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.

 

 

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A Speedy Trial In Divorce Court?

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Getting divorced is a process, and the wheels of justice turn ever so slowly.  That is the answer to the question of a speedy trial in divorce court:  it is highly unlikely.  Here’s why:

1.  The first reason is that all divorcing couples in Palm Beach County must provide a financial affidavit backed up with documents called mandatory disclosure.  This includes things like pay stubs, tax returns, bank account statements, bills, and lots of other paper proof, including appraisals, mortgages, car loan documents and the list goes on and on.  These things take time to gather and there are mandatory deadlines along with extensions for good cause.  Often times you can’t rush those deadlines.

2.   Along with discovery of documents, comes depositions.  Each side has the opportunity to take the deposition of the other party, their witnesses and expert witnesses like the CPA, appraiser or the psychologist. 

3.  Expert witnesses need time to put together reports for the judge to consider. Whether it is a social evaluator, a vocational evaluator, a real estate appraiser, a forensic CPA, or any other expert, they need time to analyze and prepare their evidence and reports.

4.  All parties to a divorce in Palm Beach County must go to mediation before ever seeing the judge.  This needs to be scheduled and involves several people: the lawyers, the CPAs, the parties, and the mediator.  It is a challenge to get everyone available at the same time, and this takes some doing.

5.  Negotiations are ongoing.  While all of the above is ongoing, settlement is always a possibility.  Some parties have a habit of offering up settlement offer after settlement offer just to keep the litigation ongoing or to buy some time to strategize. 

In conclusion, if you are thinking about a divorce, the process can take anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending upon how much is involved in the marital estate, and vindictive the husband and wife want to be toward each other.  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.

 

 

Who Should Be On Your Divorce Team?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida
If you are going through a divorce, you have lots of experts giving you great guidance, advice, and opinions: your BFF, your next door neighbor who heard or saw all the fuss, your mother, your co-workers, your hairdresser.  But the team you really need on your side consists of professionals who are well versed in dealing with divorce issues.

You should first consider who you hire as a DIVORCE LAWYER.  Be sure there is a open line of communication and confidence, and no personality conflicts.  Second in line should be your SHRINK.   This professional will help you get through the stress and emotions of separation, divorce, and transitioning to an individual.  Next comes your FORENSIC ACCOUNTANT.  This team member is the number cruncher who traces money and assets, both obvious and hidden.  Then there is the PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR.  This professional tracks down a carousing, partying spouses, who may or may be spending substantial money on a paramour.  They also get the goods on drinkers and drug users.

Lastly, comes your KEY WITNESSES:  teachers, babysitters, friends with children who play with yours, medical professionals, or police officers who had to come investigate domestic violence, if any, and any other witnesses who can help your cause.

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 for more information.

What Type Of Divorce Will You Have? Part 2 Settlement or Trial

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

If you are thinking about getting a divorce in Palm Beach County, Florida, know that your divorce can go only one of two ways.  Either you and your spouse will settle your divorce issues, (including alimony, attorneys fees, child support, if any, child time sharing, equitable distribution of assets and debts, non marital property, name changes,) or  you will take all or some of the disputed issues to the judge.

Settlement is quicker, less expensive and less stressful.  But it can only happen if both parties want to settle.  If one spouse wants to settle but the other does not, you are going to trial.  Going to trial entails extensive discovery, depositions, witness preparation, transcripts, document production and analysis by a forensic CPA, court reporters, evidence and logs, and costs a bundle.   It also takes up a great deal of time and could cause illness from the stress of it all.

Counseling and therapy more than lawyering can help husbands and wives decide how to proceed.  Parties who can set aside emotion and just get the job done have a better chance of settlement.  Also judges would rather the spouses manage their own future lives.  They do not like to micro manage families. 

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

Asset Selection Is Important In A Divorce Settlement

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

You and your spouse are going through a divorce.  You both are represented by counsel, but the divorce is amicable with settlement in both minds.  How you divide up the assets can have significant effects on the financial health of a spouse.  That is why with my clients, I recommend a forensic CPA and even a financial planner to assist me with substantial asset divisions.

The CPA can help in determining things like the following:

1.  Valuation of a business

2.  Tax ramifications of any asset

3.  Present day value of alimony due in a lump sum versus over a period of years.

4.  Backing out personal expenses in a closely held corporation for a true personal income statement and a profit and loss statement on the company.

The Financial Planner can help with future valuations of insurance polcies, annuities, and other investment vehicles.

Also if a spouse takes a $500,000 boat owned free and clear, and the other spouse takes a $500,000 home, also owned free and clear, forensic CPAs and Financial Planners can tell me which spouse has the “better” asset.  In this way, I can negotiate for my client to the best of my ability.

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

Why is going to trial so expensive?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

The divorce petition is filed with the court and the spouse is served.  The spouse has 20 calendar days to file and answer and a counter petition for dissolution of marriage.  Over the next month or so, mandatory disclosure is produced by both husband and wife.  This may include the following: pay stubs, tax returns, credit card receipts, bank statements, stock portfolios, deeds, titles, and any other evidence of income, assets or debts of the marriage or separate property of the parties.  Armed with all this paper, this “discovery”, both spouses and their lawyers attend mediation in an attempt to settle the divorce case and any disputed issues between the parties.  If a settlement occurs, the marital settlement agreement becomes part of a court order, the final divorce decree.

Should mediation not result in a partial or global marital settlement, the next step involves divorce litigation. Going to divorce court means taking the case to the judge so he or she can decide what is going to be for the future of the family.   A temporary relief hearing is set, which essentially is a mini trial.  The court order resulting from a temporary relief hearing sets forth the terms of the separation on a temporary basis pending the divorce proceedings.  Now the fun begins.

Issues such as a valuation of a business formed during the marriage can complicate the divorce.  Issues involving the employability of a stay at home spouse can complicate the divorce.  Issues regarding an unfit parent and who is to have custody can complicate a divorce.  Issues about relocation with children out of the state can complicate a divorce.  Hidden monies offshore can complicate a divorce. Money spent on paramours can complicate a divorce.  What is marital property versus what is non marital property can complicate a divorce.  Drugs and alcohol use along with domestic violence and general health issues can complicate a divorce.  Appraisals of jewelry and property can complicate a divorce.

Along with these divorce complications, come the expert witnesses to testify on behalf of each of their clients.  These include child psychologists, marriage counselors, forensic CPAs, appraisers, real estate agents, good mommy or good daddy friends, doctors, relatives.  Sometimes all these witnesses need to be deposed prior to trial.  And paid for their time and expertise.  Or testimony at trial.  Documents that can fill libraries are generated as evidence.  Each exhibit has to be marked for admissibility into evidence.  And your divorce lawyer has to know what is on every piece of paper and where to find it in the boxes and boxes of documents.

Trial preparation, from the point of strategizing the case, to obtaining necessary information and organizing the file, to speaking in the courtroom is time consuming, stressful, and very expensive.  The more complex issues there are in dispute between the spouses, the more expensive the trial will be.  By way of example, a straightforward half day trial can cost between $15,000 – $20,000 to prepare.  At Robin Roshkind, P.A., the lawyers always attempt settlement prior to switching gears toward litigation.   For more information, visit the web site of Robin Roshkind, P.A. Divorce Lawyers at www.familylawwpb.com or call for a consultation with one of the Firm’s experienced divorce lawyers at 561-835-9091.