Most people agree that during divorce the single most important issue is the welfare of any children. A close second, or if no children were born of the marriage, is the issue of assets and property division. Some parties are able to peacefully divide their assets and liabilities, while other cases are found on the other end of the spectrum. Everything from failing to report income, to hiding assets can be uncovered during a divorce. In cases where the value of assets is significant, the parties are well advised to seek not only the advice of competent family law attorneys, but to also include an accountant on their team of professionals.
In this economy, we are frequently presented with cases in which a former spouse has failed to fulfill his or her monetary obligations under the terms of a divorce decree. Clients often assume that once the divorce decree is entered; the other party will simply comply with whatever awards it dictates. Unfortunately, this often turns out not to be the case and therefore, it is important to have a good understanding of the available remedies for the breach of a divorce obligation.
The most important concept to understand is that there is a distinction between property settlement awards and awards which are determined to be in the nature of support (alimony, child support, attorney’s fees). This distinction governs the remedies that are available and the loopholes which might exist for a non-complying party.
Property division awards in a divorce decree are treated… Continue reading
Most divorce practitioners are aware that dividing a pension or qualified retirement asset as part of the property division requires a few extra steps. Because retirement plans are governed by federal law (as opposed to state divorce law) a standard divorce judgment simply will not do the trick. Instead, the payee of these benefits must submit a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), which is essentially a special type of court order which conforms to state and federal law as well as the terms of the Marital Settlement Agreement and the specific directives of the plan in question. Most divorce lawyers outsource this task to a QDRO attorney who specializes in the drafting of these types of orders.
However, problems arise when the pension that is referenced in the divorce agreement is provided by a government employer. This is because government plans (federal, state… Continue reading