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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 11806
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Was granted petition in April of 1997 in Kansas

Customer Question

Was granted petition for divorce in April of 1997 in Kansas City Kansas.
In the divorce decree it states, " Any pension, retirement, 401K, or other employment related accounts or benefits shall be equally divided between the petitioner (Me) and the respondent (My ex-wife). Specifically, the retirements of the petitioner through his military service, as of the date of this divorce, shall be equally divided and the 401K of the respondent through her employment, as of the date of the divorce, shall be equally divided between the parties."
I recently retired March 2015 and for the past 6 months I have been trying to figure out how to execute this portion of the divorce decree. I researched the Defense Finance and Accounting Service website and based on the wording and or lack of wording it is unclear as the exactly -
-What amount I will have to pay my ex-wife?
- In 1997 I was nowhere near retirement eligibility
-How long I will have to pay her?
-The decree does not specify a period of time
-How much does my ex-wife owe me?
I'm looking for help to figure out what courses of action can be taken so that I'm in compliance with the terms of my divorce decree with no implied or miss interpretation. Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing from someone.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Seattle Scott replied 2 years ago.
What should have been done in 1997 was an additional court order directing DFAS to pay your ex wife directly when you started to draw your pension. But now you have to pay her directly. You owe her one half of a portion ( not 1/2 of 100%) of your pension. The portion to be divided is calculated as follows: Total months between enlistment and April 1997, divided by total months from enlistment to March 2015. So if you enlisted in April 1987, that would be 120 divided by 216, for a result of 44.4%, so wife would be entitled to 1/2 of 44.4% of your monthly pension using these numbers.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I enlisted Oct 88 and we married May 89. When I contacted dfas they said that becasue of the 10/10 rule theycould not pay her directly. I did the math and came up with a number; however, nothing says for how long and nothing say what formula to use. I want comply with the court order but it's vague and of couse her interpretation is way off base.
Expert:  Seattle Scott replied 2 years ago.
You pay for as long as you receive the pension - the rest of your life. I agree the order is vague. It is clear that the pension portion to be divided is the pension as earned through April 1977. What I can't determine is what you do with the first 7 months when you were accruing enlistment time but not married.

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