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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 100053
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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My military husband divorced me in 1983. I did not have legal

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My military husband divorced me in 1983. I did not have legal representation. The two lawyers I talked to never informed me of my rights as a military wife for 18 years to receive a portion of my then husband's military retirement. The two lawyers I talked to offered a free 30 min. consultation; I had no money to pay lawyers, and of course I could not use the legal offices of the military base since I was being divorced.

This took place in South Dakota and the AFB was Ellsworth. I remarried 26.5 years ago, but I still wonder if there is anyway I can receive what I was owed?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Ely replied 6 years ago.
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It's possible, but it depends on the Judge. What you would have to do is to file a post-Judgement Motion for Modification of Divorce Decree..




Accrued or vested retirement benefits are community property. This means they need to be divided in a divorce. Retirement benefits that fall under community property include military pensions, veteran's educational benefits, ERISA funds, IRAs, Keoghs, Employee Stock Option Plans (ESOPS), 401K and 403K plans, etc. Certain retirement benefits are not classified as community property. They include: Social Security payments, Compensation for military injuries, and Worker's compensation disability awards.

There are two options for dividing retirement benefits: (1) the present-day valuation buy-out, and (2) division into two accounts. In the former, the spouse without the retirement benefits takes the present-day value of his or her interest in the retirement benefit and trades it for something else of equal value, such as cash or other assets. Note - stock options and pension plans where a person must work for a certain number of years may be worth more than you think. A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) will be required to transfer a share of retirement funds from the spouse participating in the retirement plan to the other spouse, and is usually included in the final divorce papers.
Your attorney should have explained it to you, but since they did not, you should try to modify, and hopefully, the Judge will be sympathetic.

Best of luck in your matter. I'm here if you need any more clarification or follow up information.



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