Exchanging Information In Divorce Cases

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

It is common knowledge that divorce is all about money.  Sometimes it is amazing at how two people can greatly differ in opinions at to what things are worth.  For example, a marital home, a piece of jewelry, a painting, a business…the parties can be worlds apart as to what the true value is of any marital asset. 

That is why parties in divorce cases employ appraisers.  And even appraisers can differ.  But in dividing marital assets and debts, no matter how you look at it, there has to be  an exchange of financial information.  This takes up most of the time in a case early on.  It is called the discovery phase of the case.  There is mandatory disclosure, and there are requests for documents to be produced. There are also interrogatories to be answered.  All this information has to be gathered, photocopied, logged and presented to the opposing side in the divorce case.  This is extremely tedious, time consuming and downright annoying for both parties involved but it is a necessary evil.  Upon the exchange of financial information, the lawyers will set a mediation in an attempt to settle the matter.  Any disputes will be presented at trial in a temporary relief hearing, and the divorce lawyers will then start preparing for trial.  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.  

Divorce And Your Future

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In divorce cases, there are two choices:  you can either settle with your spouse out of court, or trust your luck in the divorce court casino.  But know full well, that judge’s hear this stuff all day long, day in day out, and your case is not unique in that sense.  Judge’s also do not like to micro manage people’s lives, and will do anything, including throwing the attorneys out into the hallway during a trial, to avoid having to make a ruling. 

That being said, how do you know what is likely to happen?  How do you know whether to settle with your spouse or go to trial?  The operative word is “reasonable”.  If the settlement proposal is reasonable, and it is something you both can live with, although neither likes, and both parties are compromising, then it is probably best to negotiate the offer. 

Whether a divorce is resolved by settlement or trial, know that your future depends upon what happens in divorce proceedings.  Educate yourself, then trust your instincts.  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.

A Speedy Trial In Divorce Court?

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Getting divorced is a process, and the wheels of justice turn ever so slowly.  That is the answer to the question of a speedy trial in divorce court:  it is highly unlikely.  Here’s why:

1.  The first reason is that all divorcing couples in Palm Beach County must provide a financial affidavit backed up with documents called mandatory disclosure.  This includes things like pay stubs, tax returns, bank account statements, bills, and lots of other paper proof, including appraisals, mortgages, car loan documents and the list goes on and on.  These things take time to gather and there are mandatory deadlines along with extensions for good cause.  Often times you can’t rush those deadlines.

2.   Along with discovery of documents, comes depositions.  Each side has the opportunity to take the deposition of the other party, their witnesses and expert witnesses like the CPA, appraiser or the psychologist. 

3.  Expert witnesses need time to put together reports for the judge to consider. Whether it is a social evaluator, a vocational evaluator, a real estate appraiser, a forensic CPA, or any other expert, they need time to analyze and prepare their evidence and reports.

4.  All parties to a divorce in Palm Beach County must go to mediation before ever seeing the judge.  This needs to be scheduled and involves several people: the lawyers, the CPAs, the parties, and the mediator.  It is a challenge to get everyone available at the same time, and this takes some doing.

5.  Negotiations are ongoing.  While all of the above is ongoing, settlement is always a possibility.  Some parties have a habit of offering up settlement offer after settlement offer just to keep the litigation ongoing or to buy some time to strategize. 

In conclusion, if you are thinking about a divorce, the process can take anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending upon how much is involved in the marital estate, and vindictive the husband and wife want to be toward each other.  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.

 

 

Liars, and Cheaters and Fraud…Oh My!

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

I once heard a divorce court judge address a courtroom full of lawyers, husbands and wives, court reporters and spectators, and what he said will never leave my memory…he said something to the effect that, this is divorce court.. everyone is lying.

Appraisers can place valuations of heirlooms to real estate to benefit the party who hires them…accountants can make the numbers say anything they want to…lawyers can interpret statutes and case law from their ownone sided  perspectives…financial affidavits of husbands and wives generally and regretably leave something off the asset column.  One can conclude divorce court is not an exact science.

So how do you reconcile the difficulties of litigation?  The first and best answer is to stay out of court.  At least in settlement talks the parties can determine their own destinies, like it or not.  The next best step is zealous advocacy.  Hire professionals who really on are your side and are dedicated to doing the best job possible for you.  This includes the accountant, the lawyer, the appraiser, the shrink, and private eye and anyone else you need to rely upon for zealous advocacy.

Lastly, you must not have personality conflicts involved in your case.  If you are not comfortable with your “team” do something about it before it is too late.  You can always change attorneys, CPAs, shrinks, etc.

For more information about this or other hot 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.

Judge’s Decision vs. Amicable Settlement In Divorce Court

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

When you are thinking about filing for divorce, you had better think about what kind of marriage you have.  That is to say, is it full of hate and vindictiveness?  Is it full of secrets?  Is money scarce?  Does your spouse withhold sex?  Are you just room mates without passion?  Is there a paramour involved?

The personalities of the husband and the wife are key along with the circumstances for the bad marriage.  Often this determines what type of divorce you will ultimately be involved in.  If both parties realize the marriage has been over for years, it will be a much easier divorce than if your spouse just caught you in the bedroom with another and ran out to file papers.

Is there a way to predict?  Sometimes marriage counseling can help husbands and wives resolve the issues of whether to go forward or not with an amicable divorce, or to litigate and let the judge decide how  you will live the rest of your lives.  For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091.

What Is A Vocational Evaluation And When Is It Used In Court?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

I have a client whose wife has a college degree and a license to practice real estate sales.   However, the husband and wife agreed about 6 years ago, that the wife would stay home and raise the children as a stay at home mother.  The husband, my client, was and is the major breadwinner of the family. 

Now the children are in high school, and the wife is still a stay at home mom.  She has filed for divorce and wants a permanent alimony.  The wife wants to maintain the lifestyle of the marriage.  Except the husband is in the building industry and new home construction is down along with his income in this present economy.  The issue is does the wife have to go out to work now that she will be divorced?

So in order to prove that she is capable of earning a living, I motioned the court for a vocational study to determine her employability in today’s marketplace.   With her active license and her education level, the wife went off to the evaluator, who is a psychologist, for testing.   The testing most likely will result in the conclusion that the wife is employable at some salary.  Therefore my client’s (husband) obligation to pay a hefty alimony will be diminished because of the law of alimony, which is wife’s need in this case and husband’s ability to pay.  Her need will be lowered by my proving to the judge that she can work and earn something.   Her children are grown and I do believe the judge will take all of those findings into consideration in a lower alimony award than she expects. 

So what is the defense side?  If I were representing the wife, if I couldn’t prevent the motion for vocational evaluation by issuing a request for a protective order, then afterwards, I could negotiate a much larger piece of the marital estate instead of a 50/50 split in lieu of a permanent alimony.  That way my client (wife now) would get the money or assets up front and have the freedom to invest with her own control.  I would also focus on what she is capable of earning and the fact that she can’t find a job in real estate in this market.  Thereby I would have established her need for support even if albeit she gets only a small award of alimony.  She would have a larger portion of the marital estate and perhaps even remain in the marital home.

In conclusion, vocational evaluations are used in court to lower support obligations of the other party.  They are a very effective tool, but ultimately it is the judge who at his/her discretion decides what is going to be if the parties can’t come to some collaborative divorce resolution.  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.