Divorce Depositions And What To Ask

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

By the time depositions are being considered in a divorce case, the parties would have had to produce what is called mandatory disclosure under Florida divorce law.  This means the husband and the wife have gathered documents regarding finances and have exchanged them for review.  Financial affidavits would also have been filed by the time of taking depositions.  Because most divorces are all about money, in terms of alimony and/or child support, as well as the value of the marital “stuff” , deposition questions usually are about money.  How one arrives at a figure on the financial affidavit is a fair question.  How one spends funds, is another fair question.  In fact, all questions are fair game in this game of depositions.  Anything that will lead to more information that could possibly be relevant in the case is a fair question.

Can you not answer a deposition question?  Yes.  If you refuse to answer a deposition question, the asking attorney will mark that in the court reporter’s transcript and take it up with the judge.  If the judge rules you must answer the question after hearing why you think you shouldn’t have to, you will probably have to pay the other attorney for the trouble of attending a hearing on 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.

How To Navigate The Deadlines In Divorce Litigation

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire

Divorce is a process.  It takes time to get from one point to the next.  First, when you file, your petition for dissolution of marriage, the other spouse must be served with divorce papers.  Once served, that spouse has 20 days to file a responsive pleading and/or a counter petition for divorce.  Should a counter petition be filed, you, the filing spouse, have 20 days to respond to that counter petition.  Then comes the discovery and disclosure of financial information.  A financial affidavit must be filed along with supporting documents given to the other side.  Motions to compel mandatory disclosure may have to be heard by the judge.  However, once all the disclosure requirements are met, the parties can set a mediation in an attempt to settle the matters in dispute.  At this point, you have already spent 3 to 6 months or longer to get to mediation.  At mediation, the divorce may fully settle, partially settle or there may be no settlement at all.  If there is no settlement, a temporary relief hearing will be scheduled before the judge.  Typical relief is child support, alimony and attorneys fees to finance the litigation of this pending divorce. 

This, of course, is an overly simplified discussion of the process and curve balls may get in the way, costing time and money.  The important thing to do is talk to your lawyer and understand the time lines, so you don’t have unrealistic expectations.  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

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.

 

 

Your Divorce Is Public Record!

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

You may not be aware of this, but your friends, private investigators, nosy neighbors, future husbands or wives, and complete strangers can have access to your final judgment for divorce and more, to be found right there in your court file.  Anyone can see what assets you get or give away in your divorce.  Anyone can see how many children you have, how many homes you have, how many cars you have and what debts you walk away with…it’s all right there for the looking and available to anyone who cares to see right there in public view.

Things that are protected from prying eyes of the world include bank account and credit card numbers, social security numbers, children’s names and birthdates, adoption records, mental health and other health records.  These are privacy protected by the court system.

However, all pleadings in your divorce matter and all allegations made in court documents are on public view, no matter which party makes them.  So if you are going to call your husband or wife a liar and psychopath, or a child molester, you may want to think about the effect on the children in the future.  Financial affidavits, like arrest records, are also public record.  Financial affidavits list everything from
 a person’s monthly dry cleaning bill to rent or mortgage payments.

Perhaps the most damaging or privacy invasive court document available for the world to see is the final judgment of divorce or the marital settlement agreement.  These are very detailed documents which set forth marriage and divorce details you might not want your neighbors to know.  Unfortunately, it is in rare cases that certain documents can be kept out of the court file.  If you want more information about your particular case, 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.

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.

Divorce Allegations and Proof Required

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

There are many allegations that can go flying around in divorce cases in Palm Beach County…drug and alcohol abuse, wife beating, illicit affairs and marital monies spent…these are just a few.

It is important to realize that whatever a spouse alleges in divorce court, must be proven in order for the judge to make a finding as to the validity of the allegation., and thereby rule upon it based upon fairness of the situation.

So, for example, to say or testify that your husband has been cheating is not enough.  You must show with substantial evidence that he purchased a car for his girlfriend, or is paying her rent regularly, thereby dissipating marital assets.  Another example:  If you find something incorrect on your wife’s financial affidavit, you must prove the falsity, rather than just put forth the allegation.

Trial judges don’t take your position on its face value.  What you allege in divorce court you have to prove.   And of course, the allegations have to be relevant and material to the issues at hand.  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.

Misconceptions About Divorce

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

I often get asked questions from clients that seem so elementary to me that sometimes I feel like a therapist.  But I get these same questions over and over again, so I thought I should address them for the benefit of those who need the advice:

1.  Is divorce going to devastate my family?  It doesn’t have to.  If you and your spouse are adult enough to put children first, you will realize you will be co parenting for a long time and do what you think is in the best interests of the children.  The problem is that often the two opinions don’t jive but rather conflict.  When that happens, there is mediation or therapy.

2.  Do I have to list every penny I spend and earn on my financial affidavit?  No, as long as you estimate closely to what the real figure is.   This is not an exercise in balancing your checkbook.

3.  Will my spouse follow a court order?  He/she should, but if he/she doesn’t, you have legal recourse.

4.  Will my case settle?  In my practice 75% of our divorce cases do settle.  As for a particular case, who knows?  We certainly advocate for amicable settlement, but sometimes that is just not possible.

5.  Will I have to leave the family business?  If you are divorcing, yet working in a family business, it is highly likely that you will be foreclosed from continuing in that position if the family is on your spouse’ side.

6.  Will my lifestyle suffer as a result of the divorce?  It depends.  Some people prosper without their spouse dragging them down financially or emotionally.   Others face problems on their own that they never had before as part of a married couple.

7.   Who gets the dog?  This is an interesting one.  Pets are viewed under the law as chattel or things, no different than a living room sofa.  However, pets carry the emotions of their owners as if they are children.  I have done cases where the former spouses exercise time sharing.  Also I usually try to have the pet go where the children go at the time.

8.  Can I date and have sex?  Of course.  Florida is a no fault state.  Just be sure the children aren’t harmed in some way from your behavior.

There are hundreds of these types of questions.  If you have one, pick up the phone and call 561 835 9091 to arrange for a consultation with me on your specific case.  Or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com.