10 Aug QDRO’s & Intangible Property
Community property does not just include things like real estate, household belongings, and vehicles. It also includes intangible property such as income, dividends, benefits and debts. All community property must be divided when the marriage ends, and all of the debts as well.
In some cases, when a court awards a portion of one spouse’s retirement benefits to the other spouse, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) must be prepared to be sent to the employer, who will be ordered to distribute benefits to each spouse in accordance with the court’s order. A QDRO is not a “google and do-it-yourself” document. It is a legal document that must be drafted with specific language to comply with Federal and State law. If a QDRO will be needed in your divorce, consulting with a qualified attorney is a must.
A business or professional practice can also be community property and must also be considered in the division of property. Probably the most difficult aspect of determining the value of a business or professional practice is the valuing of “goodwill”. Goodwill is the intangible value that most businesses have based on their name or reputation. Even a business that cannot be sold has a goodwill value, which must be ascertained when the couple divorces. Again, having a qualified Family Law attorney on your side in a case like this is crucial, because he will bring in a CPA or business appraiser to review the books and business records and report an accurate value.