A list of questions, because Ashley will answer them. If you are married, please bring any judgments entered in your previous divorce or your spouse's previous divorce cases, any premarital agreements, your marriage license, any post-marital agreements, deeds for real property, a copy of your current state and federal income tax returns, and any court documents if your case is already in progress. If you are a registered domestic partner, please bring a copy of your Certificate of Registered Domestic Partnership. If you are a paternity client, please bring any declarations of paternity, birth certificates, and a copy of your current state and federal tax returns.
Once you have retained Ashley A. Andrews, APC, Ashley will work tenaciously and effectively to get your case started and on the right path. This will require a lot of work up front from you, possibly your CPA and, if you own a business, your management team. Ashley will need deeds, mortgage statements, vehicle registration, state and federal income tax returns for the last three years, current and date of separation statements for all financial accounts and credit cards, and any other documents pertaining to assets and debts such as copies of life insurance policies, family trusts, and copies of QuickBooks or other accounting software.
Two answers: expertise and efficiency. One of the most common and complicated issues in family law is determining the other party's true income. A second is classifying which assets are community or separate property or both and their values in each category. Income determinations and classification issues require expertise. In many situations, a forensic accountant can provide both types of analysis to us less expensively and more quickly than if we performed the same work. If either issue becomes contested in court, the forensic accountant can testify with less expense to you because the work was already performed.
While California has a six-month waiting period for divorces, your case will not necessarily be resolved within six months. The steps we must take before your case is finalized are as follows: complete the Petition or Response, exchange the preliminary and final declarations of disclosure, and draft and enter the judgment for dissolution of marriage. For simple cases, where both parties are compliant, Ashley can complete this process in a matter of weeks. For complex cases, this process may take longer.
A Qualified Domestic Relations Order, also known as a QDRO for short, is a separate type of order required to divide certain types of retirement plans as part of a divorce. The separate court order is typically required because the retirement plan being divided is subject to certain federal laws designed to protect retirement plans. These laws mandate the use of certain language to divide a retirement plan participant's interest in the plan. In the case of some federal and other government plans, even if a QDRO is not required, there may be other specialized language needed in an order to cover plan requirements, and so a separate order just addressing that retirement plan is used. Because this area of law is so specialized, the work of preparing QDRO's and similar orders is handled by a QDRO attorney.