Are You “Entitled” To A Divorce Lawyer?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Often I get the question about whether or not a spouse should retain a divorce lawyer.   In Palm Beach County, it is not a requirement that one have a divorce lawyer to get a divorce.

In fact, many couples who cannot afford legal counsel have DIY divorces.  These are called pro se litigants by the courts.  They are spouses without divorce lawyers.   WHERE IT GETS TRICKY IS IF ONE PARTY HAS A DIVORCE LAWYER AND THE OTHER DOES NOT. When this happens, I often get the question, AM I ENTITLED TO COUNSEL?  The answer is no.

Divorce is a civil matter, unlike criminal law, and does not require the courts to appoint a lawyer for you.  Although divorce does have far reaching effects on one’s future, finances and family life, your life and liberty are not at risk, and so you are not entitled to appointed counsel even if your spouse has a lawyer.   It is highly suggested by me that you beg and borrow to hire a divorce lawyer if your spouse has one.  You may be awarded fees in your case later.  But you should not go it alone and up against your spouse’ lawyer.   Where the distinction lies is that in criminal cases, your liberty and life are at stake.   That is why in criminal cases, the court will appoint counsel for you if you cannot afford one.  Not so in divorce court, but maybe it should be.

If you are thinking about getting a divorce in Palm Beach County, 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.

Choosing A Divorce Lawyer

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

I have written about this subject before, but because there is so much confusion about the hiring of a divorce lawyer, I feel it is important to write about it again.

The first issue one must decide after concluding that a divorce is inevitable, is whether or not to use professional assistance in terms of hiring a divorce lawyer.  Because of the economy, many divorcing couples try “do it yourself” divorce.  This is fine if you have no IRS debt, no credit card debt, and no assets that are joint.  Where the danger lies is that you may have joint assets and not realize it!  Then you are giving away your rights without know what they are. 

I often say that not using a divorce lawyer is penny wise and pound foolish.  And yes, divorce lawyers are not cheap.  But if you have children, assets or debts at stake, don’t be foolish.  Get a lawyer on your side.

How to choose one?  Go for a consultation.  Look around. A lawyer should not tell you only what you want to hear.  He/she should know what he/she is talking about, has years of experience, a nice office and an experienced staff.  Get a feel for compatability and trust.  Do not hire a lawyer solely upon advertisements or hourly rates.  Just because the hourly rate is low or the retainer is minimal, these are not good reasons to choose that divorce lawyer.  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 www.familylawwpb.com.

DIY Divorce: BEWARE!

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

I had a client come in last week who told me she came to see me for a consultation to learn about her rights in divorce BECAUSE her husband told her she didn’t need a lawyer.

Like my client, when you hear this from your spouse, bells and whistles should go off.  The dialogue goes something like this:

                HONEY, SINCE MONEY IS TIGHT, AND WE ARE DOING THIS 

                DIVORCE AMICABLY ANYWAY, I WILL PAY TO HAVE MYLAWYER

                DRAW UP SOME PAPERS.  AND SINCE WE AGREE ON EVERYTHING  

                ANYWAY, YOU CAN SAVE MONEY BY NOT HIRING YOUR OWN

                LAWYER.  I WILL EVEN PAY THE FILING FEE AT THE 

                COURTHOUSE.

If your spouse says this to you, run, don’t walk, to hire your own attorney.  Amicable divorces occur every day with two clients and two attorneys.  Mediation is required in Palm Beach County, Florida, where the parties can settle their differences, being fully advised in the law and of their respective rights.  Where one spouse has something to hide, is when the other spouse is told not to retain counsel.  BEWARE of a spouse you can no longer trust.

If you are thinking about divorcing in Palm Beach County, Florida, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 for information or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com.

Video Tapes, Transcripts and Other Evidence At Trial

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

You’ve been to mediation and tried to settle with your spouse.  Unfortunately, the case is going to trial.  It’s time to hire a lawyer, if you have attempted to get your divorce without counsel.

What types of evidence will be necessary at trial?  Things like deposition transcripts, documents including tax returns, court papers, deeds to property, mortgage and car loan docs, the parties financial affidavits, credit card bills, appraisals of real and personal property, and any other relevant proof.

What are you trying to prove?  It depends if you are asking for child support, alimony, or attorneys fees, in which case incomes are important, or if  you are asking for distribution of marital assets and debts, then what the asset values are and what the debts are.

If a pre nuptial agreement is being challenged, then produce the video of the signing.  If a spouse is suspected of hiding income, then lifestyle studies are important.  If a spouse is unemployed, an employability study can be used as evidence of the marketable skills of the spouse.

Remember, you are in court because you could not agree.  At this point, don’t go to court without a lawyer.  This is too important and too tricky for a do it yourself divorce.  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.