Compliance With Civil Protective Orders in the Social Media Age

In the District of Columbia Civil Protective Orders (CPO’s) are available to 35755505 - social engagement
individuals who have had a crime committed against them, or have had a crime threatened against them, by someone with whom they have had certain types of previous relationships. A standard CPO will include a provision that the person to whom the protective order is enforceable against cannot contact the protected person either directly or indirectly and can also restrict social media and electronic contact.

For the most part this seems straightforward enough, but social media accounts can create many pitfalls. For instance what about tagging someone who is protected by a CPO? The answer may surprise you. Another area of concern is how courts will treat protected parties who receive “notifications” from the social media company (e.g. Facebook, Instagram) about actions by the other party? To avoid any potential liability the best course of action may be to delete your accounts, or short of that block the other person so as to not risk any violations. Before blocking the other person you should check with the social media company that the person being blocked will not receive any sort of notification of being blocked. Contempt of a CPO can lead to civil and criminal penalties with fines up to $1,000 and possible jail time so its best to do everything to make sure compliance is assured.

Dividing Pension Plans and other Retirement Assets

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Pensions and retirement plans are frequently a source of dispute in contested divorce cases. A common solution in dividing pension plans or other retirement assets is that the non-vested spouse receives a pro rata share of the marital portion of the pension. For example, Wendy starts working in 1990, in 2000 she marries Harry, and in 2010 Wendy and Harry divorce. Wendy and Harry decide that Harry will receive half of the marital share of the pension. That means Harry will get half of whatever was earned/contributed in the pension for the time period the couple was married, in this case half of the pension from 2000-2010.

Whether the Court decides the issue, or the parties resolve the issue as part of a settlement agreement, an Order will be necessary directing the administrator of the pension/retirement plan to distribute funds to someone other than the account holder. These Orders are typical referred to as “Qualified Domestic Relations Orders”, or QDRO’s for short.

Each plan’s administrator may require different provisions so it is important to check with the plan administrator ahead of time to see what is necessary in the QDRO to avoid the time and expense of resubmitting the Order. For example, the Federal government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has specific language it prefers for Order’s to use. Orders to OPM are also titled as Court Orders Acceptable for Processing (COAP) not QDRO’s because of exemptions to the Employee Retirement Security Act. The costs associated with QDRO’s should also be considered. Some administrators require a review fee to make sure the draft QDRO is compliant with their own in house regulations.

The level of complexity in determining how to divide retirement assets, and the correct procedure for doing so, requires proper planning and knowledge of both law and the administrator’s internal regulations.

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How To File For An Uncontested Divorce In Washington, D.C.

17724065_ml-300x224Uncontested divorces offer the chance to obtain your divorce in an expedited fashion as opposed to a contested divorce where the process is significantly longer. In order to be eligible to file for an uncontested divorce you and your spouse must have come to an agreement on all property, debt, spousal support, and child custody issues prior to filing for the uncontested divorce. This leaves the Court with determining only the issue of whether the parties have proven grounds for an absolute divorce.

Once all of the above issues are resolved between you and your spouse a “joint praecipe” must be filed with the Court. The Court will then schedule a hearing at which time the parties must bring a copy of the marriage certificate and documentation of their agreement as to the above mentioned issues. The Barkat Law Firm offers representation for uncontested divorces at a flat rate. Contact us now to speak with an experienced divorce attorney about what options are available to you as you pursue a divorce.

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How Property Is Divided In A Divorce In The District Of Columbia

When considering a divorce clients frequently want to know how a divorce will impact their assets. The District of Columbia follows a process known as “equitable division” to distribute assets following a divorce. This does not mean that the property will be divided equally, but rather it will be divided in a manner that the presiding Judge deems fair. The presiding Judge will weigh the following factors when determining “equitable division”:

  • The contribution of each spouse to the marital property
  • The occupation of each spouse
  • The length of the marriage
  • The amount and source of income for each spouse
  • The age and health of each spouse
  • The employability of each spouse
  • The assets and debts of each spouse
  • Whether the division is in place or in addition to any alimony award
  • Custodial provisions of the children

Contact the Barkat Law Firm by phone at (202)827-9776 or to speak with a divorce attorney who can provide you with legal advice tailored to your specific situation.

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