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I was granted half of my ex-husbands retirement in the divorce decree. Is there any way he can keep this from me?

Vermilion, OH |
Filed under: Divorce Divorce decree

It is through the STRS system and I am afraid he will somehow get it withheld from me. I am moving out of state before he retires and am unsure what he might be able to do.

Attorney Answers 4


Mr. Piper's answer is good. However, the order you will be seeking is not a QDRO. The correct order for the STRS system is a DOPO, [Division of Property Order] The purpose is the same as a QDRO but a bit simpler in some respects. The general procedure is similar also. Be sure that your counsel stays on top of this. I've seen these drag on for years when counsel was dilatory. Also, be advised that pension orders may increase your attorney fees.

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If you have had an appropriate benefit divsion order prepared, signed by the court and served upon and approved by the plan administrator, then the answer is no, there is really no way he can keep this from you. (Note that this is not just the divorce decree - this is a separate order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order "QDRO"). If one was not prepared, contact your divorce attorney and see what the status of this important order is.

IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE: Mr. Piper's response set forth above is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Mr. Piper's responses to all questions posted on AVVO are intended to provide general information based upon the his understanding of the facts stated in the question, and are for the general educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual. Also, a particular case may involve additional facts and circumstances which might invalidate some or all of the concepts provided in this answer and therefore you should not rely upon this answer in any individual situation. In order to offer legal advice about this or any similar situation, a qualified attorney would likely need to consider many factors not stated in the question and would need to question the potential client in order to clarify the specific facts operable in that case. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, it is recommended that you contact an attorney in your state. Mr. Piper is licensed to practice law in the State of Ohio, and may be contacted directly via email at:

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As long as you have a court order you should be fine. You will need to make sure the STRS has a copy of that order so the disperse the funds appropriately. You may need to consult an attorney should he attempt to withhold the money when retirement time gets here.

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STRS Pensions need to be divided by DOPO (Court Order). If this is not done, STRS may not know about the divorce and your entitlement to half the pension. He could then make elections to take all the money and blow it before you get your hands on it. Your Divorce lawyer should have gone over all this with you (if you had one). You need to hire a local, experienced Family Law/Divorce lawyer to help you protect your legal right to that money. And do it fast. Good luck!

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