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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Working the System! Playing the “Unavailable” Game

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In my continuing series on “working the system” in divorce litigation, we already covered name changes, child support, imputation of income and motions for continuances.   Today’s blog concerns scheduling of depositions, hearings, mediations but the divorce lawyer on the other side of your case seems to continually be “unavailable” to do so.

The divorce lawyer who prepares the motion, or notices the hearing, or sets the mediation, has an obligation to coordinate such an event with opposing counsel.   If opposing counsel, for whatever reason, wants to stall the divorce proceedings, he/she may indicate the unavailability for such an event.  This “unavailable” game can be played to the point of frustrating the attorney trying to get things done, and furthermore, to frustrate the divorce process. 

After several attempts to set a divorce proceeding, to no avail, the recourse is a motion to compel the attorney to schedule whatever it is.  This motion will be heard before the divorce court judge.  If the judge senses shenanigans going on, as in intentional delay, there may be sanctions. 

Why would a divorce lawyer play the unavailable game?  One good example is if a child is living with the mother, and the father is challenging that, the lawyer for the mother might want to keep the litigation going awhile, because his client has what she wants, that being the child living with her.   Another example concerns the marital home.  If the husband is living in the marital home, he might not want to rush to sell the house.  He is living there and the longer he can delay, the better for him.  These are just two examples of how delay can work in a party’s favor.  That is why that attorney might play the unavailable game.

It does work, but only to a point.  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 Is A Motion To Compel?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

A motion to compel is filed with the divorce court and heard by the divorce court judge when a party to a divorce does not do something required to get the divorce finalized.  Usually a motion to compel has a request for attorneys fees or sanctions in it, since the filing of this type of motion was caused by the bad behavior of the other party, for which he/she might have to pay your attorneys fees and costs for having to bring the motion in the first place.

Motions to compel are filed when your spouse does not provide things you are entitled to in the divorce process.  For example:

1) A financial affidavit which is a requirement for a divorce in Palm Beach County, Florida

2) Mandatory disclosure, including tax returns, bank statements, credit card bills, pay stubs, and the like,  including other financial information to which you are entitled to.

3)  If your spouse refuses to take the required parenting class and file a certificate of completion.

4)  If better answers to requested interrogatories are necessary and not provided, the divorce court judge may compel better or more complete answers.  The divorce court judge can also compel a party to comply with a request to produce.

5)  The court can also compel attendance at mediation and require the erring spouse to pay for the other party.

Motions to compel are case specific and depend upon what is required and what is not complied with in the divorce process.  Don’t forget to ask for an award of attorneys fees in motions to compel.  For more information about this or other divorce topics in Palm Beach County divorce courts, 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.

Avoiding motions can keep your legal bill low.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Motion practice keeps attorneys in court early in the morning here in Palm Beach County, Florida, and also keeps clients’  billables high.  If the parties and their attorneys would collaborate in efforts, both parties would see substantial savings in attorneys fees.

Here are some examples of motions that can be resolved by agreement of the parties without the necessity of going to court:

1.  Motions to compel documents and discovery.  In Palm Beach County, there is a minimum mandatory disclosure requirement.  If parties would just produce what they are supposed to timely, there would be no need for these motions.

2.  Motions for extension of time.  Again, these are unncessary, if the parties can just agree to extend the time to another date for production of documents, or the time in which to file a responsive pleading.

3.  Motions for request to produce specific documents.  Sometimes a spouse wants to be difficult and not produce everything required.  This motion can be avoided by producing.

4.  Motions for sanctions.  If the attorneys and parties just cooperate, this motion would certainly be avoided.

5.  Motion for protective order.   If reasonableness is asserted, burdensome discovery requests would  not occur, and there would be no need for this one either.

6.  Motion for rehearing.  This is almost never granted.  A judge is not going to admit he/she made a mistake unless it for a really really good reason.

7.  Motion to distribute a portion of marital assets.  For example, there is a joint account with $20,000 in it, in addition to other marital assets.  If the parties can agree on an even split of this one account, as a portion of equitable distribution, there would be no need for this motion.

The above is just an example of the motion practice that could be done away with if the parties and their attorneys would cooperate with one another.  There are many more motions that could be resolved by agreed order.  It is up to the parties to decide how litigeous they wish to be and how much money they want to pay the attorneys.   For more information call one of the attorneys at the law firm of ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com.

Legal documents and divorce.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Patience, patience, patience is required to fill out or gather all the forms and documents necessary to comply with the Florida family law rules of court.  The following documents are necessary evils and you should be prepared to cooperate with your attorney and comply by producing the needed information.  If you do not comply, opposing counsel will most definitely file a motion to compel you to produce and unless you file and WIN a motion for protective order, you will also be taxed with your spouse’s attorneys fees!

So be ready to produce the following:

1.  Financial affidavit   2. answers to opposing party interrogatories and requests for production   3.  personal and corporate tax returns  4. credit card statements  5. bank account statements  6. mortgages, deeds and any other title instruments    7. stock and bond account statements  8. retirement account statements   9. pay stubs  or any other evidence of ANY income   10.  loan applications   11.  insurance policies  12. health insurance cards  13. pre nuptial or post nuptial agreements  14.  Court orders from previous marriages .

Divorce is paper intensive.  At my law firm, our paralegals are highly trained to assist clients to carefully produce evidence.  For more information about this divorce topic or other subjects, click on the Robin Roshkind, P.A. website at www.familylawwpb.com or consult with one of the attorneys at the Firm by calling for an appointment at 561-835-9091.