Protect Yourself With Divorce Planning

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

If you are thinking about getting divorced, there are certain things you can do to protect yourself.   The very first thing is to educate yourself about the family finances.  Then start a photocopying and photographing campaign. 

When you eliminate the emotional baggage, divorce is about money….dividing assets and debts of a marriage, as well as determining income for purposes of alimony, child support, and attorneys fees. 

In terms of being able to prove the incomes of the spouses, it is important to have things like tax returns, pay stubs, and bank statements showing any direct deposits of income.  Incomes of the parties are key to any divorce.   Employment history is important too.  A spouse should not be able to voluntarily under employ himself or herself and get away with it. Remember, income can be passive as well, resulting from investments, sale of real estate and the like.  Think about what you need to PROVE these things.

Valuing of assets are a necessary must in terms of who gets what.  For example, appraisals of jewelry, art, antiques, cars, even the family business will help the parties or the court divide the assets fairly.  Determining debt is the other side of the coin.  Things like mortgages, lines of credit, credit card bills, car loans need to be addressed, so it is important to have these papers organized and ready to present.

Photographs speak volumes when it comes to valuable cars, boats, and household items of substantial worth.  When you have finished gathering all these documents, deliver the boxes of evidence to your divorce attorney for safekeeping.  For more information about this or other divorce topics, see http://www.familylawwpb.com, or call for a consultation appointment 561 835 9091.

 

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“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.

If Your Marriage Is On The Rocks, PROTECT YOURSELF!

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Clients come in for a consultation for information.  They either are thinking about getting out of a bad marriage or relationship, or their spouse has mentioned something about a split.  I often get the question, how do I protect myself?

The first easy piece of advice is PHOTOGRAPH EVERYTHING.  That includes the cars, the boat, the grand piano, grandmother’s sterling silver, jewelry, antiques, paintings, and collections such as wine, coins, stamps, even the big screen.

The second easy piece of advice is PHOTOCOPY EVERYTHING.  The wine lists, coin and stamp logs, mortgages, car titles, deeds, corporate documents, bank statements, credit card bills,  income statements, tax returns, pay stubs, investment accounts, whatever you can get your hands on.

Drop the cartons of pics and copies off to your lawyer.  Don’t leave them in the trunk of you car!

Lastly, don’t leave car keys, wedding rings and other small valuables lying around the house.  They have a tendency to be “stolen”.  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.

What To Do About Interspousal Theft?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

If you are thinking about divorce, you just never know if things will turn out amicable or nasty.  To protect yourself, I advise my clients to start photocopying every document they can get their hands on which shows money coming into the marriage or money going out.   This includes credit card bills, bank statements, income streams, pay stubs, tax returns, receipts and the like.

But sometimes divorces turn very nasty, and involve the theft or destruction of one’s property.  Yes, just like in the movies.   I advise my clients to remove all small valuable items from the home, like diamond engagement rings, which have nothing to do with the divorce, inherited jewelry, any small items of value that are separate property.

To protect expensive handbags, shoes, clothing, furs, artwork, silverware, fine china, antique furniture, cars, pianos, etc. , I recommend photos or videos to document what was there and in what condition.  That way, if your husband or wife were to go into the nasty zone, you have proof of what was there along with its condition for trial or for settlement.

Don’t take anything for granted.  It is easy enough to protect yourself and your property.  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 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 www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

Why Do Divorce Lawyers Work Hourly?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

If you are thinking about getting a divorce and live in Palm Beach County, Florida, or have property there, then you are going to need a divorce lawyer in this county.  As you call around, make an appointment, and go for a divorce consultation, you will find that most divorce lawyers in Palm Beach County charge by the hour instead of giving a flat fee.

The reason for this is that your lawyer has no control over the opposing party’s attorney or your spouse, stbx.   We divorce lawyers don’t know at the outset of the representation whether or not you or your spouse is going to cooperate by 1) providing documents the parties are entitled to see like tax returns or financial affidavits, 2) cooperate by showing up at depositions or court hearings, 3) cooperate by setting and attending the required mediation  4) cooperate by taking the required parenting class , or cooperate in any other way to get the divorce case to resolution.

We divorce lawyers don’t know if the case is going to settle or go to trial.  Because of the unpredictability of the way the case will proceed, and because of the lack of control (sometimes)  over our own client, or the opposing client or lawyer, the majority of divorce lawyers charge for their time and expertise on an hourly basis.  For those few that do give clients flat fees, most of those cases are simplistic,  limited in scope of representation, or doing things with the least amount of time invested.  Beware!

So if you go to a divorce lawyer who sounds too inexpensive, remember you get what  you pay for.  You want an ethical, diligent, knowledgeable and experienced divorce lawyer on your side, because this is the rest of your life you are dealing with.

If you are thinking about 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 http://www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

Checklist for Setting Yourself Up For A Divorce

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

There are certain steps you must take before you tell your spouse you are seeing a divorce lawyer and getting ready to file for divorce.  These are cautionary, and you may not really need to protect yourself in this way, but it is better to be safe than sorry.  Here are my suggestions:

1.  Photograph everything in your house.  Include cars, boats, motorcylces and other assets, such as vacant land.

2.  Remove jewelry and small valuables.

3.  Photo copy important documents such as deeds, mortgages, tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, utility bills, pay check stubbs of both you and your spouse and deliver to your lawyer.

4.   Get a post office box, or arrange with a friend or neighbor to accept your mail from your lawyer so it remains confidential.  Or you can accept mail at your place of employment.

5.  Get your own cell phone account and your own email account in case your spouse cuts you off upon learning of your seeking counsel.

6.  Slowly stock pile things you never thought you would need like socks, new towels, luggage. 

For more advice on preparing for a divorce 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 www.familylawwpb.com.