What makes a parent “unfit”.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

When it comes to time sharing with children, or paternity actions where the father is finally adjudicated the father by DNA testing, the court has to determine the best interests of the child/ren.  The same holds true for cases where a parent wants to relocate and the other parent does not give permission and a court order is sought.

Allegations of “unfit parent” can arise to thwart the relationship of the “undesireable” parent.  However, “undesireable” is not the same as “unfit”. 

Under the laws of the State of Florida, BOTH child and parent have rights,  UNLESS a parent is adjudicated “unfit” in a court of law.  The case law defines “unfit” as a parent who is unable to take care of him or herself…unable to take care of the child…one who abandons, abuses or neglects a child…an alcoholic, a drug abuser, a party person til 3 am every night…you get the picture.

Parents may not agree with parenting styles or decisionmaking or even lifestyles of the other parent, but that is not enough to make a parent “unfit” in the eyes of the law.  

The way courts handle an unfit parent is to order supervised time sharing, order parenting classes, order the parent to counseling, order the parent to a psych evaluation, and to take normal rights away until the parent is rehabilitated and the child is safe with that parent. 

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 www.familylawwpb.com.

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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 www.familylawwpb.com.

About Robin Roshkind, P.A. Divorce Lawyers, West Palm Beach, Florida

Robin Roshkind, Esquire, founded the Firm on May 17, 1998, the day she was admitted into The Florida Bar.  She was 43 years old when she went back to law school.  Her children were 10 and 12 years old.  Her marriage was over, and a nasty divorce was about to begin.   Her divorce and her law school education took the same three years.  In 1998, she founded the Firm as a solo practitioner at the age of 46.  She had never worked in a law firm before.  So she hired really good people. 

Today, Attorney Maria Patullo has been with the Firm for more than 9 years.  Certified Family Law Paralegal, Laura “Charlie” Petrich, has been with the Firm for more than 9 years.  Attorney Catherine Eaton has been with the Firm for 8 years, and Certified Family Law Paralegal Darlene Hayes, 5 1/2 years.   The staff also includes Tracy Von Schmittou, a Certified Family Law Paralegal, who does all the Firm’s document discovery, and Legal Assistant, Jennifer Perez, who is bilingual.  

The Firm has an excellent reputation among the bar and the bench in Palm Beach County, Florida.  Its area of concentration is divorce, collaborative divorce, mediation, paternity, custody disputes, prenuptial agreements, relocation with children, child support, alimony disputes, name changes, same sex couples issues, including cohabitation agreements.   For more information, contact one of the Firm’s attorneys at 561-835-9091 or visit our web site at www.familylawwpb.com.

Paternity: Is that my child?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

He may look just like you…he may have your last name on his birth certificate…he may be supported by you as your son, BUT he may not be your child.  Fathers everywhere are paying child support for children that are not their biological children. 

Just because the mother says the child is yours, does not mean it is true.  The mother may not even know herself.  There is something legally you can do to determine with certainty whether or not a child is your biological child.  In Palm Beach County, Florida, we attorneys file what’s called a Petition To Determine Paternity, Custody, Child Support, Visitation and Shared Parental Responsibility.  Through the process, we go to court to get the judge to order a paternity test.  This is the DNA test you read about.  Both you and the child need to be matched through DNA.  If there is no match, you are not the biological father.  If you are not the father, and NOT MARRIED to the mother when the child was born, then you will be off the hook for child support.  There is a glich in the law that says a child born of an intact marriage is presumed to be a child of that marriage.  However, in divorce situations, with DNA testing, oftentimes the father is not the father and he is relieved of child support obligations.  For more information go to the website of Robin Roshkind, P.A. at www.familylawwpb.com or consult with one of the attorneys at the Firm by calling 561-835-9091.