Working the System! Motions for Extension of Time

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In my continuing series of articles on how to legally and validly “work the system” in divorce court, there is something under the law called a “Motion for Extension of  Time”.  Lawyers use this as a strategy, to buy themselves or their clients more time in which to file a responsive pleading, or to enlarge the time allowed to produce discovery (financial disclosure) documents. 

Certain events in divorce law have a time frame and deadline.  For example, if a petition for dissolution of marriage is filed and served against a spouse, that spouse by law has 20 calendar days in which to file an answer, after which, technically, they are in default. 

If, on day #19, the spouse decides to hire a divorce lawyer, that lawyer needs more time to fashion an answer to the petition.  So that lawyer will file a motion for extension of time in which to file an answer and perhaps reserve the right to even file a counter petition.  Merely by filing for an extension of time, the lawyer gets an extension of time.  It’s a gimme or a mulligan, if you are a golfer.

The divorce court judge may put a future deadline on the task, but mission accomplished, none the less.  The same tactics are legitimately used with discovery deadlines.  By filing a motion to enlarge time, your lawyer gets an extended deadline and more time for you to comply. 

The danger lies in repeated infractions.  If a second motion dare to be filed, the judge will catch onto these antics and that is sanctionable to the lawyer or the client or both, for game playing and intentionally causing delay.  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.

What You Come Into The Marriage With You Leave With

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Generally speaking, what you come into the marriage with you leave the marriage with even if it is years later…UNLESS you have “commingled” your assets to make them marital.

What this means is if you had a home prior to the marriage and sold that house and used the net proceeds to purchase a new home during the marriage, you would get your initial downpayment back in divorce court, before any remaining net assets are divided between the parties.  Or another example,  if you owned a BMW prior to the marriage, and then during the marriage traded it in for a newer model, and a divorce is imminent, you would be able to leave the marriage with your newer car.

In thinking about divorce, it is best to try to pay off all the marital debt with marital assets prior to filing for divorce.  It is also a good idea prior to the wedding to take stock of what you are bringing into the marriage and how you can keep your pre marital assets outside of the marital estate.   One really great vehicle to accomplish this is the prenuptial agreement which requires financial disclosure.

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 Are Interrogatories?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

There are many tools divorce lawyers use to determine the truthful facts of a marriage.  Depositions are one way to seek information.  Production of documents or discovery documents are another.  This is where a party has to produce tax returns, bank statements, credit card bills and the like.  A financial affidavit is a sworn statement that asserts the truth about one’s expenses, income, assets and debts.

Interrogatories are another way a divorce lawyer can gather information.  They are a series of questions that ask everything from whose name is on the deed of the marital home to how much is set aside for kids’ college educations.  They are sworn to as correct and truthful by the party who answers the questions.

If you are getting divorced in Palm Beach County, Florida, and want more information about this or any other divorce topic, 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.

Financial Disclosure An Important Legal Matter

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Financial disclosure, sometimes called discovery, or mandatory disclosure, is an important requirement of several legal situations.  Without it, the validity of an agreement cannot be verified, a divorce cannot be granted and a prenuptial agreement may be declared voidable.

For example, a financial affidavit and supporting documents such as tax returns are a requirement for a divorce in Palm Beach County.  Without the parties’s disclosure, the judge cannot grant a divorce.

In cases where the parties wish to marry and have a prenuptial agreement, disclosure is required before a party can waive his or her marital rights.

In a marital settlement agreement, if there is any hidden money, secreted bank accounts or funds not disclosed, a divorce will turn nasty, lengthy and expensive.

We lawyers have our ways of getting hold of these documents.  We issue a request to produce certain documents, interrogatories, or a request for admissions.

We divorce lawyers also  have our ways to limit disclosure.  Discovery can be protected though if it causes undue burden, is a vague request, too broad in time frames.  This is accomplished by a motion for protective order and a hearing before the judge. 

If you are thinking about getting divorced or married in Palm Beach County, Florida, call ond of the attorneys at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

CASE OF THE MONTH: Marrying a Foreign National

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

A client came to me saying he wanted to get married, but wanted to protect his assets via a pre nuptial agreement.  The bride to be was a younger woman from South America.

THE PROBEMS:  On those few facts, here is what I advised.

1.  Do the pre nuptial agreement and get it executed long before setting a wedding date.

2.  To be sure the bridge wasn’t marrying him for US Citizenship purposes, give her nothing by virtue of the pre nup the first 3 years of marriage.

3.  She will need to testify at the pre nuptial agreement signing that she has no language barriers and that she fully reads, writes, speaks and understands English.

4.  The pre nup signing will be videotaped.

5.  The bride needed her own attorney.

6.  Both bride and groom need to disclose finances.

On those few facts, and these six points of advice, I may have saved this man millions of dollars and years of misery.  For more information about this or other marital topics, call one of the lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.familylawwpb.com.

Enforcing a Prenuptial Agreement.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

You are going to get married.  You hire a lawyer to draft a prenuptial agreement.  After extensive negotiations, all is agreed to, signed by both the future bride and groom, and the wedding takes place.  After several years, you want to divorce.  How do you go about enforcing a prenuptial agreement when your spouse wants to contest its terms?

There are several things to consider in prenuptial agreement litigation.  Below is the list:

1.  How close to the wedding date was the prenuptial agreement executed by both parties.

2.  Was there duress in the signing.   Was the signing videotaped.

3.  Was there full financial disclosure by both parties and was there any fraud.

4.  Were the terms of the prenuptial agreement reasonable under the circumstances of the parties.

5.  Did both parties read English.

6.  Did both parties have lawyers representing their best interests.

7.  Were both parties able to understand what they were signing.

If you answered no to any of these, or the signing of the prenuptial agreement was too close to the wedding date, you may be able to void the prenuptial agreement.  For more information, call one of the lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com.

What happens if you can’t agree to agree at mediation?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

You filed divorce papers.  Your spouse has responded.  Pleadings are closed and financial discovery is complete.  It’s time to go to mediation here in Palm Beach County courts.  But what happens if you and your spouse just can’t agree to the terms of your divorce at mediation?

One of the attorneys will set a temporary relief hearing before the judge to determine on a temporary basis who pays for what, when, how much, and where the children will live, child support amounts and other details, pending a trial.  So if mediation does not resolve the disputed issues between the husband and the wife, one this court order is in place, it is time to prepare for trial.

This is where divorce litigation gets expensive.  It is time to bring in the experts, whether it is an accountant, an appraiser, a real estate agent, a psychologist, the child’s teacher, etc.  Testimony will be taken in depositions, and at trial.  Exhibits and evidence will be prepared.  And the judge will decide what is to become of the family.

For more information about divorce mediation and litigation, call on 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.