“He Said She Said” Not Enough In Divorce Court

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida
After filing for divorce in Palm Beach County, it is mandatory that the parties exchange financial information by way of proof.  This helps to settle divorce issues like alimony and attorneys fees, child support and division of marital assets and debts.

Each party must provide to the other things like tax returns, bank statements, credit card bills, pay check stubs or income statements, mortgages, investment and retirement accounts and the like.  Both parties are required to disclose this information under Florida Family Law Rule 12.285, which is commonly referred to as the mandatory disclosure rule.  In most cases, the court requires going back one to three years with these statements.

The court views these statements as the back up data to a parties’ sworn financial affidavit, perhaps the most important document in any divorce.  A divorce cannot be granted without one.  Proof of income is used for child support calculation purposes; to show need or ability to pay alimony and attorneys fees.  Credit card and other billing statements show debt.  Investment accounts, mortgages, and deeds to real estate show lifestyle of the marriage and determine equitable distribution schemes.

The paper pile tends to grow but merely standing in court and testifying as to your need, or lifestyle or debt is just not enough for the divorce court judge.  Your allegations must always be backed up by proof.  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.

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What Is A Vocational Evaluation And When Is It Used In Court?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

I have a client whose wife has a college degree and a license to practice real estate sales.   However, the husband and wife agreed about 6 years ago, that the wife would stay home and raise the children as a stay at home mother.  The husband, my client, was and is the major breadwinner of the family. 

Now the children are in high school, and the wife is still a stay at home mom.  She has filed for divorce and wants a permanent alimony.  The wife wants to maintain the lifestyle of the marriage.  Except the husband is in the building industry and new home construction is down along with his income in this present economy.  The issue is does the wife have to go out to work now that she will be divorced?

So in order to prove that she is capable of earning a living, I motioned the court for a vocational study to determine her employability in today’s marketplace.   With her active license and her education level, the wife went off to the evaluator, who is a psychologist, for testing.   The testing most likely will result in the conclusion that the wife is employable at some salary.  Therefore my client’s (husband) obligation to pay a hefty alimony will be diminished because of the law of alimony, which is wife’s need in this case and husband’s ability to pay.  Her need will be lowered by my proving to the judge that she can work and earn something.   Her children are grown and I do believe the judge will take all of those findings into consideration in a lower alimony award than she expects. 

So what is the defense side?  If I were representing the wife, if I couldn’t prevent the motion for vocational evaluation by issuing a request for a protective order, then afterwards, I could negotiate a much larger piece of the marital estate instead of a 50/50 split in lieu of a permanent alimony.  That way my client (wife now) would get the money or assets up front and have the freedom to invest with her own control.  I would also focus on what she is capable of earning and the fact that she can’t find a job in real estate in this market.  Thereby I would have established her need for support even if albeit she gets only a small award of alimony.  She would have a larger portion of the marital estate and perhaps even remain in the marital home.

In conclusion, vocational evaluations are used in court to lower support obligations of the other party.  They are a very effective tool, but ultimately it is the judge who at his/her discretion decides what is going to be if the parties can’t come to some collaborative divorce resolution.  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.

Women who pay alimony.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

It does happen.  Wives earn more money than their husbands.  Like the song says, what does love have to do with it?  There are high powered executive women who do pay alimony to car mechanics.  Here’s why:

In long term marriages of 13 years or more, and where the major breadwinner of the family is and has been the wife, chances are better than 50% that the husband will collect alimony, if the wife has historically and consistently been earning 20% or more than the husband. 

The law of alimony is need and ability to pay.  If the husband can prove need and the ability of the wife to pay for his support, then alimony will be awarded, provided the husband meets many of the 30 statutory factors in an alimony award.  Some of those include contribution to the marriage, age and health of the parties, lifestyle during the marriage, duration of the marriage, education levels of the parties, employment opportunities available and relative incomes of the parties. 

The biased attitude is:  what kind of man would accept that.  However, there are many women who cheat on their husbands.  It’s a gender neutral world in the eyes of the law. 

For more information about this or other divorce topics, please 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.