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originallawyer, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 763
Experience:  7+ years of experience in divorce, custody battles and mediation.
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Divorce date was April 4, 2012, Montgomery County, MD. My wife

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Divorce date was April 4, 2012, Montgomery County, MD. My wife was awarded 30% of my retired pay pension. I set her up an allotment for $1,000.00 to be sent to her out of my pension until the direct deposit from the DFAS kicked in, starting May 1, 2012. I took my time submitting the paperwork and it took fifteen months for her to get the first pension payment from Cleveland. Her part of my pension turned out to be $1,627.20 a month. Her lawyer tells me that I owe my ex-wife the shortfall of $627.20 a month for those fifteen months, and said that she wrote my lawyer a letter months ago saying that my wife's portion was going to be several hundred dollars more than I was giving her, so I should have known. She sent me a notice saying that I owe my ex-wife $9,048.00 (627.20 for fifteen months). I don't agree. I say my ex has no right to that money. We were married eighteen years and sick with epilepsy and cancer most of the time and didn't work much. I say I have the right to keep that money for myself for supporting her for all those years.
I know you want to be told that you are correct, but unfortunately, I'm afraid that your ex-wife's attorney is correct and if your ex-wife takes you to court to enforce the order, the likely outcome is that you will be ordered to make the back payments and you may be held in contempt and required to pay her attorney fees for bringing the contempt and enforcement motion.

If she was ordered a specific portion of your pension, and that was supposed to be sent to her starting on a specific date, then she's legally entitled to the full 30% from that date, whether you knew what the amount was or not. It would have been up to you and your attorney to do the calculations to determine what 30% was and make payments accordingly. If you had overpaid, you would have been entitled to a credit.

Further, a judge isn't going to penalize her by taking away the full amount she was granted because you, in your words "took your time" doing the paperwork. To a Judge that will sound like you deliberately took your time filing the paperwork on purpose to further delay paying the full amount.

Unless a Judge specifically agreed in an order that you didn't have to make the full 30% payment until the direct deposit kicked in, you don't have any grounds for fighting this. Simply because you took care of your wife while you were married doesn't mean that the court would agree that you were entitled to that money especially after you were ordered to pay a specific percentage.

In the event that this goes to court, the Judge would likely set up a payment plan for you to pay back the arrears.

I realize this isn't want you want to hear, but it's the legal reality of your situation.

Please feel free to ask any follow up questions you may have.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The decree does not say I owe it to her from a specific date. It says that she is to receive 30%. It doesn't SAY that this is supposed to happen at any specific time. My ex's lawyer says that it defaults to the date of the divorce if there is no other specific date. I say it starts when DFAS starts sending it to her. She's lucky she got $1,000.00 every month.


She says I can be fined for arrearages of support over 30 days. I don't consider the military pension "support". Alimony is support. The pension is the pension. I always paid the alimony on the first of the month. If the pension is included in the "support", why didn't it say so?


I have surfed all over the web and I cannot find one place where it states that the Former Spouse retired pension starts at the time of the divorce. I can only find info about the DFAS's involvement in it. I would like to see the literature that tells me that I should have been paying her that full amount out of MY pension starting the month after the divorce. I just don't believe it unless I see it.



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