pay, alimony modifications are quite common.

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.

 

How Final Are Final Judgments?

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Final judgments of divorce do several things.  The first, is they dissolve the legal union of two people…the marriage is dissolved.  Final judgments set forth the terms for bringing up the children, if any.  Final judgments divide marital assets and debts.  Final judgments provide for spousal and child support, title transfers to real and personal property, and govern the splitting of the couple and the couple’s things.  

In the State of Florida, final judgments can be enforced if one or both parties do not do what they are supposed to under the final judgment.  Final judgments can also be modified or changed if there occurs a substantial, involuntary, material change of circumstances that was unforseen at the time of final judgment.

In Florida, once property and debts are divided, either by agreement of the parties or by trial judgment, this is final.  You cannot undo an award of real estate, or obligation to pay a debt, unless there is fraud.  Also, an award of unmodifiable alimony cannot be undone, regardless of any changes of circumstances.  Child support, time sharing, alimony that is modifiable can be changed into the future provided there is legal justification to do so under the law.

So final judgments regarding division of property, asset and debt division, and unmodifiable alimony cannot be changed, while child support and alimony can be changed under the proper circumstances.  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.

Remarrying Your X!

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

You suffered through some unhappy years of marriage…you’ve been to marriage counseling, and therapy on your own…you’ve survived your divorce and lived as a single or  a single parent…now you want to reconcile with your ex and your ex spouse agrees.

Some might say that that is a stupid thing to do, but in my practice of more than 12 years, I have seen it 5 times! With marital settlement agreements in place from the divorce, and all property and debts divided, it is starting over.

The terms of divorce stay in place.  What may be a new experience is the prenuptial agreement you should have with your now ex spouse JUST IN CASE it happens again.  Don’t remarry without one.  It gives both of you some certainty and an insurance policy of sorts. 

People grow through experiences.  Sometimes you realize what you had and what you lost.  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 for more information.

What Does the Court Consider An Emergency?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

What may seem like an emergency to you, may not be even considered by the divorce courts in West Palm Beach…For example, if your Wife files for divorce and then throws all of your clothes into the pool, you can file an injunction to prevent her from damaging your property, but it will be heard by the judge in the normal course.  You may go weeks without your clothes.  And she may not face the consequences until the division of assets and debts. 

Or if your husband throws you out of the marital home and changes the locks, you can motion the court for reentry, but that won’t be heard for a week because of notice requirements to the other side. 

However, we lawyers have a trick to this…if something seems like an emergency to you , we lawyers can ask for an “expedited” hearing on the matter.  Courts view emergencies as life and death situations.  Barring that, expedited hearings are a way to get immediate court attention.  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.

Can You Get Divorced Without Property Settlement?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Yes, in Palm Beach County, Florida you can get your divorce and then settle the property, asssets and debts later.  It is called BIFURCATION.  Your lawyer can “bifurcate” the case, meaning do the divorce first and later on do the division of assets and debts, or property and liabilities.

This is accomplished by a motion to the court with a specific legal reason to get the divorce over with quickly.  Either you want to remarry in a hurry, or you have children that you do not want to be used as pawns in a property settlement.  There could also be mental health issues to quickly bifurcate a case, or  there is a dying witness who needs to testify in the matter.

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.