All I Want For Christmas Is A Divorce. How Do I Get One?

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

You start by taking stock…of your situation, your family finances, your assets and your debts.  Educate yourself as to your spouse’ income, his/her spending, and whereabouts.  Then pick up the phone to a divorce lawyer.

Once you have a good idea of the value of your house, your stock accounts, your incomes, get your hands on your tax returns, bank statements, credit card bills, mortgage papers, loan applications, insurance documents, estate planning instruments, and anything else that evidences money. 

Remember in Florida, there is no fault divorce; there is equitable distribution of marital assets and debts, and there is premarital property that may or may not have been comingled.  There is also permanent alimony, durational alimony, bridge the gap alimony, and no alimony.  There is child time sharing, child support, shared parental responsibility, or sole parental responsibility. 

There is money for attorneys fees and costs, or not.  There is mediation and settlement, or trial.  There are depositions, mandatory financial disclosure, and penalties for not producing financial disclosure.  Divorce is a process, but in certain circumstances, it is the best gift you could ever give yourself.  You don’t need his/her permission to get a divorce in this state.  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.  

Why Paternity Cases are So Heart Wrenching

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

With more and more unwed parents, certain issues regarding their children raise their ugly heads.  For example, a father wants to be in a child’s life.  He is paying child support.  The mother is remarried or has another relationship and doesn’t want him around.  The father has to petition the court for his paternity rights.  Or the mother knows who the dad is, but the dad accepts no responsibility as a parent for either supporting the child or having a relationship and spending time with the child.  It is the mother who has to petition the court for paternity rights.  

What mothers and fathers fail to understand in these paternity cases, is it is the child’s rights to two loving supportive parents under the law that is violated.  The child suffers when the parents can’t agree or cooperate.

What mothers and fathers also fail to understand is that just because one party is not paying child support (in violation of court orders or otherwise,) that does not give the other parent rights to with hold the child from the non paying parent.   Time sharing and paying child support are two distinct and separate causes of action.  A mother may rationalize that if the father is not paying, he should not have the joy of seeing the child.  In these cases, it is the child who suffers.  There are court proceedings as recourse for the mother in these types of cases.

A paternity determination is simple if the mother has SOME idea of who the father might be.  A cheek swap of the child and the father in question will collect DNA and tell paternity with almost 100% certainty.  In cases where the mother does not know who the father could be, the child grows up fatherless unless another man in the mother’s life takes over emotionally as well as financially. For more information about this or other family law topics, call one of the lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, PA at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

 

Mediation Can Accomplish A Divorce Settlement

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

All parties to a divorce in Palm Beach County, Florida, must attend mediation at least twice in the course of a case, prior to taking the matter into the court room.  The first mediation occurs shortly after mandatory disclosure documents are received and analyzed by the opposing side.  The purpose of this mediation is to establish an agreed order on temporary relief pending the rest of the divorce proceedings.

Things to be decided include: children’s schedules, child support, alimony on a temporary basis, and who is to pay for which of the household bills to maintain the status quo during the divorce.

If that mediation results in an agreement, it is reduced to an enforceable agreed order until a final order on the entire divorce issues is entered by the court. If there is no agreement, or partial agreement, then  the parties, having satisfied the mediation requirement, can seek a temporary decision from the judge.

The second time the parties must attend mediation in Palm Beach County divorce cases, is when trial for the entire divorce is set by the court.  Sometime prior to that trial date, the parties must return to mediation to see if they can reach a global settlement on things like permanent alimony, equitable distribution of assets and debts of the marriage, time sharing schedules long term and the like. 

If the parties can settle the entire divorce, the terms are drafted into a marital settlement agreement and that becomes part of a final judgment of divorce. If the parties cannot agree, then they are free to continue on to court for the divorce trial, having met the mediation requirement yet again.  About 70% of this Firm’s cases settle in mediation.  It is a useful way to proceed, even with attorneys and CPAs present at the mediation.  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.

Summer Time Sharing and Court Orders

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

There are court orders in divorce matters that spell out summer time sharing for minor children of divorce.  And there are those among us who disobey these court orders to their own detriment and that of the minor children.

When it comes to summer time sharing, the parent may deprive the “other” parent of their court ordered summer time sharing out of spite, vindictiveness, or a million other reasons.  This behavior is punishable by contempt.  But the time is lost, you say.  While that is true, here is what happens when summer time sharing by court order is disobeyed.

The wronged parent can file a motion for contempt.  If airline tickets or camp fees were paid, the court could order the wrong doer parent to reimburse the wronged parent for all those costs.  The court may also award attorneys fees as well as make up time with the children.

So all is not lost.  It is all just unfortunate, inconvenient, and costly for all involved.  Especially the children who were looking forward to being with the other parent for summer vacation.  For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN Roshkind, PA at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com for more information. 

Court Orders Dealing With Children and Divorce

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

There are many issues to be decided regarding children in divorce cases.  They include child support, shared parental responsibility (otherwise known as major decisions) regarding travel, passports, schooling, (private, public, or home), day care and after care, health insurance,  parental alienation, siblings, activities, number of over night stays which each parent, and ultimately who pays for what, like team uniforms, equipment, clothing and supplies, uncovered medical and dental care.

When the divorcing parents come to an agreement regarding the well being of their children, that agreement is reduced to a court order.  Or, if the judge must decide what is in the best interests of the child/ren, that becomes a court order.  Court orders are enforceable by the judge.

But court orders involving children can be changed or modified, provided there is a substantial change in circumstances from the time the original court order was entered.  So whether it is child support, which can be reduced or increased, or a parent needs to relocate, or the time sharing needs adjusting, or whatever it is that has to do with minor children in divorce cases, court orders can be modified IF the parties or court determines it is in the best interests of the children because of a change in circumstance.  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 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.

“Custody” is now called “time sharing” under the law in Florida

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

It used to be called “custody”.  It used to imply rightful possession of a child.  It used to cause the other parent to be the “visiting” parent, or the “non custodial parent” who gets to “visit” with the child/ren.  You can begin to see how this terminology used to cause undue fighting and voluminous litigation between parents.

The Florida legislature, in all their wisdom, finally changed the law several years ago.  But bad habits die hard and sometimes I have clients revert back to the old language of the law.  Like “primary residential parent”.

Last week in court, an opposing party called the child “my” child.  The judge was quick to correct him by stating it is “a child of both of you.  You, mister, do not own a child.”  Public policy in Florida warrants that a child has a right to a relationship with both a mother and a father.  That is why the custody language was changed.

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.