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

By otmseo,

Uncontested 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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Factors In Spousal Support Awards In The District Of Columbia

By otmseo,

If you are getting a divorce in the District of Columbia you can request, and may be eligible to receive spousal support. Section 16-913 of the District of Columbia Code states that, “In determining an award for spousal support the Court looks at all relevant factors including, but not limited to, the:

(1) ability of the party seeking alimony to be wholly or partly self-supporting;

(2) time necessary for the party seeking alimony to gain sufficient education or
training to enable that party to secure suitable employment;

(3) standard of living that the parties established during their marriage or domestic
partnership, but giving consideration to the fact that there will be 2 households
to maintain;

(4) duration of the marriage or domestic partnership;

(5) circumstances which contributed to the estrangement of the parties;

(6) age of each party;

(7) physical and mental condition of each party;

(8) ability of the party from whom alimony is sought to meet his or her needs while
meeting the needs of the other party; and

(9) financial needs and financial resources of each party, including:
(A) income;
(B) income from assets, both those that are the property of the marriage or
domestic partnership and those that are not;
(C) potential income which may be imputed to non-income producing assets of a
(D) any previous award of child support in this case;
(E) the financial obligations of each party;
(F) the right of a party to receive retirement benefits; and
(G) the taxability or non-taxability of income.”

Contact the Barkat Law Firm today to speak with a D.C. divorce attorney about how to pursue or fight against a request for spousal support.

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Dealing With Your Ex

By otmseo,

Long after an agreement or trial settles custody between you and your ex you are still going to be left dealing with that person until your child reaches the age of majority, and even after that. Here are some tips from the Huffington Post on how to deal with an ex that is combative.

Compliance With Civil Protective Orders in the Social Media Age

By otmseo,

In the District of Columbia Civil Protective Orders (CPO’s) are available to
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

By otmseo,

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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3 Ways To Come Across As A Credible Witness

By otmseo,

Credibility can play an important role in determine the outcome of your case. If testimony from either party comes across as improbable or unreasonable it can seriously harm your chances of getting what you want. Since opposing counsel is going to do everything in their power to demean your reliability it is essential for you to project credibility to the Judge in the case. Below are three easy ways to project credibility when taking the witness stand.

1. Dress the part

If possible, you should dress in business attire for your court appearance. Dressing in proper attire can create a “halo effect” meaning people will view you in a more positive light and will be more willing to look past any minor mistakes you make. The pioneering study on the halo effect was conducted by psychologist E.L. Thorndike who studied the effect in the early 1900’s and noticed that, “when an individual is found to possess one desirable trait, that individual is assumed to have many other desirable traits too.” If you think Judges do not care about appearance then think again. At least one Judge in the District of Columbia Superior Court keeps extra shirts and ties for parties to use if they do not own any.

2. Make eye contact with the Judge and Opposing Counsel

A recent study by Northwestern University confirms what many have been saying for a long time, that eye contact builds trust. When being questioned by opposing counsel maintaining eye contact can work for you in a couple ways. One, it can demonstrate to opposing counsel that you are not timid and that counsel will not be able to bully you on the stand and two by displaying your trustworthiness it can throw opposing counsel off of their game. If the Judge asks you a question directly making eye contact while answering can impact your credibility by coming across as trustworthy to the Judge.

3. Answer the questions directly

As bad as you may want to expand on a question asked by your attorney or rebut a question phrased by opposing counsel do not do it. Remember, it is your attorney’s job to rebut opposing counsel’s assertions and to make objections when necessary. Moreover, your attorney should be asking questions in a manner that enables all the necessary details to be divulged during trial. By answering questions firmly and directly you will come across as competent and credible to the fact finder.

Following the three tips above is a good starting point to strengthening your case by being a credible witness.

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