I am a retired Navy officer. I retired in January 1994 after 20 years of service. I married my first wife in June 1974 and was divorced from her in July 1992. In our divorce decree, she was awarded her fair share of my military retirement. Of the 240 months I spent in the military, I was married to my first wife for 206 of those months. My calculations show she should have received 43% of my retirement. Prior to my Navy retirement, my ex-wife remarried. At the time I thought this absolved me of her claim on my military retirement. I know now that was wrong. I continued to pay child support for my two sons until they turned 18 and/or graduated from high school. For the past 22 years, after my military retirement, I have not paid any of my military retirement payments to my ex-wife. Last week I received a letter from an attorney she retained to look into this and pursue payments. Her claim against me could amount to almost $250k. I don't know why my ex-wife has waited so long to request payment of military retirement. 22 years ago I did nothing to make her think I didn't retire, my retirement ceremony and party was attended by my two sons and many mutual friends. My ex-wife also knows I started a new job shortly after retirement. I can only assume she also thought that her remarriage voided her claim to my military retirement. I don't know what triggered her to contact this lawyer regarding our divorce decree. Her attorney has asked for my military W-2s so she can calculate the amount owed. I am in the process of getting them from DFAS. Now for my two questions: 1) Is there a statute of limitations in California for unpaid divorce decree judgments? 2) Can laches be a successful defense toward non-payment? Thanks. XXXX XXXXXX
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