Negotiating The Terms Of A Marital Settlement Agreement In Divorce

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Generally speaking, the divorce issues that need to be dealt with include as follows: alimony or spousal support, attorneys fees and costs, mediation fees, declaring what property is marital and what is non marital, fairly dividing up what is marital property and personal property, and dividing up marital debt, then declaring what is not marital debt. There is also the issue of the marital home and other real property, as to who will buy out whom, or will the properties be rented, or listed for sale and what happens then.  

Aside from these financial issues, are children’s issues, which include as follows: time sharing to each parent, child support worksheet calculations, shared parental responsibility or sole parental responsibility on certain decision making, (who will do homework), a parenting plan, schooling, religious training, counseling, and whether a parenting coordinator will be beneficial to facilitate the matter between the parties. 

All of these terms go into a 30 or so page document called a marital settlement agreement.  This agreement is agreed to and signed by the parties and becomes part of a final judgment of dissolution of marriage. 

As anyone can imagine, with all that there is to decide, two divorcing people will have a hard time.  That is where lawyers, accountants and shrinks come into the picture.  With knowledge about the possible ruling from a judge under the law, the team of experts guide the parties.  They can either negotiate in good faith and reach a resolution no one likes but everyone can live with, or the judge will decide their futures by enforceable court order.  For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at

What Type Of Divorce Will You Have? Part 2 Settlement or Trial

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

If you are thinking about getting a divorce in Palm Beach County, Florida, know that your divorce can go only one of two ways.  Either you and your spouse will settle your divorce issues, (including alimony, attorneys fees, child support, if any, child time sharing, equitable distribution of assets and debts, non marital property, name changes,) or  you will take all or some of the disputed issues to the judge.

Settlement is quicker, less expensive and less stressful.  But it can only happen if both parties want to settle.  If one spouse wants to settle but the other does not, you are going to trial.  Going to trial entails extensive discovery, depositions, witness preparation, transcripts, document production and analysis by a forensic CPA, court reporters, evidence and logs, and costs a bundle.   It also takes up a great deal of time and could cause illness from the stress of it all.

Counseling and therapy more than lawyering can help husbands and wives decide how to proceed.  Parties who can set aside emotion and just get the job done have a better chance of settlement.  Also judges would rather the spouses manage their own future lives.  They do not like to micro manage families. 

If you are thinking about getting a divorce in Palm Beach County, Florida, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at for more information.

What To Bring With You To The First Meeting With A Divorce Lawyer

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Some divorce lawyers in Palm Beach County, Florida, give free consultations.  I do not.  That is because I conduct an in depth interview, I look over documents and most importantly, I give legal advice for which I am liable.  I want my clients to know that I take the time and care required before I open my mouth.

Think about what you are paying for when you go to see a lawyer…his/her time, and expertise.  Why other lawyers give their services away is a mystery to me.  Maybe they don’t value what they are doing.  Why should the client?   So instead of doing free consultations, I give of my time and expertise, which I value. 

That being said, here is what I like to see and discuss at our first consultation meeting:

1.  Some knowledge of the family finances.  You would be surprised how may wives don’t know what their husbands earn.   Copies of  pay stubs and tax returns are welcomed.

2.  Information about the marital home, such as purchase price and year, amount owed, monthly payments, back taxes, HOA fees, and a general idea of what the house would sell for in today’s marketplace.  You can get this casually from a realtor who works your neighborhood.

3.  What the couple would like to see arranged as far as any children are concerned.  They must have had discussions and I would like to know the direction of those talks, if any.

4.  Who the spouse’s lawyer is by name if applicable.  I can often tell if a case is going to settle or going to trial by the name of the lawyer representing the other party. 

5.  Information on other real estate owned by the parties. 

6.  Business documentation if a business was founded during the marriage.

7.  A list of marital and non marital stuff.

This information gets me off to a good start toward creating some possible scenarios for my client.  The purpose of my consultation is to educate the client, calm the fears, determine the potential disputes, and discuss rights and options.   If you are thinking about divorce in Palm Beach County, Florida, call for a consultation at 561 835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at for more information.

Whose Name Is On It?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

If the car is in your name only, or the house is in your spouse’ name only, if it was purchased during the marriage with marital funds, it does not matter whose name is or isn’t on it.   It will be viewed as marital property.

It is often the wife who has the wool pulled over her eyes by the husband.  He buys her a car and puts the title in her name, making him look like a big shot.  Comes to divorce, the car she finds out is half his.  She just didn’t know it all those years. 

Couples end up fighting over real estate, cars, jewelry, bank accounts, anything that has a title to it.  Gifts during the marriage are viewed as marital assets during divorce. 

So don’t be fooled into a false sense of security.  Don’t believe what you hear from your divorcing spouse.  Call one of the lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 to learn your rights, or click on the Firm’s web site at for more information.

