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Posted on in Divorce

Arlington Heights divorce attorney QDRO

Retirement savings are some of the most valuable assets people can have, and dividing them during a separation or divorce can be complicated. Even with a precise division of assets defined in your divorce agreement, tax implications prevent that money from being dealt with properly. To get around this hurdle and ensure that a retirement account holder or provider can issue payments without the payee being penalized, you will need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order or QDRO.

When Is a QDRO Necessary? 

A QDRO can apply to child support, alimony, or property rights, but divorcing couples use them frequently to instruct a retirement plan provider on how to adhere to the division of assets outlined in your divorce agreement. For this reason, many retirement plan providers have their own QDRO forms that you can submit. Most people will use these standard forms, but if the division of the account is complicated, you may want to draft your own QDRO. Regardless of whether you take advantage of existing forms or draft your own QDRO, you should enlist the help of an experienced divorce attorney to fully protect your interests.

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\Arlington Heights divorce lawyerMany divorce settlements include terms for spousal support, where one former spouse provides financial support to the other until they can fully support themselves. Spousal support, also known as alimony or spousal maintenance, can be made in regular payments or a lump sum. The terms, either agreed to in mediation or ordered by a judge, are legally binding. There are a few ways that a court will enforce a failure to adhere to your alimony payment schedule. If your ex falls behind on spousal maintenance payments, contact a divorce attorney before acting.

Enforcing Court-Ordered Spousal Support

Before bringing your case to court, you should try to communicate with your ex-spouse to find out if there are any circumstances preventing him or her from making payments. Common reasons include the recent loss of a job, illness, and injury. If your former spouse is willing to cooperate, you can form an agreement until he or she is capable of catching up with the payments. For instance, you both could suspend alimony payments until the paying-spouse returns to work. You should have an attorney draft this agreement. Informal contracts can lead to misunderstandings and difficulties in court if you need to opt for that route.

If your ex-spouse refuses to make support payments or fails to adhere to any new agreement you made due to his or her income reduction, you can take the issue to court. Failure to follow a court order means the court will hold the offender in “contempt.” In this case, you would file a motion for enforcement or contempt of court. To ensure that you eventually receive your support payments, a judge may garnish your former spouse’s wages, bank accounts, or tax returns. You may also explore alternatives like increasing the duration of support or adding interest to future payments. Continuous non-compliance could result in misdemeanor or felony charges. Courts issue significant fines and jail time for these offenses.

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Arlington Heights prenuptial agreement lawyerAlthough it is not pleasant to think about right before your wedding, a good number of marriages will end in divorce. Because of this reality, planning for that possibility could save you a lot of trouble in the future. Of course, if you and your soon-to-be spouse never end up separating, your prenuptial agreement (prenup) will not weigh you down in any way. However, if you do file for divorce and do not have a prenup, settling the terms of your separation will be a lot more difficult than it needed to be. 

What Can a Prenuptial Agreement Do for My Marriage?

The basic idea of a prenuptial agreement is to decide, in advance, how a couple will divide property and assets upon their divorce. Although you create a prenup before marriage, it does not take effect until the date that you get married. If you end up in court for divorce litigation without a prenup, a judge can decide how to divide your assets between you and your spouse.

There are plenty of reasons to get a prenuptial agreement. Maybe you own a business that you built well before your marriage: a prenup will help ensure that it remains yours in the event of a divorce. Perhaps you own property or you have funds set aside for children from a previous marriage: a prenup can help you keep those in your possession. Although it sounds unappealing to have these discussions with your spouse right before your wedding, the legal agreement can ease a lot of stress and any underlying concerns about what you will do if your marriage does come to an end.

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Arlington Heights divorce lawyerAfter years of unhappiness and frustration, you and your spouse finally took the necessary steps toward dissolving your marriage. The process was not easy—few divorces are—but you finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is possible to be happy again, and your post-divorce reality offers the opportunity for you to reclaim your life and your health. In accordance with the law, the terms of your divorce are formally recorded as part of the judgment of dissolution of marriage. Going forward, it is the responsibility of both parties to remain in compliance with the judgment, which, as a court-issued directive, is enforceable with legal action. If your spouse is failing to keep up his or her end of the arrangement, though, it may be up to you to take control of the situation.

Common Reasons for Needing Enforcement

Every divorce is different, of course, as the challenges facing an individual couple are the result of their own unique circumstances. However, certain aspects of a divorce judgement are more likely than others to be the source of non-compliance. Spousal maintenance and child support obligations, along with concerns regarding parenting time, commonly create issues when one spouses refuses or is unable to comply with judgment. There may also be complications in completing the division of property process as, in many cases, the transfer of assets from one party to the other may take place over the weeks and months following the divorce.

Try to Communicate

When your ex-spouse is failing to comply with your divorce agreement, you have option of going right back into court with a petition to enforce the order. For child support issues, you may have other alternatives as well, but filing in court is certainly one of them. However, turning immediately to legal action may not set a desired precedent for your life after divorce. It may be better to try to discuss the issue with your ex-spouse, if he or she will communicate with you. You may find that there is a justifiable reason for his or her actions and that finding a resolution may be possible, either between the two of you alone or through mediation. On the other hand, if communication is not possible, the courtroom may be your only recourse.

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Arlington Heights divorce attorneysWhile the term “narcissist” is often used to reference a person who is very self-absorbed, it may also refer to an actual psychological condition. People with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) often believe that they are superior to other people, require constant attention and praise, and engage in manipulative or controlling behavior.

If you are considering divorce and you are married to a narcissist, the road ahead will likely be filled with challenges and frustrations. Fortunately, you do not have to face these challenges alone. An experienced family law attorney can help you end your marriage as quickly and efficiently as possible while ensuring that your rights are fully protected.

Keep Copies of Communication and Financial Documents

Narcissists often lie, so having evidence of the real facts of your case is essential. Your spouse may attempt to hide assets or even purposely waste assets in order to reduce the property your receive in the divorce. Make copies of financial records such as tax returns, bank statements, retirement account statements, and credit card statements. Also, save emails, text messages, and other communications between yourself and your spouse that show his or her true nature. Evidence like this is extremely useful in proving your side of the case during your divorce proceedings.   

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