What Is Temporary Relief In Divorce Actions In Florida?

What Is Temporary Relief In Divorce Actions In Florida?.

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How To Navigate The Deadlines In Divorce Litigation

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire

Divorce is a process.  It takes time to get from one point to the next.  First, when you file, your petition for dissolution of marriage, the other spouse must be served with divorce papers.  Once served, that spouse has 20 days to file a responsive pleading and/or a counter petition for divorce.  Should a counter petition be filed, you, the filing spouse, have 20 days to respond to that counter petition.  Then comes the discovery and disclosure of financial information.  A financial affidavit must be filed along with supporting documents given to the other side.  Motions to compel mandatory disclosure may have to be heard by the judge.  However, once all the disclosure requirements are met, the parties can set a mediation in an attempt to settle the matters in dispute.  At this point, you have already spent 3 to 6 months or longer to get to mediation.  At mediation, the divorce may fully settle, partially settle or there may be no settlement at all.  If there is no settlement, a temporary relief hearing will be scheduled before the judge.  Typical relief is child support, alimony and attorneys fees to finance the litigation of this pending divorce. 

This, of course, is an overly simplified discussion of the process and curve balls may get in the way, costing time and money.  The important thing to do is talk to your lawyer and understand the time lines, so you don’t have unrealistic expectations.  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

Who Pays The Bills When A Divorce Is Pending?

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

The answer is… it depends…if the parties, during an intact marriage, each agreed to pay their own credit card bills, gasoline, cell phones, etc., then that should continue while the parties are trying to sort out the divorce.  If each party historically paid half the mortgage, half the groceries, utilities, or even if it was a 60% to 40% split, or whatever the arrangement was, then that should continue.  The reason being, that so many couples use anger to get even, that both the husband and the wife end up ruining their good credit in fighting over who pays what.  Neither makes the mortgage payment, for example, and the credit of both is ruined, let alone, the house may go into foreclosure.

This is not a smart tactic, certainly if the marital home has equity.  You will both lose.  So maintaining the status quo is probably the best advice I could give.  However, in the case where there is a major breadwinner, say the husband, and he cuts off financial assistance to the wife, this can be a very tricky situation for the wife.  She will have to have assistance from friends and family to get through the process, at least until the point of going to mediation or a temporary relief hearing.  This could take months.   On the flip side, if the wrong doer’s behavior is noted by the judge , which it will be, especially where there are children involved,  there certainly will be ugly ramifications.   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.

Working the System! Motion for Continuance

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In my continuing series of blogs on how to “work the system” in divorce litigation, the first blog was about getting your name changed during divorce proceedings so you don’t have to pay extra to do it later.  The second blog was about imputation of income where a spouse is voluntarily under employed or unemployed but has a fruitful work history.  These strategies are perfectly legal and accepted among the Bench and the Bar.

This third blog is how to work the system by using motions for continuance.  Why and when would a divorce court judge in Palm Beach County postpone a legal proceeding?  Here are some examples:

1.  Motion for continuance of mediation.  Mediation is set by court order.  Your spouse and/or his or her attorney does not comply with mandatory disclosure of financial documents which are necessary to go to mediation with, if you are to attempt a settlement of your divorce case.   In addition to doing a motion to compel these documents and information, your divorce lawyer should do a motion to continue mediation to another date.

2.  Motion to continue a temporary relief hearing.  Your divorce lawyer wants to take the deposition of your spouse’ accountant.  The lawyer or your spouse play the “unavailable game”.  If your lawyer cannot schedule the depositions, he/she has to ask for a continuance of the temporary relief hearing in addition to a motion to compel the requested depositions.

3.  Motion to continue trial.  A trial date is set by the court.  A discovery cut off date has come and gone while trial is imminent.  If your side does not have the information you are entitled to, like a witness list for example, your divorce lawyer would want to file for a continuance to allow more time to get the other side’s witness list and perhaps even take depositions of those witnesses.

Those are just three examples of when your lawyer might work the system by asking the court to reschedule litigation events via a motion for continuance.  It is perfectly legal.  There are many others, in response to the other lawyer’s “working the system” too.  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.  

How to “Work the System”…Imputation of Income

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In my continuation of “working the system” in divorce court blogs, I must qualify that I am only licensed to practice law in the State of Florida.  Therefore, all my information is based upon Florida law.  Marriage and divorce laws change with each state.

In Florida divorces, there is such a thing as “imputation of income”.   Income of a husband or a wife is especially important when it comes to issues such as child support, alimony and any request for an award of attorneys fees.  PRESENT ability to pay is important for temporary relief hearings pending the actual divorce proceedings.

But at the end of the process, when it comes down to the actual trial, the divorce court judge may look at a party’s earning history over the last three to five years, not just the present day income.  As a result of that employment history, the court may “impute” an income to a spouse, and enter a ruling “as if” the spouse was in fact earning that income, even though in reality they are sitting on the beach waiting for this case to be over.

Often, to impute an income, in addition to any earnings history, the judge might also consider a vocation evaluation.  That is when a party is evaluated as to their age, health, education and marketable skills set, and the evaluator, as expert witness, testifies as to what that spouse could be earning if employed.  The divorce court judge then has the discretion to impute an income to that spouse as if he/she were employed earning that income and enter an order based upon that imputed income.

Vocational evaluations are granted by court order after a motion is made and a hearing is set.  They are helpful tools in imputing an income to an under employed or unemployed spouse for purposes of awarding alimony, child support and attorneys fees. 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.

Exchanging Information In Divorce Cases

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

It is common knowledge that divorce is all about money.  Sometimes it is amazing at how two people can greatly differ in opinions at to what things are worth.  For example, a marital home, a piece of jewelry, a painting, a business…the parties can be worlds apart as to what the true value is of any marital asset. 

That is why parties in divorce cases employ appraisers.  And even appraisers can differ.  But in dividing marital assets and debts, no matter how you look at it, there has to be  an exchange of financial information.  This takes up most of the time in a case early on.  It is called the discovery phase of the case.  There is mandatory disclosure, and there are requests for documents to be produced. There are also interrogatories to be answered.  All this information has to be gathered, photocopied, logged and presented to the opposing side in the divorce case.  This is extremely tedious, time consuming and downright annoying for both parties involved but it is a necessary evil.  Upon the exchange of financial information, the lawyers will set a mediation in an attempt to settle the matter.  Any disputes will be presented at trial in a temporary relief hearing, and the divorce lawyers will then start preparing for trial.  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.