How To Modify Divorce Final Judgments And Other Family Court Orders In Florida

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In Palm Beach County, Florida, once the divorce is over and a final judgment is entered, there are certain aspects of the divorce that are literally carved in stone.  Equitable distribution of assets and debts, once decided, and unless taken up to the appellate court, are final.  If a judge made an error of fact or law in considering the equitable distribution of assets or debts of the marriage,  the flawed final judgment must go up on appeal rather quickly.  You have 10 days to file for a rehearing, and then 30 days to file a notice of appeal.  If there is no error of fact or law, then the equitable distribution scheme is set in stone.  The parties must follow the intent of the order by transferring assets, title, or rolling over retirement plans.  The parties must pay the debts assigned to each of them and hold the other party harmless from  creditors.  Enforcement and contempt proceedings are the recourse against a disobeying ex spouse.

However, certain parts of a final judgment of dissolution of marriage or a divorce decree are modifiable under the right set of circumstances.  This includes anything to do with children, and the award of alimony.   Things that can be modified by the court AFTER a final divorce decree is entered include: child support, time sharing, shared parental responsibility, health insurance for the children, uncovered medical bills, and alimony. 

The ex spouse wishing to modify the final judgment must allege a material, substantial, unanticipated, change of circumstances since the time of final judgment.  Typical changes of circumstances include a loss of employment, sickness, increased income of the ex spouse, change of work schedules, and other substantial changes in the lives of the parties.  These allegations of changed circumstances need to be set forth in a petition to modify and filed with the court.  The proceedings require the exchange of updated financial information by the parties, a mediation session where the matter may be settled by agreed order, or a visit to the judge with proof and evidence of the need for the modification.  Modifications can be tricky to achieve.  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. 

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How Do I Get Sole Decision Making Of My Kids?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In Palm Beach County divorce court, there is a presumption that both parents have equal rights to their children.  That means that unless and until a parent is proven to be incapable, both parents have equal say in major decisions regarding the upbringing of their kids.

This is called in legalese “shared parental responsibility”.  There is even a Florida statute about it.   But in many cases I see in my family law practice, shared parental decision making is not in the best interests of the children.

Where this is the case, I take the matter to court.  The job of the judge is to protect children.  If one parent is a far superior parent, and I can prove it is in the best interests of the children for the court to order SOLE PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY, then I go for it.

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.

Contract Law and Divorce Lawyers

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Many people don’t realize the amount of knowledge a divorce lawyer must have in order to effect  justice between the Husband and Wife in divorce court.

Often times, a divorce lawyer has to be well versed not only in FAMILY law, but also in TORT law, CRIMINAL law, and CONTRACT law.   Family law encompasses what is in the best interests of the child/ren, name changes, relocation matters, child support and time sharing between parents;  tort law comes into play when there is spousal abuse, physical injury, spread of disease between husband and wife; criminal law addresses stolen or damaged property of one spouse by another, violence, rape, battery and the like. 

But divorce lawyers also deal in contract law in terms of effectuating a valid, enforceable, marital settlement agreement between the parties,a division of assets and debts, future real estate arrangements, partnerships without the marriage factor.  Contracts can only be valid and enforceable if they are fairly negotiated, fully understood, and freely agreed to under controlled circumstances.   That is why in my practice, I go through a marital settlement agreement with my clients a page and paragraph at a time for an extra layer of protection.   In high asset or complex divorce matters I video tape the actual signing of these documents.   The other party always has the opportunity to challenge an agreement but the real issue is whether or not he/she will prevail.  I do everything possible to prevent a winning challenge to these contracts.

If you are thinking about getting divorced in Palm Beach County, Florida, or know someone who is, 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 The Courts Can Do For You.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

You have lived with your spouse for many years.  You are tired of a) being abused verbally b) being smacked around by a drunk c) living with a shopaholic  d) visiting your mother in law every Sunday.  You fill in the blank.

So what can the court/judge do to help if you are living in hell?  Your recourse, after marriage counseling, is to get divorced.  The court cannot make your husband sell his stamp collection or stop yelling at you.  The court cannot make your wife stop spending or prevent her from getting fat.  If you are not happy in the marriage,  get help or get out. 

I had a client whine to a judge that she had lived with a physically abusive husband for 23 years.  She was testifying, trying to make the point that the husband was a miserable person.  What does the judge care?  This wife lived with that husband all that time.  This is a no fault state.  Whining to a judge just does not help your divorce case.  Remember that a judge is a lawyer, there to uphold divorce court laws.  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.

How to determine if you should divorce.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Getting married is easy.  Divorce may not be.  So in order to evaluate whether or not to divorce here are some things to consider:

1.  Where you are going to live if you leave the marital home.  Same neighborhood, same state?

2.  Why you are leaving the marriage.  Abuse, money issues, in laws?

3.  Do you have a support network of friends and relatives.  Someone to talk to with problems and stress related issues.

4.  Do you need professional help.  Perhaps a marriage or family counselor.

5.  Do you know the family finances.  You will be required to fill out voluminous financial documents.

6.  How you will pay for a divorce lawyer.  Do  you have savings, assets to sell, or a family member who will help you.

7.  What are the laws in your state.  Have some basic knowledge.

8.  Lastly, can the marriage be saved. 

If you need help with evaluating whether or not to divorce, speak to 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.

Your rights in divorce.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Husbands and wives (and children, too) have certain protected rights in divorce matters.  For example, children have the right to a relationship with both parents unless a relationship is detrimental to the child in some way (physical abuse for example).   Both parents can fight for major timesharing with children.  Husbands and wives have the right to investigate if substantial marital monies are being dissipated or wasted by the other party.   The point is that there are many rights that are protected under family law.

The issue is not to confuse RIGHTS with prevailing at trial.  For example, a party may have the right to litigate an issue, but that does not mean that he/she will win on that point.   

Bringing a disputed issue before the judge is a right.  Whether or not you will win, is another matter.  A win will be determined by the evidence presented, and the testimony.  It is important to keep in mind that judges in family court use their discretion and subjective opinions and impressions of the parties, along with the application of family law.  So if you find you are going to trial, it is best to be represented by counsel.

For more information about your rights in divorce court, consult with 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.

You may need a divorce TEAM to play your hand…

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

The divorce process can be more complex than most people think especially when there are children and lots of debts or assets to “discuss”.  Other factors that complicate a case is domestic abuse, hidden money, affairs, mental illness, drug or sex addiction, alcoholism, gambling, income producing real estate, time shares, a business, and frequent flyer miles. 

Divorce cases that have multiple issues are best tried with a team behind you.  The team can include a CPA to trace assets, evaluate businesses, determine real income; a psychologist or THERAPIST to determine what is in the best interests of the children, or to help you deal with the pressures of divorce; a PSYCHIATRIST for extreme cases of addictions, bi polar behavior, and medications; a trained MEDIATOR to facilitate settlement negotiations; a TAX ADVISOR to project tax ramifications of settlement offers;  an INSURANCE PROFESSIONAL to guarantee support payments; a FINANCIAL PLANNER or investment advisor to help you get back on your feet after divorce;  a REALTOR to list or appraise the marital home;  an APPRAISER to value jewelry, artwork, antiques; and of course, your DIVORCE LAWYER to guide you through the court system and the entire process legally. 

Not all cases require all professionals and every case is different.  But when people ask me why a divorce is so expensive, it is because various expert witnesses are needed at a trial, or in preparation for settlement talks.  It is much better to have THE TEAM on your side than to go up against one.

For more information about this or other divorce topics, 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.