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.  

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

Who Pays The Bills When A Divorce Is Pending?

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

The answer is… it depends…if the parties, during an intact marriage, each agreed to pay their own credit card bills, gasoline, cell phones, etc., then that should continue while the parties are trying to sort out the divorce.  If each party historically paid half the mortgage, half the groceries, utilities, or even if it was a 60% to 40% split, or whatever the arrangement was, then that should continue.  The reason being, that so many couples use anger to get even, that both the husband and the wife end up ruining their good credit in fighting over who pays what.  Neither makes the mortgage payment, for example, and the credit of both is ruined, let alone, the house may go into foreclosure.

This is not a smart tactic, certainly if the marital home has equity.  You will both lose.  So maintaining the status quo is probably the best advice I could give.  However, in the case where there is a major breadwinner, say the husband, and he cuts off financial assistance to the wife, this can be a very tricky situation for the wife.  She will have to have assistance from friends and family to get through the process, at least until the point of going to mediation or a temporary relief hearing.  This could take months.   On the flip side, if the wrong doer’s behavior is noted by the judge , which it will be, especially where there are children involved,  there certainly will be ugly ramifications.   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.

Preparing for a Divorce Trial

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

If the issues of alimony, child support, time sharing, and division of marital property, assets  and debts cannot be agreed to by the parties in  a marital settlement agreement, a divorce case that is pending, will be going to trial.   After extensive and detailed discovery, and the exchange of documents and financial information between the parties, one or the other spouse can request a trial date from the judge.  The judge will then review the history of the case by checking the docket sheet to make sure all pleadings are closed and replied to.  That being the case, the judge will issue an order setting a trial date and informing the two attorneys of the requirements prior to trial. 

This includes filing a pre trial stipulation as to what facts are agreed to by the two opposing attorneys, what facts are in dispute, what issues need to be adjudicated.  It also includes the requirement of providing in advance any relevant case law or memorandum of law on a disputed issue, a fact witness list and rebuttal witness list for either party, an inspection and filing of exhibits and evidence and any objections thereto.  The judge will also order a mediation to occur sometime prior to the trail date.

Copies of all relevant documents have to be provided to the opposing attorney, as well as be available for the judge.  Also in advance of trial depositions have to take place and court reporter transcripts have to be ordered.  Trial preparation is a huge and costly task, involving lawyers, paralegals, expert witnesses, and support staff, along with document logs and generation.  That is why going to trial is such an expensive undertaking.  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.  

 

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.