All I Want For Christmas Is A Divorce. How Do I Get One?

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

You start by taking stock…of your situation, your family finances, your assets and your debts.  Educate yourself as to your spouse’ income, his/her spending, and whereabouts.  Then pick up the phone to a divorce lawyer.

Once you have a good idea of the value of your house, your stock accounts, your incomes, get your hands on your tax returns, bank statements, credit card bills, mortgage papers, loan applications, insurance documents, estate planning instruments, and anything else that evidences money. 

Remember in Florida, there is no fault divorce; there is equitable distribution of marital assets and debts, and there is premarital property that may or may not have been comingled.  There is also permanent alimony, durational alimony, bridge the gap alimony, and no alimony.  There is child time sharing, child support, shared parental responsibility, or sole parental responsibility. 

There is money for attorneys fees and costs, or not.  There is mediation and settlement, or trial.  There are depositions, mandatory financial disclosure, and penalties for not producing financial disclosure.  Divorce is a process, but in certain circumstances, it is the best gift you could ever give yourself.  You don’t need his/her permission to get a divorce in this state.  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.  

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.

How long does a divorce take?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

I once did a divorce in FOUR days.  Here’s how that worked:  A race car driver (my client) and his wife arrived at my office by appointment, along with their accountant.  The accountant knew the family businesses and finances.  Both the husband and wife trusted this accountant, and relied on the fairness of the accountant’s judgment in setting forth the terms of the marital settlement.  They all marched into my office on a Thursday; I drafted all the paperwork, petitions, waivers, court orders, hearing notices, and I had them divorced by Monday. 

That is an exception to the rule.  Here is Palm Beach County, Florida, there are certain family court rules that divorce lawyers have to follow UNLESS a client and spouse WAIVE those rights.  Once a divorce petition is served upon the other spouse, the responding spouse has 20 days in which to file an answer and counter petition.

The petitioner then has 45 days from date of filing to produce mandatory disclosure of finances.  The respondent has 45 days from date of service to provide mandatory disclosure documents.  Once financials are exchanged and reviewed, the parties can schedule mediation which is also mandatory in Palm Beach County.  This process usually takes about 3 to 4  months.

At mediation, the case can resolve, and the parties sign a marital settlement agreement.  That agreement is then used for the final judgment of divorce, which takes another month or so to go before the judge.

This is a best case scenario.  If there is no resolution at mediation, the case goes before the judge in a temporary relief hearing.  The judge then sets forth the terms of the separation pending the rest of the divorce proceedings.  The “rest” of depositions, discovery, subpeonas, witness interviews, expert witness analysis, etc. can take up to another year or two.

It all really depends upon how litigious or complex the case is and how cooperative or uncooperative the parties are.  For more information about the divorce process, 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.

Finances and the public record.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In divorce cases in Palm Beach County, both parties have to fill out and file in the courthouse a financial affidavit.  This is mandatory whether you are wealthy or not.  A financial affidavit is a sworn statement as to all your assets, debts, bank accounts, credit card debt, mortgages, loans, income, securities and more.  Anyone can access the court file on you and learn about your financial situation.

Financial affidavits and marital settlement agreements are filed with the court for all to see as part of the public record.  Third parties can ascertain the division of marital assets and debts, whether alimony is paid or received, how much a party is to pay in child support and to whom, and in general, everything about the settlement or trial results.   Any account numbers are identified by the last four digits of the account for minimal privacy. 

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.

Divorce and full disclosure. It’s part of the process.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach

When anyone files for divorce in the state of Florida procedurally,, one must follow the rules of mandatory disclosure.  This rule is 12.285 in the Florida Rules of Court.

What is says is if any party is seeking financial relief, or if child support is involved in the case, one must disclose all his/her financial information.  This includes filing a sworn financial affidavit, accompanied by supporting documents.  A financial affidavit includes one’s income, assets, debts, deductions, financial obligations to a prior family, and the like.  Documents required to be produced to the other party include pay stubs, tax returns, bonuses, deeds, mortgages, car payments, health insurance costs, child support paid to another family, if any, loan documents title documents, credit card statements, bank statements, stock account or other financial instruments.  In other words, all documentation that is evidence of one’s financial resources and obligation must be provided. 

Once both sides exchange these items, then in Palm Beach County divorce court, all parties and their counsel must attend mediation prior to going to court.  This is a court mandate, becu\ause most cases settle without a judge.  Mediation is where the parties andtheir attorneys can try to come up with a marital settlement agreement.  If that should fail, then a temporary relief hearing, a mini trial, is set before the judge.  The case at this point then turns from settlement to litigation, which is very costly. 

For more information about financial discovery in divorce cases, please click on the Robin Roshkind, P.A. website at www.familylawwpb.com or consult with one of the attorneys at the Firm by calling 561-835-9091.