Wha Happens To “Stuff” In the Marital Home?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

When you are getting a divorce, what happens to the things you have acquired in the marital home.  It depends upon their value.  If you have priceless artwork and antiques, an appraiser should be called in to value all of the valuable assets.  Then once a value is placed upon such things, it has to be agreed upon by the parties as to what is marital and what is not.  If there can be no such agreement, then a judge will decide.  Provided all the valuable assets are marital, then the parties can agree as to who gets what piece, or if they can’t agree then everything should be sold at fair market value and the net proceeds split 50/50.

In more modest homes, where there is only used furniture and a big screen TV, the parties need to decide who gets what.  If that is not possible, then a judge will divide stuff equally down the middle or by preference. 

Where one party is granted exclusive use and possession of the marital home, oftentimes all the contents stays with that spouse, and the other spouse is given other marital assets as an off set of the value.  Of course, each spouse is to receive their own personal effects such as clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, tools, bicycle and the like.  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

In Marriage Or Divorce, Communication Is Key

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Whether you are entering a marriage or trying to leave one, it is important to communicate with your spouse.  It is where unreasonable expectations raise their ugly heads. 

That is when it is important to consult with advisors, whether they are financial, legal, or psychological. 

Regarding a marriage, there is alot to talk about: prenuptial agreements, family finances, children, extended families, who owns what property.  In divorce alot of the same issues apply, but add to those the issues that of  time sharing with children, attorneys fees, spousal support or alimony.   And of course the division of marital property and preservation of separate property or inheritences.  If there is no commingling during the course of the marriage, separate property remains non marital.

Marriage and divorce are life changing events as is deciding to have children.  The best advice is to seek professional help from lawyers, accountants, insurance professionals, finanacial planners, marriage counselors or therapists if you just can’t communicate effectively with your partner or if you are having touble sorting things out by yourself.

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

Divorce and the wedding gifts…who gets what?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

I have some clients who just realized they made a mistake.  The marriage is only 3 months old, or one year old, or anything inbetween, making it a short lived experience.  The question becomes who gets what.

In short term marriages, generally there is no entitlement to alimony or attorneys fees, unless a prenuptial agreement says otherwise.    As far as equitable distribution of assets and debts goes, what  you come into the marriage with you go out of the marriage with…unless it is joint property.

Wedding gifts to either party is considered marital or joint property.  However, in short term situations, where the parties can reasonably discuss the fact that they rushed into something and made a mistake, then usually they can agree that the wife’s friends and family gifts go to her and the husband’s friends and family gifts go to him.  If there is something of exceptional value, then one party should “buy out” the other.  Another way to divide the wedding gifts, yet more difficult,  is by value.  Ideally, the two parties should come out with relatively the same amount of value.

Another topic in divorce is who pays for the wedding?  If one party paid for the wedding, that is seen as a voluntary act, pre marital.  If, by agreement, the parties can split the costs,  the marital settlement agreement should indicate that. 

For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the attorneys at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at

Do NOT do divorce on your own if…

By Robin Roshkind, West Palm Beach, Florida

In today’s economy, couples are fighting with each other over money, one of the most common causes of divorce.  Some couples will attempt to do a settlement of all their marital issues on their own and without the advice of counsel, in order to save money in attorneys fees.  However, there are certain circumstances where a divorce REQUIRES the skills of an experienced divorce lawyer like those at my Firm, and a spouse would be penny wise and pound foolish to go it alone.

Here are the situations where having a divorce lawyer on your side is A MUST:

1.  Where a spouse is self employed.

2.  Where a spouse works for cash under the table.

3.  Where a spouse hasn’t filed a tax return in years.

4.  Where a spouse is the sole owner of a closely held corporation.

5.  Where there was a business formed by one or the other DURING the marriage, or where there is a spouse working in a family business.

6.  Where the spouse does not know the true net worth.

7.  Where the spouse does not have access to books and records.

8.  Where the spouse has no idea of the assets or debts of the marriage.

9.  Where there are children of the marriage that have special needs.

10.  Where there is a spouse who has drug addiction, gambling addiction, alcholism, shopaholic tendencies, or a paramour.

11.  Where one or the other spouse entered the marriage with assets.

12.  Where there has been an inheritence during the marriage.

13.   Where a spouse has mental health issues like bi polar, anger management problems, domestic violence.

14.  Where a spouse has a criminal record, restraining orders.

15.  Where a spouse cannot be employed or keep steady employment.

16.  Where a spouse is supported by family members.

17.  Where there are numerous real properties, income producing rentals, time shares and vacation homes. 

18.  If the marriage is more than 10 years and there is alimony, permanent alimony, rehabilitative alimony, bridge the gap alimony to be discussed and negotiated.

19.  Where a spouse has another family with children either prior to this marriage or outside of this marriage.

20.  Where paternity is at issue.

21.  Where the spouses are extremely unequal in education or ability to earn, or by measure of individual wealth. 

22.  Where a pre nuptial agreement should be contested.

If ANY of these circumstances apply to you, you should at least consult with an attorney before attempting a divorce on your own.  For more information, call one of the attorneys at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at