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.

BAD MARRIAGES GET WORSE DURING THE HOLIDAYS

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

If you’ve married for love and the love has run out…or you married for money and the money has run out, changes are, you and your husband or wife are not the happily married couple everyone thinks.  With the holidays upon us, it can be especially difficult to keep smiling and pretending.

There are all sorts of marital stresses during the holidays.  First, consider the now very common blended families.  Children and ex spouses from another lifetime suddenly appear at your dining table.  Time sharing squabbles, airline delays, and disputed schedule changes are hard enough, but during the holidays, they all seem to magnify.

Second, consider the family budget. With the current state of the economy, holiday spending is a hot topic of dispute.  Even something so simple as when and where to shop can become major wars in a household already on edge.
Third, no rest for the weary takes the place of sexual intimacy in front of the fireplace.  Forgive me for being a grinch, but let’s get real here.  You do have a house full of people, right?

Lastly, closing out the year and having high hopes for the new year causes one to reflect.  Like those new year’s resolutions, if divorce is one of your aspirations, I am here to help get you through.  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.

What IS A Parenting Plan And Why Are They So Good?

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

A parenting plan is a legal document that the mother and father work on together, by agreement of the parties, which lays out, IN DETAIL, any arrangements the parties have between themselves concerning the parties’ minor children. Parenting Plans become enforceable court orders.

This document can deal with time sharing, what days or weeks each parent has time with the child/ren; it can deal with where the pick up and drop off is going to be and when; it can deal with what happens when the child/ren is off from school for a holiday or teacher/parent day;  it can deal with who gets Christmas eve and who gets Christmas morning.  It governs vacations, leaving the country, visiting grandma, who holds the passports, medical issues of the child/ren, return of clothing, which doctors are agreed to, therapy and counseling, who takes the child/ren for haircuts, dentist, check ups, and just about anything else.

The advantage to divorcing parents or Former Husbands and Former Wives in having a parenting plan, is that it is SPECIFIC and DETAILED.  It also becomes an enforceable court order.  Divorcing parents can issue a parenting plan by agreement, or the judge can decide what is in the best interests of the child/ren at trial. The specificity of parenting plans helps parents avert the difficulties if parties cannot agree on issues later on down the road. 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.

“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.

Can You Change A Marital Settlement Agreement Once It Becomes A Court Order?

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Yes.  A marital settlement agreement and court order of divorce can be changed by AGREEMENT OF THE PARTIES or by COURT ORDER.  A court order will be the result of a PETITION FOR MODIFICATION OF FINAL JUDGMENT.  It has to be based upon a substantial, material change of circumstances.  You would have to prove such a change requires a modification at the POST DISSOLUTION TRIAL.

However, there is an EXCEPTION…once property and debts are divided in divorce court, or even by agreement of the parties, that part of the final judgment is a done deal.  Spousal support (alimony) and children’s issues (time sharing, child support) can be modified.  Division of assets and debts cannot.

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.

Holidays Can Be Hard For “Bouncing Ball” Children

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In addition to the Holiday Season being difficult for those husbands and wives who find themselves in failing marriages, the holidays can be hard for the “bouncing ball” children, who bounce back and forth between divorced parents.   They want to share the excitement and joys of the season with each parent they love, but they are forced by the divorce to split the time up.  Often parents fight about time sharing in front of the children causing them high anxiety and literally taking the joy out of the moment.

Divorced parents may also have new families and spouses…extended families can be a source of comfort or confusion for the child of a divorce.  If adults can start acting as such and put the child first, alot of the tension will dissipate.  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.

What Happens If I Move Out?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida I get this question all the time from clients who are doing divorce planning.  Divorce planning is another subject that is very important and I will address that in another article.  However, moving out of the marital home raises lots of questions from clients, the most common addressed below: First question:  DO I LOSE MY RIGHTS?  If your name is on the deed to the marital home, the answer is no. Second question:  WILL I LOSE MY KIDS?  It is your children’s rights that are protected by law here, that being the right to have two loving parents.  You will not lose your parental rights unless you are unfit to parent. Third question:   CAN HE/SHE KEEP ME OUT?  Only if there is a restraining order or some other court order giving your spouse exclusive use and possession. Fourth question:  WHAT DO I DO IF MY SPOUSE CHANGES THE LOCKS?  Change them back. Fifth question:  CAN I TAKE MY STUFF?  Only your personal effects ie clothing, cosmetics, shoes, hats, hand bags,  papers.  The rest is considered marital and subject to equitable distribution. Lastly:  HOW DO I PROTECT MY RIGHTS:  Photocopy everything and photograph everything else. For more information about this subject, divorce planning 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.