Skip to main content

Military pension & divorce seems to be a specialized area & 5 paid consults later, I'm still without a lawyer. Help please.

Modesto, CA |

I am attempting to divorce my husband of 17 years. We are both located in Modesto, CA, but every lawyer I've paid for a consult with admits they don't really deal with Military pension division regularly. My husband and I have been legally separated since 2007, but we were attempting to reconcile until Oct. 2010. One attorney said he can make a case that I'm entitled to pension division up until 2010, others say only until the legal separation. None say they really specialize in Military pensions. Is there any Attorney who can help me, or has a suggestion who could possibly best represent me, or I should possibly consult with in Modesto, CA. I have less than 2 weeks to respond to my husbands attorney, so time is running out. Thank you.

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

I don't know why your paying for consultations. You should retain an attorney. Paying for this type of thing piecemeal is not productive for you purposes nor is it a good business model for an attorney.

I am from Modesto, but divorce and separation not my focus area at this time. I generally field these questions to my friends who focus on divorce. But his military retirement really doesnt sound that complicated.

I assume military couples have divorced in the past so it shouldn't be that difficult. I also understand the old rules where that the non-military spouse didn't get the retirement, but that has since been changed by the feds. In other words, you are entitled to part of his military pension.

I dont understand why you can't find an attorney unless you don't have the money for one.

The above information does not establish an attorney client relationship nor is it meant to provide legal advice.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

1 lawyer agrees

3 comments

Donald George Rehkopf

Donald George Rehkopf

Posted

Military divorce issues involving pensions, retirement benefits etc., can be quite complicated especially if children are involved. While I concentrate in military law related issues, I do NOT handle military divorce matters because you not only need to know and understand the applicable State laws / procedures regarding divorce, child support, custody, etc., but also integrate federal law regarding military pensions / retirement into that equation. Furthermore, the attorney has to be knowledgeable enough to "educate" the Judge and often opposing counsel on these issues. I suggest that you contact the California Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Services at: http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Public/LawyerReferralServicesLRS.aspx and try and get a referral to someone who is knowledgeable in these areas. Good Luck!

Asker

Posted

Thank you to both Mr. Bogan and Mr. Rehkopf. I have found it true that I need an attorney knowledgeable not just in CA state laws, but also in Military/Federal laws enough to "educate" all concerned parties (as Mr. Rehkopf put so nicely). Even the attorney I used for the legal separation in 2007 (which we purposely left out the division of any pensions until such time that a dissolution should occur) thought a QRDO had to be filed for the Military pension division, to which DFAS stated (via a phone conversation with me) that is not the case. This is exactly why I haven't retained an attorney yet, because I cannot seem to find one locally that truly understand the intricacies of Military divorce. I cannot afford to do this wrong, yet I cannot afford to pay an attorney to commute to the Central Valley from San Diego who does have such expertise. Again, thank you both for your help, suggestions and mostly for your valuable time! I sincerely am grateful.

Donald George Rehkopf

Donald George Rehkopf

Posted

You may want to look up in the Fairfield area near Travis AFB. That's a huge base and I'm sure someone in that area has the expertise you need - and, it's a lot closer than San Diego.

Posted

It sounds like you are trying to get two separate steps accomplished at once.

First, hire a family law attorney to handle all aspects of your case, including getting you to a JUDGMENT OF DISSOLUTION that states that the military pension shall be divided by QUALIFIED DOMESTIC RELATIONS ORDER (QDRO).

Then, standard practice of family law attorneys is to farm the preparation of the QDRO out to an expert who does pretty much only that. The cost for the paid QDRO preparer goes from $340 to $2600 per QDRO, so your family law attorney should shop around.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of California. Responses are based solely on California law unless stated otherwise.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

Family law topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics