How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ely Your Own Question
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 102597
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
Ely is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My military husband divorced me in 1983. I did not have legal

Resolved Question:

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: 7 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Ely replied 7 years ago.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am one of JustAnswer's attorneys. I'll be helping you resolve your matter today.

Please remember that there might be a delay between your follow up questions and my answers because I may be helping other clients or taking a break.

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.

I hope you found my answer helpful, and if so please click on the ACCEPT button. This is the only way for me to get credit for my work - when you put in your payment information, I receive no credit for my time with you unless you press ACCEPT.

There is no fee for follow up questions should you wish to continue in this thread.

Remember, sometimes the law under which your situation falls does not give you the outcome or the choices you wanted - please understand that this is not the attorney's fault, but the way of circumstance.

There might be a delay between your follow up questions and my answers because I may be helping other clients or taking a break.

If you feel that I went an extra step to help, a bonus would be appreciated!

You can always request me for a future legal consultation through my profile at If you do this, make sure to begin the question with “This Question is for Eli…”

Ely and 2 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you