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.  

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Divorce Depositions And What To Ask

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

By the time depositions are being considered in a divorce case, the parties would have had to produce what is called mandatory disclosure under Florida divorce law.  This means the husband and the wife have gathered documents regarding finances and have exchanged them for review.  Financial affidavits would also have been filed by the time of taking depositions.  Because most divorces are all about money, in terms of alimony and/or child support, as well as the value of the marital “stuff” , deposition questions usually are about money.  How one arrives at a figure on the financial affidavit is a fair question.  How one spends funds, is another fair question.  In fact, all questions are fair game in this game of depositions.  Anything that will lead to more information that could possibly be relevant in the case is a fair question.

Can you not answer a deposition question?  Yes.  If you refuse to answer a deposition question, the asking attorney will mark that in the court reporter’s transcript and take it up with the judge.  If the judge rules you must answer the question after hearing why you think you shouldn’t have to, you will probably have to pay the other attorney for the trouble of attending a hearing on the matter. 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 To Navigate The Deadlines In Divorce Litigation

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire

Divorce is a process.  It takes time to get from one point to the next.  First, when you file, your petition for dissolution of marriage, the other spouse must be served with divorce papers.  Once served, that spouse has 20 days to file a responsive pleading and/or a counter petition for divorce.  Should a counter petition be filed, you, the filing spouse, have 20 days to respond to that counter petition.  Then comes the discovery and disclosure of financial information.  A financial affidavit must be filed along with supporting documents given to the other side.  Motions to compel mandatory disclosure may have to be heard by the judge.  However, once all the disclosure requirements are met, the parties can set a mediation in an attempt to settle the matters in dispute.  At this point, you have already spent 3 to 6 months or longer to get to mediation.  At mediation, the divorce may fully settle, partially settle or there may be no settlement at all.  If there is no settlement, a temporary relief hearing will be scheduled before the judge.  Typical relief is child support, alimony and attorneys fees to finance the litigation of this pending divorce. 

This, of course, is an overly simplified discussion of the process and curve balls may get in the way, costing time and money.  The important thing to do is talk to your lawyer and understand the time lines, so you don’t have unrealistic expectations.  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 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.

 

 

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.

Exchanging Information In Divorce Cases

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

It is common knowledge that divorce is all about money.  Sometimes it is amazing at how two people can greatly differ in opinions at to what things are worth.  For example, a marital home, a piece of jewelry, a painting, a business…the parties can be worlds apart as to what the true value is of any marital asset. 

That is why parties in divorce cases employ appraisers.  And even appraisers can differ.  But in dividing marital assets and debts, no matter how you look at it, there has to be  an exchange of financial information.  This takes up most of the time in a case early on.  It is called the discovery phase of the case.  There is mandatory disclosure, and there are requests for documents to be produced. There are also interrogatories to be answered.  All this information has to be gathered, photocopied, logged and presented to the opposing side in the divorce case.  This is extremely tedious, time consuming and downright annoying for both parties involved but it is a necessary evil.  Upon the exchange of financial information, the lawyers will set a mediation in an attempt to settle the matter.  Any disputes will be presented at trial in a temporary relief hearing, and the divorce lawyers will then start preparing for trial.  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.