A Speedy Trial In Divorce Court?

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Getting divorced is a process, and the wheels of justice turn ever so slowly.  That is the answer to the question of a speedy trial in divorce court:  it is highly unlikely.  Here’s why:

1.  The first reason is that all divorcing couples in Palm Beach County must provide a financial affidavit backed up with documents called mandatory disclosure.  This includes things like pay stubs, tax returns, bank account statements, bills, and lots of other paper proof, including appraisals, mortgages, car loan documents and the list goes on and on.  These things take time to gather and there are mandatory deadlines along with extensions for good cause.  Often times you can’t rush those deadlines.

2.   Along with discovery of documents, comes depositions.  Each side has the opportunity to take the deposition of the other party, their witnesses and expert witnesses like the CPA, appraiser or the psychologist. 

3.  Expert witnesses need time to put together reports for the judge to consider. Whether it is a social evaluator, a vocational evaluator, a real estate appraiser, a forensic CPA, or any other expert, they need time to analyze and prepare their evidence and reports.

4.  All parties to a divorce in Palm Beach County must go to mediation before ever seeing the judge.  This needs to be scheduled and involves several people: the lawyers, the CPAs, the parties, and the mediator.  It is a challenge to get everyone available at the same time, and this takes some doing.

5.  Negotiations are ongoing.  While all of the above is ongoing, settlement is always a possibility.  Some parties have a habit of offering up settlement offer after settlement offer just to keep the litigation ongoing or to buy some time to strategize. 

In conclusion, if you are thinking about a divorce, the process can take anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending upon how much is involved in the marital estate, and vindictive the husband and wife want to be toward each other.  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 www.familylawwpb.com for more information.



Refinancing The Home BEFORE The Divorce?!

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

One of my clients, the Wife, had the most daring request posed to her by her “amicable” Husband late one afternoon recently.  The couple is getting divorced and are participating in settlement negotiations with their respective CPAs and divorce attorneys.  Both the Husband’s name and Wife’s name are on the deed and the mortgage to the marital home which is here in Florida.  Another vacation home is up north in New York’s Hamptons communities. 

In the settlement negotiations, the Husband was to keep the marital home here in Florida in his name only by Wife quit claim deeding the home to him, and the Wife was to keep the vacation home in the Hamptons by him quit claim deeding that home to her.  He actually asked his wife to refinance the marital home WITH HIM, so that he could get the cash out, live there, have the home solely in his name, and pay her over time her equitable distribution from the marital assets!  In other words, her own money!  That takes balls.

Yes, I stopped her!  If she would have done that in the interest of being “amicable”, she would have further encumbered herself (read DEBT) in a property she no longer would have a legal interest in, and he would have the cash!  Then he would pay out over time, her own money. That is why divorcing couples need  divorce lawyers.  For more information 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.


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 http://www.familylawwpb.com.

Three Or More Things To Do With The Marital Home In Divorce

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire

You generally have three options for the marital home, if you are getting divorced.  But there are some other things you can agree to with your spouse regarding the house.   Here are some options I use for my Palm Beach County clients who own homes here:

Options 1 and 2.    If the home has any equity at all, either you buy out your spouse (at a bargain rate these days) and then refinance to get your spouse removed from the mortgage, OR your spouse buys you out and refinances to get your name off the mortgage.  Either way, one of you keeps the home totally releasing the other.

Option 3.  You get divorced and stay real estate partners with your X.  One of you can live there and pay the mortgage on behalf of both and get a credit at the back end years later, when you both agree to sell.

Option 4.  You are getting divorced and you both list the home for sale.  You split any net proceeds.

Option 5.  You are getting divorced, your spouse has moved out and on, and you just live in the home until the bank takes it away in foreclosure.

Option 6.  You are getting divorced and both of you cooperate to do a short sale.

Option 7.  One of you lives in the home with the minor children until they go to college.  The other splits all mortgage payments, taxes, insurance.  The resident spouse pay maintenance and utilities.

Option 8.  You both live in the home until it goes into foreclosure.

Option 9.  You both move out and on and rent the house out to a third party.  The rental should cover all your expenses and if there is any profit it is split.

I am sure you can get more creative with sale and leaseback situations or other good ideas, but these are the most common given todays real estate market in Palm Beach County.   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.

PLANNING YOUR DIVORCE for the new year.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

If you are unhappy in your marriage, but are not sure what to do, chances are you will stick it out as a family until after the holidays.  BUT NOW is a good time to plan your exit strategy.  While your spouse is out shopping with the kids, or visiting Mom’s house, start photocopying everything you can get your hands on:  income statements, pay stubs, credit card bills, bank statements, loan documents, mortgage papers, retirement accounts, real estate listing agreements, titles to cars, boats, trucks, household expense accounts, investment statements, everything that will show ASSETS, DEBTS, OR INCOME.

Divorce planning is important because it helps you sort out the details of your marriage…this is useful when you go to the lawyer for the consultation.  It gives everyone a better idea of what is at stake and what the issues are to be addressed.

Job changes, job loss, sale of property, Christmas bonuses, year end commissions, relocation, new school districts, are all considerations that need to be looked upon by your lawyer.  You can help your lawyer to better serve you if you have all the right information going into the consultation.  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 www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

Keep Divorce Decree With Important Papers

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

There are many instances in life where we have to be prepared to provide important documents like tax returns, proof of income,  health history, credit scores and the like, for purposes of applications for various things we may need.  One of those important documents is your final judgment of divorce.

Your divorce decree may be required for the following:

1.  Transfer of retirement plans from your ex to you.

2.   Purchase of a new car.

3.  Purchase of a new home.

4  Changing your name on driver’s license and passport.

5. Changing your name on bank accounts.

6.  Application for life insurance.

7.  Transfer of real property.

8.   Change of beneficiary.

9.  Modification of alimony or child support.

10.  Valuation of antiques, artwork etc.

11.  Loan applications.

So keep your divorce decree in a safe and accessible place, because chances are you are going to need it.  You may even need a copy of your divorce decree to be certified as true and correct by the 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 www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

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.

When a forensic accountant is necessary in a divorce.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In some cases, divorce lawyers insist that our clients retain the services of a forensic accountant.  This accountant can help with putting forth your case when financial relief is sought in your divorce, whether it is alimony, attorneys fees or in equitable distribution of assets and debts of the marriage.

The job of a forensic accountant is to trace the flow on monies.

It is especially important to retain an accountant under the following conditions:

1.  When the major breadwinning spouse is self employed.

2.  When the major breadwinning spouse is the sole officer of a closely held Florida corporation.

3.  When the major breadwinner works for cash such as a landscaper or artist.

4.  When the major breadwinner is a sole proprietor.

5.  When the major breadwinner is a solo practitioner, either in medicine, legal services or the like.

6.  When there are equities and securities and many parcels of real estate to divide between the spouses.

7.  When rents are collected.

6.  Where appraisals are necessary, including investment quality artwork, diamonds, stamp collections and the like.

7.  Where equal value assets have unequal value tax ramifications.

So don’t be annoyed at your divorce lawyer when he or she asks that you retain the services of a forensic accountant.  It is usually for your protection.  For more information about this divorce topic or others, call one of the attorneys at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A.  at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.familylawwpb.com.