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Divorce Judgment/Pension Division

Los Angeles, CA |

I recently obtained a Default Judgment for my Divorce. I asked the Court to grant me a percentage of my husband's retirement benefits. My husband was in the US Military. I am not sure how to proceed with obtaining the percentage, I do not know how much the pension is worth. I was told something about a "Quadro"? can someone please provide some information? I greatly appreciate it. Thank you

Attorney Answers 6


  1. QDRO's are very complicated. Even attorneys require a specialist to do it. The pension must be joined and served the order. I wouldn't even recommend attempting to do it.

    This is just my opinion and not a comprehensive answer. You assume the risk because this answer may not apply to your situation depending on the facts.


  2. The rules for division of a US military pension, and the procedure for doing it, have very little to do with those used for dividing up a civilian private employer pension, including the conditions under which the non-member spouse gets anything. You definitely need to review your facts with an EXPERIENCED family law attorney.


  3. Pension division is a specialized practice. There are family law attorneys who specialize in QDRO preparation. The percentage is based upon the time rule. The time rule is expressed as a fraction, the numerator of which is the number of months of pension accrual during the marriage and the denominator is the total number of months of pension accrual. That fraction represents the portion of the pension that is community property. Each party is entitiled to 1/2 of that fraction. The balance of the pension, (the separate interest) is your husband's separate property.

    The cost of a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order) is usually between $750 and $1500 in my practice area. Check with your local bar association (L.A. County Bar Association) for an attorney who prepares QDROs. It's not something that you want to do without qualified legal advice. There are technical rules that must be complied with.


  4. Hi.

    A QDRO (or qualified domestic relations order) is not the proper title of the order necessary for division of a federal (military) retirement plan. You should consult a specialist whose expertise lies in preparing a Qualified Court Order to ensure that you receive your fair share. Once the order has been prepared and filed, you will need to submit it to DFAS with a from provided by DFAS and a copy of your Divorce Judgment. If the order does not contain all the information required by the government, it will be rejected and you will not receive payments. Some of the information required includes:
    The amount or percentage you should receive;
    Social Security numbers for you and your ex; and
    Specification that DFAS will make the payments.

    Best of Luck!

    LEGAL DISLAIMER: This response is soley for informational purposes and is not intended to, and nor does it, constitute legal advice. The response does not create an attorney client relationship.


  5. I would echo the sentiments of the others. What you need is a military pension division order. These orders are very complicated and must contain all of the correct language or will be rejected by the DFAS. Here is a brief handout explaining the process: http://apps.americanbar.org/family/military/silent/pension_division.pdf
    I absolutely recommend getting an attorney who specializes in military pension division to assist you with this process.
    Best of luck to you.


  6. I own a practice specializing in QDROs for clients & attorneys throughout California and could assist you with this process. There are certain requirements (such as "the Ten Year Rule") that must be met for DFAS to pay you a portion of military benefits. A brief overview of the requirements and the division of military pay can be found on my website through the link below. I hope that answers some of your questions.

    Answers have been prepared for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. An answer posted on this website is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship, and readers should not act upon it without seeking professional counsel.

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