Help Filing Prenuptial Agreements and Other Legal Agreements & Orders
Our offices can also assit our clients with several “before and after” dissolution issues. Such issues include Pre-Nuptial Agreements, drafted prior to the date of marriage, to establish how their marital and property rights will be adjudicated in the event of a divorce, especially when such terms are contrary to existing California law. Others issues include what are known as Nuptial Agreements, which are drafted during marriage and again alter the adjudication of their marital and property rights from there on forward with or without a divorce.
Sometimes after a divorce is final there are certain dispositions and terms that have yet to be completed or need to be changed. These often include the preparation of orders (called QDROs) for the division of retirement/pension benefits, orders for the sale and/or division of real property, modification of support orders, or modification of custodial
If you need to file any of these important legal documents, it is essential that you consult a legal professional to make sure they are filed correctly.
Often, couples preparing for marriage want a different type of arrangement for their financial affairs, something unique to them, and not determined according to California’s community property and spousal support laws. However, parties cannot contract away the state’s authority over child custody and child support. They can do so by entering into a pre-marital contract (agreement) with one another, setting forth exactly how they want their assets and debts treated under the law in the event of a divorce or separation. To be legally binding, these agreements need to be reviewed by respective counsel for each party to assure that each party has been advised of the legal significance and consequences of the matters contained in the agreement.
Similar to a prenuptial agreement, married persons may also choose to opt out of California’s community property and spousal support laws without wanting to separate from or divorce one another. These types of agreements are usually prepared and reviewed in the same manner as the prenuptial agreement. Sometimes referred to as marital property agreements, these types of nuptial agreements can be before or during the termination of the marital relationship.
Pension Division Orders
A specific type of property agreement is the Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) required under federal law to divide community interests in one spouse’s retirement benefits such as pensions, 401(k)’s, Employee Stock Option Plans, Deferred Compensation Plans, Profit Sharing Plans, and Employee Tax Savings Plans. These are also sometimes referred to as DRO’s and COAP’s, depending on the nature of the employer. Each plan has its own specific requirements which neither the parties nor the court can alter. As such, an attorney or other qualified expert (i.e., a person experienced in drafting these special types of orders) is strongly suggested. If the form of an order to divide these benefits, sent to the employee spouse’s plan, is not approved by the plan, the orders will not be binding. These types of orders are technical and must be written correctly for each individual plan.
Modification of Orders
Long after the divorce is over, sometimes one or both parties will want an existing order modified. This is a very easy process if the parties agree to the terms of the new order. If not, it will require the filing of a motion, and a subsequent agreement, or hearing on the motion. Some types of orders are not modifiable, but others, such as child custody and child and spousal support are. It is therefore important to seek a knowledgeable attorney that knows which orders are modifiable at the time they are being made if you want to avoid foreseeable situations later on.
Legal Name Changes
A legal name change can easily be obtained for a party during the pendency or aftermath of a divorce. While governed by a slightly different set of rules, it can also be done outside of a divorce action. As for children, this can also be done within or without a divorce action. But without the consent of the other parent, the court will most likely reject the request without a fairly compelling reason.
Let Us Help You File Important Legal Documents
If you need to file any of these important legal documents, it is essential that you seek an experienced legal professional to make sure they are filed correctly. Contact us here at the Law And Mediation Offices of Maureen A. Faria to schedule your free 30 minute consultation (in-office, by phone, or via Zoom).