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  1. #1

    Default Pension Administrator Won't Accept the QDRO From the Time of Divorce

    My question involves a marriage in the state of:Texas

    I am posting this for a friend of mine and thank you in advance for any advice. My friend was married in the early 1980's in California. Husband and wife worked for a company that transferred them to San Antonio. In 1998 they filed for divorce in Texas, San Antonio. In her final divorce paperwork she was awarded $15k of his 401k retirement and was given a check. She believed that everything was final, he paid child support for the two children until they became of age as agreed.

    9 months ago she received a phone call from her ex-husband telling her that he may need her signature on some documents. He was not specific about what it was. She asked me to help her figure it out. I asked her to see the final divorce documents. The final documents, as it turned out, no only gave her $15k of the 401 but she was also supposed to receive 50% of his company pension plan, valued on the final divorce date. I don't know how she overlooked this but she did. He accrued in that pension plan from about 1989 until his company closed in 2005. She has no idea how much the plan was worth in 1998 and I would believe that since the money has been in this plan all of these years that there might be some interest involved.

    She also had a document she called a "quadro" which I know nothing about. I believe it is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order or something like that. It states the award of 50% of the pension and I believe a copy of it must have gone to the company. It seems that he reached an age at which he can begin to draw money from the account but the company sent him something in mail stating that she needed to sign off.

    She has contacted the company but they seem to be giving her the run-around. I told her to FAX her final divorce paperwork along with a copy of the QDRO to them and she did. Now they are telling her that the QDRO paperwork is old and no longer meets the requirements for that type of document. They told her that she had to fill out a new one and get it signed by a judge and recorded. She no longer lives in Texas and is now in Colorado.

    She has very limited means and we are wondering if any of this makes sense. Should she seek legal assistance in Colorado or will she have to go back to the jurisdiction in Texas? I would think that since they have acknowledged that he can't start taken money out of the account without her sign-off that the are acknowledging that they have the court order. Regardless of the age of the order it is pretty clear that the judge ordered that she receive 50%.

    Any advice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    2,236

    Default Re: Can't Seem to Collect My Half of Pension

    Without knowing the value on the divorce date there is no way to answer this.

    And the best help you can be to your friend is to get her to take everything to a lawyer BEFORE she signs anything.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Can't Seem to Collect My Half of Pension

    We expect that there could have been anywhere from $10k to $20k at the time. I agree about seeing lawyer but does she need one in Texas or can she look for one in Colorado?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,217

    Default Re: Can't Seem to Collect My Half of Pension

    I suggest she talk to lawyers in both states to see which way might be less costly though it occurs to me that a new QDRO attached to the old divorce case in Texas might be less costly than starting a new case in Colorado.

    Anyway, she's got some leverage. If her ex wants his pension he should pay for the lawyer.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    2,236

    Default Re: Can't Seem to Collect My Half of Pension

    The answer would be based on the exact wording of the order. I can't imagine the order requiring the payment of $15K which is pretty close to the amount of the pension at the time of the divorce and then her getting half later. You are reading something wrong.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Can't Seem to Collect My Half of Pension

    No, I guess I wasn't clear in my statement. She did receive half of a 401K, her half was $15k. The pension is different than the 401K, the divorce order is for 50% of the pension as of the divorce final date.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    98,684

    Default Re: Pension Administrator Won't Accept the QDRO From the Time of Divorce

    Employers and their pension administrators can be difficult when it comes to QDROs. It sounds like the QDRO was prepared and entered by the court but, for some reason, not submitted to the pension administrator at the time of divorce. Had the QDRO been submitted at that time and accepted as proper, everything should be good to go even if the requirements subsequently changed. And if the order was not in proper form, that issue could have been addressed at the time.

    If the company will not accept the QDRO, it is going to be necessary to go back to court to resolve the problem. It may be possible to get a model QDRO from the pension administrator (some will have a model that can be used as an example), but even if they do, don't assume that if you copy it that it will have the same effect as the QDRO you previously executed -- take any example to your lawyer along with the original.

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