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Q is for Qualified Domestic Relations Orders. These orders are often commonly referred to as QDROs. QDROs are court orders that allow a spouse whose name is not on a retirement plan to receive benefits or monies from the retirement plan. QDROS are used for retirement plans including 401k plans, defined benefit pensions, 403b plans, and other employer-sponsored retirement accounts. Assuming you need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to access a retirement account--and you should never make this assumption without first speaking to an attorney--getting one is really the least of your worries. There are companies that are dedicated to drafting QDROS....

We are up to P in our Divorce from A to Z series.  P is for Property Division.  There are often a lot of questions about property in a divorce, including what is yours, what is mine, and what is ours.  What gets divided up? Who decides who gets what? Are there things that can't be divided up?  We'll cover the most common questions regarding property division. Because California is a community property state, any property that you acquired during the marriage is likely going to be "ours" and needs to be divided fairly equally.  If you have a prenuptial agreement,...

This week we are up to O which stands for orders. When you go to court, the Judge will make orders regarding the custody of your children, the payment of support, and the division of your property. Some of the orders will last forever. For instance, an order that directs you to sale the family home is an order that will not need to be modified. It will just be followed. Orders concerning custody or support however may need to be modified at a future time. This article focuses on ways to modify your court orders. Temporary Changes to the Custody...

We are up to the letter N in our Divorce from A to Z series.  N is for new partners during and after the divorce.  Because divorce in California takes a minimum of 6 months, there is the possibility that you will meet someone new during the time that your divorce is still pending.  Understanding how a new partner can affect your child custody, child support, and spousal support situations is important. First, keep in mind that whatever decisions you make regarding your living situation directly affect your children.  So, while you may be excited about possibly moving in with a...

We are up to the Letter M in our Divorce from A to Z series. This week's topic of discussion is Move Away Orders. Move Away Orders are custody orders issued by the court in the event that one of the parents decides to move far enough away that schedule would need to be changed. Move away orders are not made unless one of the parents actually plans to move. Before moving the kids, you need to notify the other side of the intent to move. If you have sole physical custody of the children, then the other side will have...

We are up to the letter in L in our Divorce from A to Z series.  L stands for loans, more specifically student loans.  We are going to figure out who is responsible for paying them after divorce and what options are out there if you cannot afford the loans. First, student loans are different than most other types of debt when it comes to divorce, repayment, and dividing them up.  Generally speaking, student loans are the responsibility of the one who took them out, whether it was before marriage or during the marriage.  With other types of debt, if you...

This week, we are up to the letter K in our Divorce from A to Z series. This week's topic is Kick Out Orders.  A Kick Out Order is an order where the Judge orders that one of the spouses has to move out of the family home. These orders are a lot more rare than most broken-hearted divorcees realize. California courts are resistant to throwing people into the streets when they are going through a divorce. Unless, of course, there is a restraining order against the spouse to be ousted. For parties whose marital issues do not justify the issuance...

In the tenth post in our Divorce from A to Z, we are up to J for Jurisdiction.  Jurisdiction sounds like one of those things you hear on Law & Order, but may not know exactly what it means, so we are going to talk about what it is and what that means for where you can file your California divorce case. First, jurisdiction is the authority that allows the court to hear and finalize your divorce case.  Without it, the court has no authority over you and your spouse and is unable to issue enforceable court orders.  You don't want...

We are up to I in our Divorce from A to Z series.  I in Divorce Court is for Income and Expense Declaration. This form is one that you will become very familar with during your divorce. In divorce court, an income and expense declaration is used by the Judge or Commissioner to make any decision where money is concerned. This includes child support, spousal support, attorneys fees, and payment of expenses. If you want a Judge to order your spouse to do something related to money in a divorce case, then you better make sure your income and expense declaration is...

In the 8th post of our Divorce from A to Z series, we are up to H.  In this case, H stands for Help! Many people start the divorce process and get the initial forms filed, but then find out that the courts have very specific ways that they want things done.  This results in a "stuck" case where the clerk or the judge keeps sending back paperwork to be redone and the case keeps dragging out forever. Even within California, each county court may have very different procedures for how each step of the divorce process is handled.  So, what can...