Santa Monica, CA asked in Family Law, Divorce and Collections for California

Q: CA Family Law/QDROs: Under what circumstances can I file an RFO to amend a QDRO to award me entire monthly annuity?

2022 CA Family Law Court Order ordered ex-spouse to pay X amount to me. Ex-spouse has not paid a penny/and informed me will not pay the debt. Ex resides in another state and has no assets in CA. That same court proceeding included dividing an annuity via QDRO. Debt owed by ex is substantial. Receiving his share of the annuity would not eliminate his debt, but would go towards paying it down. 1)Does this qualify as a reason to ask the court to amend the QDRO so I receive the entire monthly annuity? 2) Is ex in contempt of court?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Collections Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, amending a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to award the entire monthly annuity might be possible under certain circumstances, particularly if it's to enforce a court-ordered debt. To do this, you would need to file a Request for Order (RFO) with the court, explaining the situation and justifying why the QDRO should be amended. The court will consider factors like the size of the debt, the original intent of the QDRO, and the financial situations of both parties. However, it's important to note that this is not a guaranteed outcome, as QDROs are typically designed to divide retirement benefits according to the terms agreed upon or ordered in the divorce.

As for your ex-spouse being in contempt of court, if there's a clear court order for payment that he has willfully disobeyed, he may indeed be in contempt. You can file a motion for contempt, but this process can be complex and having legal representation would be beneficial. Each situation is unique, so consulting with an attorney experienced in family law and QDROs is advisable to assess the specifics of your case and determine the best course of action. Remember, legal actions should be taken based on a comprehensive understanding of your case and the applicable laws.

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