How To Modify Divorce Final Judgments And Other Family Court Orders In Florida

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In Palm Beach County, Florida, once the divorce is over and a final judgment is entered, there are certain aspects of the divorce that are literally carved in stone.  Equitable distribution of assets and debts, once decided, and unless taken up to the appellate court, are final.  If a judge made an error of fact or law in considering the equitable distribution of assets or debts of the marriage,  the flawed final judgment must go up on appeal rather quickly.  You have 10 days to file for a rehearing, and then 30 days to file a notice of appeal.  If there is no error of fact or law, then the equitable distribution scheme is set in stone.  The parties must follow the intent of the order by transferring assets, title, or rolling over retirement plans.  The parties must pay the debts assigned to each of them and hold the other party harmless from  creditors.  Enforcement and contempt proceedings are the recourse against a disobeying ex spouse.

However, certain parts of a final judgment of dissolution of marriage or a divorce decree are modifiable under the right set of circumstances.  This includes anything to do with children, and the award of alimony.   Things that can be modified by the court AFTER a final divorce decree is entered include: child support, time sharing, shared parental responsibility, health insurance for the children, uncovered medical bills, and alimony. 

The ex spouse wishing to modify the final judgment must allege a material, substantial, unanticipated, change of circumstances since the time of final judgment.  Typical changes of circumstances include a loss of employment, sickness, increased income of the ex spouse, change of work schedules, and other substantial changes in the lives of the parties.  These allegations of changed circumstances need to be set forth in a petition to modify and filed with the court.  The proceedings require the exchange of updated financial information by the parties, a mediation session where the matter may be settled by agreed order, or a visit to the judge with proof and evidence of the need for the modification.  Modifications can be tricky to achieve.  For more information, 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. 

Divorce Now, Settle Later…It is possible!

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In Palm Beach County divorce cases, it is possible to file for and get a divorce decree, and then to settle all the property issues at another and later time.  This is done by a divorce lawyer by filing a motion to bifurcate the case and the court subsequently entering an order approving a bifurcation.

Why would someone want to divorce now and settle up later?  One reason would be to not have other divorce issues be held hostage by the divorce itself.  For example, if a party is going for full custody of a child, by bifurcating the matter to settle the custody issue first, the other party cannot “trade” custody for some other marital asset.  Another reason to bifurcate and get the divorce first, is to remarry.  If there is a baby on the way, for example, a party may want to be free to remarry before the birth.  Since division of assets and debts may take some time in litigation, and with evidence needed, at least the divorce is granted so the party is free to remarry.  

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.

 

Making Out of State Divorce Decrees Enforceable In Florida

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Many couples get divorced in another state and then one of the parties moves to the State of Florida, oftentimes with the children.  This causes a situation in which the time sharing or other terms of the original “out of Florida” divorce must be changed.   The methodology Florida divorce lawyers use to accomplish this is called “domestication of a foreign judgment”.  What that means is that the out of Florida divorce decree has to be domesticated in the State of Florida, and then it can be modified or enforced. 

If the children relocated to Florida, then Florida becomes the home state of the children.  Out of state decrees MUST be domesticated in Florida where the children are subjected to the Florida jurisdiction, in order for a divorce decree to be changed.

Modifications of divorce decrees in general require a substantial change in circumstances.  Then if the divorce parents cannot agree, the judge has jurisdiction to modify the terms of time sharing and child support in keeping with the new circumstances, and what is in the best interests of the children.  For more information about this or other divorce topics, please 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.

 

What Is A Temporary Relief Hearing?

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In divorce court, all parties must attend a mediation to attempt a settlement prior to bringing a divorce case to court.  If and when mediation should fail to resolve disputed issues, either party at that time may file a motion for temporary relief.

Temporary relief puts into place by court order boundaries by which the parties shall live pending the final divorce proceedings.  An order of temporary relief establishes child support, time sharing and parental responsibility, if there are children of the marriage.  The temporary relief order also establishes who pays what household expenses, health insurance, attorneys fees, spousal support, and even may divide up some of the assets of the marriage to give the parties monies to live on.  Temporary court orders are enforceable by contempt of court. 

