What Are “Rosen” Fees in Florida Divorce Courts?

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In divorce cases, because one side cannot control the actions of the other, divorce lawyers work on an hourly basis at a specified hourly rate.  The hourly rate itself can vary from attorney to attorney, but most divorce lawyers will work a case on an hourly basis.  There are certain normal procedures in the life of a divorce case.  Things like mandatory disclosure due dates, motions, mediations, and temporary relief hearings.  However, where one party intentionally, vindictively, and vexatiously either delays the case, files unnecessary pleadings, or stalls the matter by disobeying court orders, the offended party may request the court award him/her attorneys fees and costs from the offending party under Rosen v. Rosen and other cases that came after that case in time.  The language and meaning is clear:  Should one spouse cause a the other to incur unnecessary or unreasonable attorneys fees and costs due to vexatious litigation, the court should award attorneys fees and costs for that. 

This award of fees and costs is very different from the statutory award of fees and costs under the “need of one spouse and the ability of the other spouse to pay” attorneys fees and costs due to a substantial difference in incomes or assets.  That is a different pleading with a different legal basis, even though an award of attorneys fees and costs is the same result, but for different purpose.   For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the divorce lawyers at Robin Roshkind, PA 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 The Connection Between Length Of A Marriage And Florida Alimony Laws?

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Clients often ask me how much alimony they are going to have to pay, or in other cases, how much alimony they are going to get.  Unlike child support awards, which is a statutory calculation based upon the combined net monthly incomes of the husband and the wife, alimony awards are determined by the circumstances of the marriage and are given under the law but at the discretion of the sitting judge.

One of the key factors in any alimony award if you are the recipient, or obligation if you are the payor, is the length of the marriage.  The State of  Florida breaks it down into three categories: short term marriages, long term marriages and grey area or middle ground marriages.  In short term marriages, usually 0 to 8 years, alimony awards are highly scrutinized by the court.  In grey area marriages, 8 years long to 17 years long, alimony is most often awarded if there is a disparity of incomes, and a spouse can prove his/her need and the ability of the other spouse to pay.  In long term marriages of 17 years of more, alimony is based upon need and ability to pay and could be a permanent situation.  There are about 30 statutory factors that a judge MAY consider in any ruling awarding alimony:  things like age and health of both parties, education level of the party requesting the alimony, marketable skills set, ability to earn a living, and many others. 

There was a recent challenge to the alimony laws in the State of Florida, but it was vetoed lst year by Florida Governor Rick Scott.  As it stands now, there are several types of alimony which may be awarded: short term or bridge the gap alimony, durational alimony which cannot be for longer than the marriage was, rehabilitative alimony to send a spouse back to school or train for a self supporting career,  and permanent alimony which is lifetime.  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.famiilylawwpb.com for more information.

“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.

My Husband Has A Divorce Lawyer, I Do Not…

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Times are tough and everyone is trying to save money.  However, in divorce court, do not fall prey to the statement, “Honey, we can use one lawyer and save money.”  Or worse, “Honey, I have a lawyer to do the work for both of us, you don’t need a divorce lawyer, as we agree on everything anyway.” Do not be penny wise and pound foolish.Do not fall prey to these tactics of control.

First of all, the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar do not permit one lawyer to represent the best interests of two parties that are potentially adversarial.  It makes sense.  But what about mediation, you ask.  A mediator does not represent either party and must stay neutral.  A mediator cannot represent the best interests of one party over another and give legal advice.

So back to the question…if your spouse has a divorce attorney and you do not, get one!

In divorce court, the party who has the need will get attorneys fees paid by the party who has the superior ability to pay.  The purpose of this law is to put the parties on equal footing.  In divorce court, both parties should have equal benefit of counsel. 

So, for example, the doctor husband will pay not only his own attorney, but the attorney for his stay at home wife as well.  Of course, he will try to convince the wife that she doesn’t need her own lawyer and direct her to think of the expense…the old guilt trip.  Run, don’t walk, to the phone to secure counsel. 

Only then can you be assured that your best interests are being represented in either settlement negotiations or litigation.  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.

Short Term Marriages Usually Mean No Alimony In Divorce

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

If you are in a short term marriage defined as five years or less by the case law in the state of Florida, chances are you will not be able to collect alimony from your spouse in divorce court.   Or if you qualify, alimony will be of the bridge the gap variety, if at all.

Alimony or spousal support is based upon the relative incomes of the parties or the relative access to independent funds.  One spouse has to prove a need, and the other spouse’ ability to pay.  If a spouse has the need, but the other has no ability to pay, there will be no alimony irregardless of the length of the marriage.  Also, a court cannot award an alimony for a time that is longer than the marriage, if at all, unless the marriage is 17 plus years and the spouse qualifies for permanent alimony.

Bottom line, if you are in a short term marriage, chances are the court will not grant you any alimony unless it is also short term, as in bridge the gap alimony.   An award of alimony is determined by 30 statutory factors, so consult with 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.  REMEMBER:  divorce cases are fact driven and every case is different.  Remember too that Florida is a no fault state and alimony is generally not a punishment but an entitlement.

What Type Of Divorce Will You Have? Part 1: Alimony

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In the state of Florida, there are legally defined, three types of marriages:  short term, durational, and long term marriages.   Depending upon where your marriage falls, this can determine what kind of divorce outcome you get.

Short term marriages fall into the category of 0-2 years.   In terms of litigation, if your spouse is asking for alimony, chances are the shorter the marriage, the less likely there is going to be an alimony award.   Two plus years up to 17 years of marriage falls into the durational marriage category.  What this means is, if a spouse shows need and that the other spouse has ability to pay, and there is disparate incomes, the court has the legal ability to award alimony up to the length of the marriage.  For example, in a 6 year marriage, the court cannot award alimony for 8 years.

Long term marriages are legally defined as 17 years plus.  In this type of marriage, the court has the ability to award a spouse lifetime or permanent alimony.   There are still many statutory factors that the court must consider in awarding alimony.  But length of the marriage determines the time frame for alimony.  If you are thinking about getting divorced in Palm Beach County, Florida, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 for more information or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

What Is A Vocational Evaluation?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

A vocational evaluation is a tool…it is a way to intimidate a non working spouse, but more than that it is a tool to evaluate what a spouse’s income could be if they were fully employed.  The judge in Palm Beach County divorce court has the ability to impute an income to a person if the court makes certain findings:  that the spouse is voluntarily underemployed, that the spouse could earn at the least a minimum wage, that the spouse has an education and a great income work history.

Income is important in divorce matters because child support is based upon income, as well as an award of alimony and attorneys fees.  Both alimony and attorneys fees are based upon need and ability to pay.  Proving a spouse’s income is a very important issue for more than just one purpose.

A vocational evaluation is performed by a trained therapist/psychologist.  You have to motion the court so that your spouse is court ordered to submit to a vocational evaluation.  This is especially important where a spouse is asking the court to award a rehabilitative alimony.   If you are thinking about divorce in Palm Beach County, 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.