Family Law, Divorce & QDROs
A contested divorce is defined as a divorce where the spouses are unable to come to an agreement on issues such as child custody and the division of marital assets.
When a contested divorce occurs, the litigation process will take longer to complete. The spouses of a divorcing couple will head to court if they cannot come to an agreement on certain items and the court will make decisions on all issues that the couple cannot come to terms with.
A contested divorce takes a long time to end because there are more than a handful of steps that must be completed. These steps include meeting with an attorney, serving a divorce petition on the other spouse, the spouse responds to the petition, discovery, settlement, trial, post-trial motions, and appeals.
In an uncontested divorce, the parties have reached an agreement as to the major issues in the matter (child custody, visitation, property distribution, child support, etc.) on their own or with the assistance of their attorneys.
In uncontested divorces, once the parties have agreed upon and signed a marital settlement agreement, the agreement is presented to the court and the final divorce decree is entered. Additionally, an uncontested divorce can also occur in a situation when one spouse cannot be located or chooses not to participate in the divorce process.
Child Support is determined by a computer program that which calculates the amount of child support owed and leaves little room for disagreement.
This computer program takes into account many factors, including the income of both parties, the number of children, other payments required by the payor as a result of his or her employment (union dues, etc), which parent maintains health insurance for the children, and the state's child support guidelines. As a result, most child support orders, after some negotiation, are entered into by agreement of the parties.
Division of property is a major step in the divorce process that takes place in front of the court.
When the court divides a couple's property, as it seems fair this is known as equitable distribution of property. When the court divides a couple's property equally, this is referred to as community distribution of property.
Courts consider a variety of different factors when deciding how they are going to distribute a couple's property when using equitable distribution of property. In both forms of property division, the courts believe that both parties had a hand in bringing property into the marriage with their money. The resolution of property issues between a couple are rarely simple and often very unpredictable.
A domestic relations order that creates or recognizes the existence of an "alternate payee's" right to receive, or assigns to an alternate payee the right to receive, all or a portion of the benefits payable with respect to a participant under a pension plan, and that includes certain information and meets certain other requirements.