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 Happens If You Want To Settle Your Divorce, But Your Spouse Doesn’t?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

I get this question in my practice all the time…clients come in wanting to settle their divorce.  The spouse just can’t or won’t agree.   What happens then?

There are three very good reasons to settle a divorce matter: less expensive, less stress, faster resolution.  But in order for a settlement to occur, BOTH parties have to be on the same page.  Both the husband and the wife have to agree to agree to stay out of court.  If that is not the case, settlement is just not possible.

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.

Drug Testing, Psych Evaluations, Mental Health Issues In Palm Beach Divorces

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Does anyone want a alcoholic parent driving drunk with children in the back seat?  The answer is obvious, but you would be surprised how often this issue comes up in divorce cases in my practice.  Parents have issues too!

That is why, where indicated, I go into court to see the divorce court judge and ask for drug and alcohol testing by court order.  The results will indicate if I need to further ask the judge for supervised time sharing for the erring parent.

The divorce court judge in Palm Beach County divorce cases CAN order the parties to take random drug tests, psychological evaluations, anger management classes, parenting classes, go to rehab, counseling, and all the while, require supervised time sharing with the minor children until any of these problems are cleared up entirely and with proof.

For more information  about this or other divorce topics in Palm Beach County divorces, 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.

What Happens If I Change My Mind About Divorce?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

If you are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore, and you file for divorce in the heat of the moment, what should you do if you have a change of heart?  It depends…

In Palm Beach County divorce court, if you file a petition for dissolution of marriage, and you change your mind, you can withdraw your petition by filing a notice of voluntary dismissal.  HOWEVER, if you spouse has already filed an answer to your petition, and a counter petition, your spouse’s counter petition is still active and there will still be a divorce case pending.  So essentially, your spouse also has to file a notice of voluntary dismissal on his/her counter petition as well in order for there to be no divorce case pending.

This is dangerous.  Because you may have changed your mind but there are no guarantees that your spouse has changed his/her mind also.  In addition, once a case is dismissed by the court, in order to reinstate it if you ultimately decide to go forward with the divorce, you will have to pay a new filing fee, which presently is a whopping $419 to re open the closed divorce case.

So be careful!  If you are in divorce court in Palm Beach County, make sure you and your spouse are both on the same page concerning dismissal of the divorce case in court.  For more information 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.

What Is The Parenting Class?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In Palm Beach County, Florida, all parties to a divorce where children are at issue in the divorce MUST take a parenting class.  It is a four hour class that can be taken in person in the evenings or online.  Each person must file a certificate of completion in the court file in your case, because without it the judge will refuse to grant a divorce, either uncontested or contested. 

This is public policy.  The course covers things like the peaceful exchange of children for time sharing with the other parent…packing clothes, homework etc., and setting up an environment in each parent’s home where the children can feel relaxed and comfortable.  It covers subjects such as using the children as messengers between the parties, disparaging the other parent to the children and its effects on the children, fighting in the presence of children and the negative effects that has.  The class essentially is child focused and instructs parents about what not to do in front of their children and why. 

Children are often used as pawns in divorce and post divorce communications between the husband and the wife.  For example, the mom may buy the kids new clothes but when the children return from dad’s house, they come back in dirty ill fitting clothes because dad keeps them in order to make mom buy more.  These types of shennanigans happen quite often when the divorce is acrimonious and there are children involved. 

In addition to fights over clothing, are fights over sports equipment and homework.  For example, mom may complain that dad never does homework with the kids and this responsibility rests squarely with her.  The statute says SHARED parental responsibility. 

When children are involved in a divorce, it gives the parties much more to fight about.  This parenting class illustrates all the wrongs to avoid for the sake of your children and is a must before the court will grant the divorce.  If you are planning to get divorced in Palm Beach County or just want more information, 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.