Divorce And Your Future

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In divorce cases, there are two choices:  you can either settle with your spouse out of court, or trust your luck in the divorce court casino.  But know full well, that judge’s hear this stuff all day long, day in day out, and your case is not unique in that sense.  Judge’s also do not like to micro manage people’s lives, and will do anything, including throwing the attorneys out into the hallway during a trial, to avoid having to make a ruling. 

That being said, how do you know what is likely to happen?  How do you know whether to settle with your spouse or go to trial?  The operative word is “reasonable”.  If the settlement proposal is reasonable, and it is something you both can live with, although neither likes, and both parties are compromising, then it is probably best to negotiate the offer. 

Whether a divorce is resolved by settlement or trial, know that your future depends upon what happens in divorce proceedings.  Educate yourself, then trust your instincts.  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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Do You Have A Spiteful, Vindictive Spouse???

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

You are going through a divorce.  You are the one who wants out.  You have a spouse who it hurt, and as a result is spiteful and vindictive.  You want to settle the divorce issues and move on, but he/she is more interested in getting even.  What to do?

I face this question nearly every day in the 13 years I have been a divorce lawyer in Palm Beach County.   You have few options:

1.  Get into marriage counseling or therapy together immediately.

2.  Offer much more than his/her share of the marital estate to get the deal done.

3.  Meet any other demands, such as relocation, giving the marital home, or other “unfair” requirements just to move on.

4.  Stay and fight it out in court.  A judge will see the emotion at trial and will simply follow the law.

With spiteful, vindictive spouses, chances are there will be domestic violence or destruction of personal property.  Be sure to protect yourself from both situations.  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 Will My Divorce Take?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Divorces are like people…each case is different.  But I can give my clients some guidelines as to how long it will take to get a divorce, based upon the facts of the marriage and the personalities involved.

If both parties want the divorce, obviously it will go quicker than if one spouse wants it and the other does not.

If someone is motivated to cooperate, it will go quicker.  For example, if a spouse wants to remarry fairly quickly.

If both parties have been already living separate and apart, chances are the divorce will be on the fast track.

If there is nothing substantial to fight over, in terms of assets, debts or children, the divorce will be fast.

So what does this mean…normally, when a petition for dissolution of marriage is filed and served, the recipient has 20 days to respond.  He/she can respond on day 1 or day 19.  After that, financial affidavits must be filed.  That can be done also within days.  If parties cooperate, a divorce can be done in less than a month.

Other divorces are more complex, leaving the parties with minutia to fight over.  These types of litigious divorces can take as long as several years to complete.  Every step of the way may require a court hearing, in terms of motions to compel, motions for protective orders, motions to set mediations, depositions or other hearings and no one agrees to anything.

So depending upon your circumstances, divorces can be completed in as little as 4 weeks or as long as three years. If you are thinking about getting a divorce in Palm Beach County, talk to 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.

Florida Divorce Law…Mediate or Litigate?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In the State of Florida, and Palm Beach County in particular, all parties to a divorce must attend a mediation session in an attempt to settle their divorce issues prior to going to trial. Approximately 70% of divorce cases settle in mediation with the result being a marital settlement agreement signed by both the husband and the wife.

Judges prefer to lighten their caseload this way.  And they don’t have to micro manage the affairs of a family.  It is always best when the parties themselves determine their futures.

However, some cases just cannot settle.  Usually it is the complex ones that a frought with emotion.  Like who should spend the most time with the children. Some common disputes include differences of opinion over what something is worth, like a family business or a marital home; what a spouse’s income truly is for purposes of child support or alimony calculations; whether something is marital or the separate property of one spouse or the other; whether parents gave the divorcing parties a gift or a loan. 

These are just some examples of issues that may not be able to be settled in mediation.  If one party wants to settle and the other party wants to go to trial, off to the courthouse you both go.   Trial is expensive and requires countless witnesses and documents.  Settling and moving on with one’s life is a better alternative.  If you are thinking about getting a divorce in Palm Beach County, call one of the experienced 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.  At the Firm we do settlements, trial, and even appeals.

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.

Custody, Child Support and other Children’s Issues in Divorce.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Many issues in divorce situations can be settled by the husband and wife, who agree to split assets and debts of the marriage.  But one issue that almost never settles, and therefore, has to be litigated, is CUSTODY.  The question becomes, “Where are the children going to live?” “Which parent is going to have day to day responsibility for the children?”  What about parenting styles?  If there are two good parents, this becomes a very difficult question.  In other cases, where one of the parents is an alcoholic, drug addict, neglects the children, or otherwise is an inferior parent for mental health reasons, or whatever, these cases are clearer.  But in cases where there are two decent parents fighting for custody of the children, it is the job of the judge to decide where the best interests of the children best lie.   Custody, as a term of art, is being replaced in new laws using the term “parental time sharing” or “parenting plan”.  However, the children must live somewhere, and that is usually where the custodial parent resides, for all intents and purposes.

Aside from custody, child support is paid to that custodial parent by the other parent. The amount is statutory, calculated in Florida by using the combined monthly incomes of the husband and the wife.  Florida Statute Chapter 61.30 is for your reference, the child support statute. Lawyers have special softward to determine the amount of child support in a case, taking into consideration all other deductions.

Speaking of deductions, here are the other issues in a divorce case involving children.  Who gets the head of household tax deduction yearly?  Who takes the dependency exemptions on their tax returns?  Which parent gets the child care tax credit?  Which parent covers the children’s health insurance for a credit?  What about uncovered medical expenses for the children?  Who pays for private school or sleepaway summer camp?  What about other activties like tennis lessons or piano lessons?  What happens if one parent wants to move far away?  What if the “custodial parent” wants to move away WITH the children?

If the husband and wife cannot agree to these ongoing concerns of the children, then the judge will decide the family’s future.  For more information about children’s issues in divorce, call the law firm of Robin Roshkind, P.A. for a consultation with one of our attorneys at 561-835-9091.  Or view the 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.