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Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 111635
Experience:  Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
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I sent a question last night and was not satisfied with the

Customer Question

I sent a question last night and was not satisfied with the answer. It doesn't seem like the lawyer didn't really read my question
JA: The Family Lawyer will need to help you with this. Have you consulted a lawyer yet?
Customer: No
JA: Please tell me everything you can about this issue so the Family Lawyer can help you best. Please give me a bit more information, so we can help you best.
Customer: I wanted to know how to apply for retirement benefits from my ex husband. We were married more than 10 years. I began receiving social security when I turned 66 last year. I am still working full time
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Family Lawyer should know?
Customer: I don't know...don't think so
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer where you can place your fully refundable $5 deposit (plus $13 after the Family Lawyer responds). While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Family Lawyer about your situation and connect you two.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Which retirement benefits are you referring to, private retirement or SS benefits? Your SS benefits based on your husband's benefits are applied for through the Social Security Administration, as previously explained to you, but if you would like more information than you received already, please use REPLY and tell us more specifically what you want to know and we are happy to keep replying to your additional questions until we give you the information you were seeking.
This system works best with back and forth communications between customer and expert and the more specific the customer's questions the better we can focus on the information the customer wants.
So please explain more.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I think my question was quite clear but then you ask me to pay and I already pd last night. I'm talking about retirement benefits from my ex husband, not social security
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
While I know you thought you were clear, but in this forum sometimes things do not come across as clear as people may believe.
Second, you did not "pay last night" you merely left a deposit which has not been released and is still fully refundable if you do not want to continue in this forum or process.
So, now we have established you are NOT talking about social security, I have additional information you need to provide me.
When you divorced, was his private retirement divided or discussed during the marital property settlement and was a Qualified Domestic Relations Order issued by the court where the divorce was held?
What state did the divorce take place in?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Colorado. When we divorced, I didn't even know what a QDRO was. We did a do-it-yourself divorce with no lawyers so I know nothing about his retirement.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
This is a more complex situation for you now than you may realize. In order for an ex spouse to have any rights or claims on a private pension plan, the court must issue a QDRO. This means that the court must determine the value of your share of the pension based on the time you were married and the date of your divorce. If the pension plan was not mentioned when you did the divorce and submitted the marital property settlement, you are now going to have to go back to the court you filed your divorce in and file a Petition to Reopen marital property settlement and you are going to have to ask the court for a QDRO. It also means that you will need a local attorney, because the courts do not make calculations for parties, you or your attorney has to submit the calculations as to the value of the pension at the time of the divorce and the marital share you should be entitled to and that is done by filing subpoenas and discovery requests to the pension plan administrator and your ex husband as well. Once the information is gathered, you or your attorney has to actually draft the QDRO and submit it to the court for the court to enter as a court order.
Once the court issues the QDRO then you serve that on the pension plan administrator for them to release your share of your ex's retirement plan to you.
At this point you will need to get a local attorney involved who deals with QDROs and you can find one at the same sites used by other attorneys, http://www.hg.org or http://www.lexmundi.com
Here are some forms with information you need and you can download them and review them to get started before engaging a Colorado attorney to take this to court to get your share of the benefits from the retirement plan: http://www.qdroplan.com/pages/download.html

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