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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    2

    Default Registering a QDRO From a Foreign Divorce

    I live in Los Angeles. I am a US citizen formerly married to a Swede. My divorce was finalized in a Swedish Court in 2005. As part of my divorce, my ex-spouse is entitled to half of my union retirement plan for the years we were together. The QDRO we drew up and signed many years ago was rejected by my union retirement plan, as it was not registered in a Los Angeles court. I neglected to follow up on this, and before I kick the bucket, my ex (who lives in Sweden) should probably have her share transferred into her hands. I approached the free legal help center at the Van Nuys courthouse, and after several visits they ultimately said that I would need to hire an enforcement attorney, since our children are no longer minors.

    I did so, but the fees requested were beyond my ability to pay. Yes, part of me did think I should just say to my ex "I've agreed to it, but you have to make it happen" - but really, that wouldn't be fair as she lives there and I'm here.

    My union is telling me that I have to have our divorce registered in in the system here, and that an LA judge must sign off on the QDRO prior to them accepting it.

    Since there is no dispute between myself and my ex (with regards to her being entitled to this), is there a way for me to do this myself without having to hire an attorney? It seems as if it should be fairly straightforward.

    Many thanks for your advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,272

    Default Re: Registering Foreign Divorce to Facilitate Qdro Being Accepted by Retirement Plan

    Quote Quoting vikingdad
    View Post
    is there a way for me to do this myself without having to hire an attorney? It seems as if it should be fairly straightforward.
    Nothing that has to go to court is ever straightforward.

    Read this comprehensive article about registering foreign divorce decrees with a CA court.

    http://www.walzermelcher.com/foreign...judgments.html

    The only problem with the article is that it doesn't tell you what to file or how to file it.

    And there doesn't seem to be any help at the CA courts usually comprehensive self-help center:

    http://www.courts.ca.gov/8218.htm

    Try calling the lawyer that wrote the article and see if there's something he can put together for a reasonable fee.

    If that doesn't get you into an acceptable fee amount try the Swiss Embassy in LA on behalf of your ex-wife and see if they can help.

    If none of that works you might just have to file for divorce in CA. Fortunately, there are do-it-yourself kits that will get it done cheaply and your ex can waive process service and just sign stuff that you send her. Once you get to the point where you duplicate the decree your union can probably provide you with a sample QDRO that you can use to create yours and file with the court and get signed by the judge.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    576

    Default Re: Registering Foreign Divorce to Facilitate Qdro Being Accepted by Retirement Plan

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    ...If none of that works you might just have to file for divorce in CA. Fortunately, there are do-it-yourself kits that will get it done cheaply and your ex can waive process service and just sign stuff that you send her. Once you get to the point where you duplicate the decree...
    Can't file for divorce in California which was already granted in Sweden.

    vikingdad , the below link should be enough to start you moving in the right direction

    http://sweden.usembassy.gov/marriage_validity.html

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,272

    Default Re: Registering Foreign Divorce to Facilitate Qdro Being Accepted by Retirement Plan

    From the link provided by Tex11:

    "If you wish to register you Swedish divorce in the U.S. you need have your Divorce Decree from the District Court (Tingsratten) translated by an authorized translator, and obtain an Apostille certification from a Swedish notary public (found in the phone book under “notarius publicus”). Send the translated Divirce Decree to the Office of Vital Statistics of the appropriate U.S. state."

    I think there is more to it than that because a QDRO is involved.

    For a QDRO to be filed with the court and signed by a judge there has to be a case file in that court. So there's going to have to be another step after registering the divorce decree with the Office of Vital Statistics in order to give the local court jurisdiction over the QDRO.

    That step is likely to include filing something with the CA court to get a case opened. I have not been able to uncover that procedure.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    576

    Default Re: Registering Foreign Divorce to Facilitate Qdro Being Accepted by Retirement Plan

    vikingdad should be able to register the foreign decree and QDRO on his own. The QDRO may be part of the decree or a separate order.

    Once registered, he should take it to an attorney to determine what the next step is. If the only issue the plan administrator had is that it was not registered in a California court, and if there are no issues with the wording, and all parties are in agreement, it should be a simple matter to resolve

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Registering Foreign Divorce to Facilitate Qdro Being Accepted by Retirement Plan

    Many thanks for all of your input. I will spend this week trying to figure out how to get the divorce registered. And yes, Adjusterjack, my union did supply a template for the QDRO - which is what we used to draft our original document - so hopefully once the divorce is registered, I can get the QDRO signed off on.

    I do have an official translated copy of the divorce in hand, but just feel stymied in the process of getting it officially recognized here.

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